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Pope Biographer to Open Al-Maktoum College Building Bridges Symposium

The Pope’s biographer, Professor Mario Aguilar, of the University of St Andrews, will be the opening speaker at the second Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education Building Bridges Symposium in Dundee.

The two-day event, with the focus on Interfaith Dialogue and Art, takes place on next month at the College’s Dundee campus.

Professor Aguilar is Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP) at the University of St. Andrews, and President of the International Committee for Inter-religious Dialogue.

He will discuss “Interfaith Dialogue: Experience and Art,” exploring the opportunities between ideas and experience in inter-faith dialogue. Professor Aguilar’s biography, Pope Francis: His Life And Thought was published in 2014.

 Run in conjunction with Scottish Interfaith Week, the Al-Maktoum College Symposium, which is free to attend, is aimed once again at embracing diversity and tolerance while encouraging positive dialogue between different faith groups.

Those attending will have the freedom to share their views and the organisers hope it will benefit those seeking to build bridges of friendship while expanding interfaith trust.

Delegates will be offered lectures on, among other subjects, Experience and Art, A Framework For Christian/Muslim dialogue, and young volunteers involved in interfaith activities will share their experiences.

College Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Hossein Godazgar, said the success of the first Symposium in 2016 proved there was a demand for this type of conference with expert speakers, pre-eminent in their fields.

“It is an opportunity from people from many different walks of life to examine the ways bridges between Muslim communities and societies, and non-Muslim communities and countries can be built,” said Professor Godazgar.

“And that is at the heart of everything we do on a daily business at the College.

“We are opening our doors to help promote religious freedom, pluralism and shared understanding in the 21st century.

“I am sure this year’s symposium on Interfaith Dialogue and Art will prove to be interesting and that each and every delegate will leave us enriched as well as enlightened.”

Dr Joshua Ralston, a lecturer in Muslim-Christian Relations at the School of Divinity, at the University of Edinburgh and the co-founder of the Christian-Muslim Studies Network, is another key speaker, whose lecture will be on “Bearing Witness: A Framework for Christian-Muslim Dialogue.”

Poetry, music, art workshops and a film all feature in the programme, which has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Religion & Politics at the University of St Andrews, the Anne Frank Trust UK, Interfaith Scotland and the Church of Scotland.

For details of the full programme, please visit the Symposium page by clicking here.

To register for this event through Eventbrite, please click on the image below: