Critical Issues Symposium #HopeCIS






7:00 PM

Opening Keynote Address - Dimnent Chapel

Gary Burge -Five Things I Have Learned from the Middle East



9:00 AM

Keynote Address - Dimnent Chapel

Nabil Costa -The Middle East: Problem or Opportunity?

10:15 AM

Short Stories (Come and go as you please) - Knickerbocker Theatre - Emcee: Jayson Dibble

8 - 10 minute short talks featuring:

Habeeb Awad, Nabil Costa, Ohanes Khacherian, Jessica Korte, Yasmin Moll

11:30 AM

Lunch Break ($6 lunch available at Phelps Dining Hall for CIS guests)

1:00 PM

Focus Sessions - concurrent, various locations

Gary Burge - Thinking Creatively about the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Location: Maas Center Auditorium

This session will explore the roots of the historic conflict between Israel and Palestine, why it is an issue with global significance, and how we might find a way forward. Political, historical and theological concerns will each contribute to our discussion.


Nabil Costa - The Refugee Crisis in the Middle East and the Response of the Church

Location: Winants Auditorium, 112 Graves Hall

The current Syrian refugee crisis is described as the worst exodus since the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago. As a result, one of every four people in Lebanon today is a Syrian refugee.  Not only are the numbers staggering, but the needs too are increasingly more complex. Is there a role for the Church amidst such a crisis? And if so, to what extent can the Church get involved? And how is its contribution any different?


Ambassador David Dunford -The Middle East: What’s Going on and What Should We Do About It?

Location: 102 VanderWerf Hall

This session will address the causes of the conflict, why it is important, and how students can be involved.


Mohamad Ayman Haykal, MD - Understanding Syria and the Refugee Crisis

Location: Knickerbocker Theatre

The session will provide an introduction to Syria and a brief outline of its history, a timeline of the Syrian crisis since 2011, the complexity of the current political/military scene, the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis, and a refugee's experience resettling to the US.


Douglas Kindschi - What is the Alternative to Religious Violence? A Christian Response

Location: Fried-Hemenway Auditorium, 135 Martha Miller Center for Global Communication

It seems like every day we read about religiously motivated violence either in America or somewhere in the world. Is this the new normal, or is there an alternative? What is the Christian response? We will explore the sources of religious violence, offer a Christian perspective, and look at an agenda for interfaith understanding and peace.


Yasmin Moll - The Revolution Within: Islamic Television and the Struggle for the “New Egypt”

Location: Maas Center Conference Room

Within the world of Islamic television in the Middle East, Egypt’s “New Preachers” stand out for the unprecedented styles of their TV programs. This talk explores what the new forms of Islamic media they create can tell us about contemporary Muslim religiosity. Looking at how religious revivalism and transnational popular cultures intersect offers a fresh window onto understanding Egypt’s turbulent trajectory since the 2011 “Tahrir Square” uprising and the attempts of Islamic preachers to create a “revolution within” in their youthful audience.

2:30 PM

Department and Program Sponsored Sessions - concurrent, various locations

Communication - Speaker: Dagmar Kusa (via Skype)

Path to Peace Leads through the Past

Location: Schaap Auditorium, 1019 A. Paul Schaap Science Center

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (W. Faulkner)
​Common sense (and all mediation and negotiation trainings) advise to steer away from touching the sensitive past -- opening up old ​wounds and adding salt into them -- during the process of conciliation among communities with history of open violence. Conflicts of identities (ethnic, religious, communal conflicts), which are often at the core of such violence, however, cannot be successfully resolved without the difficult conversations about the past. When they are, peace tends to be a word on a paper, thrown into the wind when the nearest conflict arises. How to help communities build a sustainable, long-lasting peace and cooperation within the context of conflicts of identities? At the International Center for Conciliation and the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, we have developed a model for a long-term community dialogue and development, which is founded on the engagement of collective memories and historical narratives of the given communities. This model follows a specific sequence of steps, inspired by practice in various communities around the world. In Israel, the first such sustained dialogue took place in the Northern Galilee, between the villagers of Yaad and descendants of a former village Mi’ar, and has been reproduced in several locations since. We will take a look at the model, at the dialogue process in Yaad and Mi’ar, and consider its impact and lessons to be learned for other contexts.


Dance - Speakers: Steven Iannacone and Angie Yetzke

The Body Speaks For Peace: Cultivating Community And Trust Through Movement

Location: Studio 207, 2nd floor, Dow Center

Professors Steven Iannacone and Angie Yetzke will conduct simple trust exercises and movement improvisations to facilitate authentic and compassionate non verbal communication. The movement experiences are for all comers: those with some, little or no experience who would like to move; non-dancers, students and community members; observers, note takers and the inquisitive. The activities will be followed by discussions and dialogue with a lens focused on resolution using the “speaking” body to build closeness and bridges rather than distance and disconnection. Can contemporary dance help understand the contemporary world? Dominant themes in contemporary conflict involve physical and body issues that have yet to be resolved: troops and “boots on the ground”, “kill or be killed”, terrorist attacks, political expediency, high tech/de-humanized bombing and killing, collateral damage. How does the artist help resolve or create ways to re-focus the negative and destructive forces involved with these issues?


Modern and Classical Languages - Speaker: Majd Al-Mallah

Learning Arabic in the United States: Prospects for Deeper Understanding

Location: Fried-Hemenway Auditorium, 135 Martha Miller Center for Global Communication

Learning Arabic in the United States has developed and evolved over decades of instruction at various American universities and colleges. How did teaching and learning Arabic evolve over time? What do our students expect and aspire to when they learn Arabic? The presentation will address these issues while also connecting them to the larger question of engaging the Middle East.


Peace and Justice Minor/A.J. Muste Memorial Lecture Series

Panel of Speakers: Rev John Kleinheksel, Rev. John Paarlberg, Paul Verduin

Strategies For Peacemaking In Israel/Palestine

Location: Winants Auditorium, 112 Graves Hall

(3-person panel) Peace talks over the past twenty years have failed miserably, Israeli colonization of the West Bank continues relentlessly, and the Palestinian people, whether Christian or Muslim, languish in despair under an oppressive forty-nine-year military occupation that appears to have no end. In spite of these grim realities three Hope College alumni, veterans of multiple fact-finding trips to Palestine and Israel, find reasons for hope and outline promising strategies for effective activism in the sacred cause of justice and peace for all.


Religion - Speaker: Stephen Kelley

Ancient Christians and Modern Terrorists: Are Christians and Christianity Becoming Extinct in the Middle East Today?

Location: Herrick Room, 244 DeWitt Student and Cultural Center