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Archive for the ‘interview’ tag

Global Spirit: An Interview with Robert Thurman and Karen Armstrong on Religion and Compassion

Photo Credit Global Spirit

Karen Armstrong and Robert Thurman being interviewed together in New York.

from The Huffington Post

We call Global Spirit the first “internal travel” series, because the topics and the discussions so often lead to a kind of inner exploration. Unlike programming on Animal Planet or National Geographic, Global Spirit is not about discovering anything that is outside of yourself. The opening program in our series, “The Spiritual Quest,” was one of our more exciting and challenging to produce

For Karen and Bob, it was one of those “first-time meetings” that we try to achieve on Global Spirit — to bring two people together for the first time, in this case, two highly articulate teachers and authors from distinct religious traditions, who have always wanted to meet each other. You can sense a kind of magic in the air, as they both experience the sheer delight of discovering things about each other they’ve always wanted to know. Yes, it was an uplifting show, with a good amount of spontaneous humor.

Click here to read the full article and watch a clip of the interview

Odyssey Networks Puts Out Call for “2012 Hours Against Hate” Project

from Odyssey Networks

If you are between the ages of 15 and 24, here’s how you can have your story of a great experience made into a video…

Volunteer one hour where you spend time with

someone different from you. 

Find someone who doesn’t look like you,

or who does not live like you

AND who doesn’t pray like you.

Spend an hour engaged in some activity with this person. This activity could be eating together, visiting a special place, etc.  The “doing it together” part is more important than exactly what you are doing. For as many ways as you find that you are different, talk with that person about how many ways you are the same.  How many things do you have in common? Can you make the ratio 5 to 1?

You can use the form below to on Odyssey website and send your story to them.

Two winning stories will be chosen by Odyssey Networks and they will send a professional video crew to film your story! The winning video will be shown on Odyssey’s website!

Catholic Couple Embark on Interfaith “Pilgrimage,” Circle World on Religious Tolerance Quest

by Gillian Flaccus
from the Huffington Post

CLAREMONT, Calif. — Frederic and Anne-Laure Pascal are devout Roman Catholics who built their lives around their religion. When she lost her job last year, the young couple decided on an unlikely expression of their religious commitment: a worldwide “interfaith pilgrimage” to places where peace has won out over dueling dogmas.

Since October, the French couple has visited 11 nations from Iraq to Malaysia in an odyssey to find people of all creeds who have dedicated their lives to overcoming religious intolerance in some of the world’s most divided and war-torn corners.

The husband-and-wife team blogs about their adventures – and their own soul-searching – and takes short video clips for the project they’ve dubbed the Faithbook Tour.

Click here to read the full article

Women, War and Peace: An Interview with Director Pamela Hogan

by Alisa Roadcup
from Amnesty International

Amnesty’s Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group member Alisa Roadcup was fortunate to sit down with Pamela Hogan, Director of Women, War & Peace, a bold new five-part PBS television series challenging the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain.  The first part of the documentary airs Tuesday, October 11, on PBS.

1. Tell me about your initial idea for this project.  Why “Women, War and Peace” and why now?

It’s hard to remember back that far!  My partners Abigail Disney, Gini Reticker and I had a fateful lunch at which we realized we’d all been noticing the same trend in war reporting: a focus on the men and the guns, and a dearth of stories about the women and families who are disproportionately targeted in today’s conflict zones—but seldom covered in news reports. We’d all individually witnessed this blind spot in the coverage of conflict, and we agreed that the gap between what’s reported and what’s occurring on the ground was enormous. Women, War & Peacewas born!

 2. Why do you think documentary film, specifically, can serve as a powerful medium to ignite social change? 

Documentary film has the power to bring the work of individuals to life in a way that policy reports and court documents, and even the printed word, doesn’t have.  One of the lead funders of Women, War & Peace said it so well: “We’ve been writing reports on these issues for years but in your films the women jump off the screen and people feel an emotional connection and really get the urgency.” Documentary storytelling is a visceral medium, and when the lights go up audiences often feel a call to action.

3. Tell me about a portrayal of women in war captured in “Women, War and Peace” that somehow plays against type or was unconventional.

So often women living in war zones are portrayed as victims.   Big mistake.

In The War We Are Living, two Colombian women – Clemencia Carabali and Francia Marquez – brave constant death threats to prevent their communities from being forced off of the gold-rich lands their ancestors have lived on for generations.  In Peace UnveiledAfghan women are excluded from the international conference where President Karzai first suggests negotiating with the Taliban – so they crash the event anyway.  InPray the Devil Back to Hell, ordinary Liberian women who are sick and tired of 14 years of war stand up to President Charles Taylor and the warlords.  In I Came to Testify, sixteen women from a village in Bosnia take the witness stand in the first trial ever to focus exclusively on sexual violence in wartime – and the landmark judgment establishes wartime rape and sexual slavery as a crime against humanity.

All of these women are taking personal risks, risks that jeopardize not only themselves but also their children and extended families.  All of them make me ask myself, could I summon the courage to make that choice if I were in their place? Given the stereotype that women targeted by war are victims; they most certainly break the mold.  These women are revolutionaries!

4. As human rights activists, what can we do to spread the message that violence against women in conflict has to end? 

What a great question.  That is exactly what we are asking people to do: spread the message. I think human rights activists and advocates are crucial members of the Women, War & Peace audience. As broadcast journalists, one of our responsibilities is to investigate and uncover stories that may otherwise go unnoticed and to seek to give them a national and global platform through film and television and the web. The human rights activist community can broaden that platform, ensuring that the world hears these stories not only on their televisions and in their living rooms—not only on PBS—but also from the mouths of those working in the field and on the ground. One first step in ending violence against women is turning the world’s eye on this violence–growing the number of people who can bear witness to instances in which rape, attack, intimidation, and assassination of women is used as a deliberate tactic of war. The activist community can help us accomplish that.

Click here to read the full article

An Interview with Tony Blair on Interfaith Dialogue

From The Huffington Post

In a recent interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, we discussed his attendance at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative held earlier this year, the work of his Faith Foundation, and the importance of understanding religion in a rapidly globalizing world.

Rahim Kanani: While your Faith Foundation’s primary goal is to promote and foster understanding amongst the world’s major religions, and the Face to Faith initiative you’ve described focuses on secondary school students engaging in interfaith and intercultural understanding, what is the role of colleges and universities in tackling interfaith education? Should such instruction be required learning in such a setting?

Tony Blair: My Foundation believes that young people have a pivotal role to play in building a harmonious modern world. After all, they are tomorrow’s leaders. It is therefore vital for students to have a firm grasp on the relationship between faith and globalization. So as well as a schools program my Foundation also has a universities program – the Faith and Globalization Initiative.

Seven universities around the world are currently part of the network: Yale University in the USA, The National University of Singapore, The University of Western Australia, Technologico de Monterrey University in Mexico, McGill University in Canada, Peking University in China and Durham University in the UK. The Faith and Globalization students who are drawn from a huge range of disciplines including international relations, law, theology, economics and business studies are examining the impact of religious faith on politics, business, society, and development in an increasingly globalized society. The focus here is on making the research findings from the university network accessible, meaningful and relevant to policymakers through publications, conferences and policy papers.

Each university customises the course to suit their local contexts and explores aspects of globalization which are particularly relevant to them, for example the key themes in Religions in the Contemporary World at the National University of Singapore are Religion and Technology, Urban Religiosity and Merchandising Religion which reflects the importance of technology in Singapore’s rapidly expanding economy.

Click here to read the entire article.

Powerful Narratives: An Interview with Walter Brueggemann

From Religion Dispatches

Religion Dispatches contributor Daniel Schultz recently published his first book: Changing the Script, based in large part on the thought of Old Testament scholar and theologian Walter Brueggemann. To mark the book release, we sent “Pastor Dan” to interview Brueggemann at his home in Cincinnati.

Dan: I should note, in the interest of full disclosure, that you and I are not only both from the United Church of Christ, we both come out of the Evangelical and Reformed tradition. I know for example that it is a pet peeve of yours, as it is mine, when that German side of the tradition gets ignored.

Walter: Right.

Dan: Do you think any of that tradition survives in your work?

Walter: Oh, very much so. I’m increasingly aware of it and, I think, intentionally work that way.

Dan: From the perspective of social justice or engagement?

Walter: From social justice, and I think the evangelical strand of that was marked by a kind of innocence about scripture—I think I have a fairly innocent perspective on scripture. Without raising excessive numbers of critical questions.

Dan: You tend to have a very straightforward reading of scripture.

Walter: That’s right, that’s right. Not complex, but also not quarrelsome. I don’t know if you know Carl Schneider, he was the great historian at Eden Seminary, the historian of the Evangelical Synod, and he accented all the time that the evangelical tradition was “irenic.” I think I get that. So in Old Testament Studies…

Dan: Old Testament Studies is not irenic.

Walter: Well, people really like to hack at each other and I don’t see the point of that. People who do otherwise are people from whom I can learn, and I don’t have any need to defeat them or top them.

Dan: I noticed in reviewing some of your work that you are very concerned with pulling those narratives out of scripture, whether within a particular book, or between the different books as they move along in the Old Testament.

Walter: I think that narratives construct the world for us and dictate policy and practice, and I think that our society is trying to live by a false narrative; the narrative of the national security state. So it seems to me the challenge for the church is to see whether we can show we have a better narrative, a more accurate narrative, out of which to generate policy and practice.

Click here to read the entire article.

September 27th, 2010 at 6:00 am

Spiritual Intimacy and Interfaith Engagement

From Women’s Radio

Ruth Brodye Sharone, Co-Chair of the Southern California Committee for the Parliament of the World’s Religions and filmmaker shares her insights into the changes occurring within Religious and Spiritual communities.

Ruth and a group of 20 had been invited to present a workshop entitled “Spiritual Intimacy: Taking Interfaith Engagement to the Next Level.”

Her signature on her email is, No longer are there six degrees of separation between any two individuals in the world. There is only one degree-and even that is an illusion!

Ruth has a lot to share about the ripple of the changes and backlashes that began occurring since September 11, 2001.

Ruth’s Website

Weaving a Culture; what others are doing:


Click here to hear the interview.

Woody Allen Discusses Faith and Organized Religion

From The Washington Post

By Brad Hirschfield

Woody Allen, was a bit uncomfortable when wished a happy Jewish New Year by his interviewer, Dave Itzkoff, responding “That’s for your people.” However, he went to say some very interesting things about faith and religion.

“To me,” Mr. Allen said, “there’s no real difference between a fortune teller or a fortune cookie and any of the organized religions. They’re all equally valid or invalid, really. And equally helpful.”

Is he wrong or is he right? Of course, the answer is yes. In many ways there are no differences between any of the faiths and practices which help us in our lives, especially in the most significant sense – that they help us. But in other ways, there are profound differences.

Fortune cookies and fortune tellers help only the individual who avails themselves of their respective insights, or is that “insights”? – you decide. The organized religions to which Mr. Allen compares them should also connect us to things beyond ourselves and our own immediate needs.

It may be God, it may be other people, but when they do their job properly, that too is the work of genuine religion and religious experience. If they are not accomplishing that, if they are not helping us to reach beyond ourselves, then I am with Woody – there is no difference between fortune cookies and faith.

Click here to read the entire article.

September 15th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Posted in News

Tagged with , , , ,

CPWR Board Chair On Current Events in the U.S.

From Worldview/WBEZ 91.5

Imam Malik Mujahid hosts Friday prayers at several local mosques and is Executive Producer of the show Radio Islam. He’ll tell us about remembering 9/11 in the wake of growing Islamophobia and the floods in his native Pakistan. And on Global Activism, Gregory Gross, Clinical Manager at the Center on Halsted, talks with Jerome about his collaboration with Project Tariro, an HIV/AIDS prevention and support program in Zimbabwe.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Daisy Khan Discusses the Proposed Park51 Center

From The Council on Foreign Relations

…Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf believes genuinely that, you know, religions evolve over time in America. And they evolve and they Americanize themselves through certain forms of institutions, and — just like the Jewish and the Christian communities evolved from just churches and, you know, places of worship and then went into places of service, such as the 96th Street Y, the YMCA or the JCC, Jewish Community Centers — that this inevitably would also happen to the Muslim community, that a Muslim community would Americanize itself over time by building these kinds of institutions.

And so a model that takes into consideration the needs of the Muslim community but also the needs of the broader community was the combination of what was the plan for the center.

Very simply, the center is to dedicate pluralism, which is the heart — which is at the heart of Islamic theology — and its service. But it’s also education and empowerment of our youth and empowerment of women, but also the appreciation of our (community ?) that has, you know — that is very diverse and very robust. So this is kind of like the core of what we were trying to do with the center.

The proximity to Ground Zero was never planned; just so happened that the building was in the neighborhood that we already are in. And so establishing the center in the very neighborhood that they were in was something that never really, you know, thought of the location as being close to Ground Zero. Because it was our neighborhood; it was our tragedy as much as it was anybody else’s tragedy.

As Muslims, as New Yorkers and as Americans, we feel that it’s part of our, you know, obligation and our responsibility to be part of building Lower Manhattan. And to another point, since this was done — 9/11 was done — in the name of our religion, we have an added responsibility to disprove those who have distorted our religion and our scripture.

The center is also meant to be part of the transformation against extremism, as it will combine the best of what it means to be Muslim and what it means to be American, whose core values we feel are totally compatible.

We also believe that the voices of the moderate, mainstream, majority Muslim has been drowned out by actions of the extremists — (audio break) — center like this will amplify the voices of moderate Muslims and give voice and be — simply be a blow to the extremists.

The center will have a prayer space. It will also have about six prongs of programmatic areas. It will have recreation, which means a swimming pool, gymnasium, have culture and arts exhibition space; performing arts — a theater which will be a 500-seat theater.

It will have social cohesion, which means booking classes and — kinds of weddings and party space. It will have education, so lectures, forums, classrooms. It will have religion. Religion is a lot of interfaith activities with the faith communities that we’ve been interacting with, sort of solidifying those programs into actionable programs.

Click here to read the entire transcript.