May 13- July 8, 2010
An Abrahamic Showcase is an interfaith series profiling imaginative new ways people are making peace. It involved interviews with leaders of extraordinary peace efforts, started in the Bay Area, which have gone on to make a global difference. Learn about new bridge-building tools from these pioneering Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peacemakers.
The Thursday evening webcasts were hosted by Rita Semel, Chair of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio and an interfaith activist since the early sixties.
An Abrahamic Showcase was made possible through the inspiration and generosity of the Abrahamic Family Reunion, and through them the support of the Center for Theory and Research, Fetzer Foundation, and TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy.
SCHEDULE & PROGRAM DETAILS
Ten years ago Paul Andrews was responsible for generating global interfaith celebrations of the human family’s transition into a new century. As a personal expression, he decided to make a movie about something he had observed as a staff person at United Religions Initiatives – friendships between “improbable pairs.” The 16-minute film profiles two friendships between people who had been absolute enemies. The question left hanging in the air – who are the improbable pairs in your community, in your life?
The award-winning film is available along with Paul’s workshop guide, which you will hear about in the May 13 webcast of Finding Improbable Pairs. The webcast tells the story of the film’s creation, how to use it, and what it has meant to some of the millions who have seen it.
Paul Andrews is a visionary, a contractor, and founder and for a dozen years conductor of Slavianka, an internationally renowned Russian men’s choir. He served on the executive staff of United Religions Initiative in its formative years. In 1999 he produced Improbable Pairs, a 16-minute video. We know too well what war looks like; rarely do we see images of what peace looks like. The video’s two segments each examine the most extraordinary friendship among people you might well imagine were enemies. The short documentary has won four awards and was broadcast to 17 million American viewers in August 2002 over the Echostar and DirecTV networks.
Len and Libby’s peacebuilding work began small, in living rooms. It has gone global, addresses all ages, and focuses on teaching the rights, responsibilities, and skills of dialogue that makes a difference in our lives. Natural networkers, they stay busy creating new resources and noticing the best resources others produce. In Building a Common Future, Len and Libby talk about their work and what it takes to become engaged peacemakers.
LenTraubman has for 25 years published on war and peace from personal experience with Soviets and Americans, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, and Jews and Palestinians. He co-founded the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo. He is retired from his practice of Dentistry for Children, was former Director of the San Francisco Dental Society, Editor of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and of the California Society of Dentistry for Children. He received the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus Award of theUniversity of California School of Dentistry, and gave the 2006 Commencement Address on individual responsibility for transforming confrontation to collaboration at home and globally.
Libby Traubman, retired from clinical social worker, was a founder of the Beyond War Movement, now Foundation for Global Community. She helped organize the conference where Israeli and Palestinian citizen-leaders signed an historic document, Framework For A Public Peace Process. She co-founded the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo 15 years ago, inspiring dozens of other Dialogues. The group has produced two films modeling a new quality of listening and communication, Dialogue at Washington High and Peacemakers – Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp. Libby is a Trustee of the Foundation for Global Community and has been inducted into the San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame.
The work of the Islamic Networks Group provides a remarkable counterpoint to the hue and cry about Muslim issues that have roiled the internet and airwaves since 9-11. Sixteen years ago a group of young Muslims created a speakers bureau, trained and certified volunteers, and began teaching Muslims about America and Americans about Islam. A crack team of schedulers sought invitations from schools, clubs, and civic organizations – and thousands of constructive, well-informed, free presentations are now generated, year in and out. The scope of their work, now reaching across the country, today includes five major religions, not just Islam.
Maha ElGenaidi is President and CEO of Islamic Networks Group (ING), an Advisor to California's Commission on Police Officers Standards & Training (POST) for hate crimes and cultural diversity training, a former commissioner on Santa Clara County's Human Relations Commission, Co-chair and Vice-chair of the Bay Area Hate Crimes Investigators Association (BAHCIA) and Community Advisor to KQED. She is recipient of numerous civil rights awards, which include the Civil Rights Leadership Award from the California Association of Human Relations Organizations. ING has created Muslim and interfaith speakers bureaus that have provided thousands of presentations in schools, congregations, and civic groups.
Poet and film-maker Michael Wolfe and interfaith networker extraordinaire Daniel Tutt have penetrated mainstream media with a powerful, multi-pronged effort to promote the same issues and themes being explored by small interfaith groups across the country. Their work, brought together in Unity Productions Foundation, offers extraordinary free resources to interfaith groups in search of excellent programming.
Daniel Tutt is Outreach Coordinator for 20,000 Dialogues, a national interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue project combining film and discussion for positive social change. He develops and leads trainings, builds partnerships, facilitates dialogue and manages a national program. He is an advisor for groups such as the Washington Region for Justice and Inclusion, Youth Building Bridges program, United Religions Initiative, the Muslim Advisory Arts Council of Americans for Informed Democracy, and board member of the 9/11 Unity Walk, an annual multi-city peace walk that celebrates America's pluralism and diversity.
Michael Wolfe is Co-Founder and President of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit media organization that works to increase peace by producing documentary films for broadcast, Web, and theatrical release. He is also a small press publisher and the author of several books, including a collection of 40 post-9/11 articles by many writers entitled, Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim their Faith, which was awarded a Wilbur Prize for the Best Book of the Year on a Religious Theme. As writer and producer of a half-hour TV Special for ABC Nightline, Wolfe was the first American correspondent to report live from Mecca. He writes an occasional column for Beliefnet.com, an online magazine of the world’s religions.
You have a 17-year-old who wants to be a ‘peacemaker’ – wants to make a difference? Abraham’s Vision is a project that takes students through intensive interreligious education, state-of-the-art peacemaking theory and implementation, before visiting war zones where peacemaking is making a difference. The future is in the hands of our children, and this story is about opportunities to prepare them for the journey of transforming interfaith mayhem into healthy interfaith culture.
Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Ph.D., is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of Abraham's Vision, a conflict transformation organization running programs for American-based populations of Jews, Muslims, Israelis, and Palestinians. A native of Philadelphia, today he is on the Theology and Religious Studies Department faculty at University of San Francisco, where he founded Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice. He lived in the Middle East for five years—four in Jerusalem and one in Cairo – travelling extensively in Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Syria. With Huda Abu Arquob, he is co-director of the Center for Transformative Education, which they founded in 2008.
Huda Abu Arqoub is Co-Executive Director of Abraham's Vision, a conflict transformation organization running programs for American-based populations of Jews, Muslims, Israelis, and Palestinians. One of 12 children, born in Jerusalem, she followed her parents into teaching. As a Fulbright scholar, she studied conflict resolution at Eastern Mennonite University. Active in grassroots human rights initiatives, she has consulted with Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children International, United Religions Initiative, and the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Education.