Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Middle East implications for Americans to be explored at LTSP Oct. 20

Experts from Lebanon to appear at Lutheran Seminary Oct. 20; also at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Oct. 21.

Two Lebanese experts on Islamic/Christian relations in the Middle East will help Philadelphians explore Middle Eastern implications for Americans at a convocation at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia on Tuesday, October 20. The visits of Dr. Mary Mikhael and Dr. Mohammad Sammak are co-sponsored by LTSP and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where they will be appearing on October 21. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Addressing the topic "Living Together in the Middle East: Muslim and Christian Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications for Americans” will be Mikhael (left), president since 1994 of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut; and Sammak (right), syndicated columnist for three newspapers in the Middle East and counselor to the Grand Mufti of Lebanon. Their remarks will be offered at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 in Benbow Hall on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.

Mikhael, the first woman to ever serve as president of a seminary in the Middle East, has held that post since 1994 and been associated with the school since 1992. She’s also held the post of academic dean there. Mikhael is currently a member of the executive committee and the theological committee of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical churches. She has written numerous articles on theology and the position of women in the church and has lectured extensively in the U.S. Europe and Middle East regarding women’s issues in universities and churches.

Sammak, an expert on Islamic thought and political science, is a syndicated columnist for newspapers in Beirut, Abu Dhabi and Cairo. He is secretary-general for the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue in Lebanon, secretary-general for the Islamic spiritual Summit there, and also secretary-general in Lebanon for the executive committee of Christian-Muslim Arab Group. He has argued in the past that American church policies regarding Arabs are more balanced than the policies of the U.S. Government, but that the American Church views are not well understood in the Middle East because they are not presented in the Islamic press there. He has also written that it is not well understood that the American values regarding human rights, liberty and democracy are rooted as well in Islamic culture.

Drs. Mikhael and Sammak will be appearing at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church at 7 pm Wednesday, October 21.

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