Husain Haqqani and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross said the person who “solves” the Middle East situation would be very rich, but both men did their best to simply relate the troubling circumstances of the world hotspot to the Chautauqua audience.
Countries begin for a multitude of reasons. They might be built around ethnicities, religions, conquest or revolution. Some are so…
When someone in the British Parliament’s House of Lords asked Amineh Hoti what she does for a living, she replied, “Bridge building.”
Hoti, co-founder and director of the Cambridge University-based Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations, delivered a lecture Tuesday titled “Healing a World of Terror by Valuing Diversity: Cultivating Interfaith Understanding in Our Next Generations.”
Passion for interfaith education runs through Amineh Hoti’s blood. Her grandfather believed a perspective beyond Islam was important from a young age, forcing his grandchildren to participate in a Convent of Jesus and Mary in Pakistan.
Hoti’s father grew up in India before the partition in 1947, where he lived among Hindus, Christians and Muslims coexisting in peace. He has since focused his life on understanding other systems of belief.
Decades later, Hoti follows the same passion. She is the co-founder and director of the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations at the University of Cambridge, which was the first of its kind.
What was meant to be an interview with a Taliban commander became a seven-month kidnapping.
To keep up with the competition in journalism, David Rohde wanted to interview a Taliban commander for a book. His opportunity came Nov. 10, 2008.
But when he, Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin and their driver Asadullah “Asad” Mangal arrived at the Logar province for the meeting, the Taliban commander told them he changed the location farther down the road.
A black car was blocking the road ahead. Then two gunmen with Kalashnikov rifles ran toward their car from both sides. Ludin and Mangal moved to the back seat with Rohde, and the gunmen got in the car and continued driving.
“My head was spinning,” Rohde said during Friday’s morning lecture. “I hoped that this was all some kind of mistake — that they had maybe seen me in the back seat and saw a Westerner.”
The Department of Religion’s Week Five theme, “The People of Pakistan,” confronted widespread ignorance and misconceptions about the complexities of Pakistan and its peoples. During Friday’s 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture, Karen Armstrong challenged the audience to bring the knowledge, insights and existing questions garnered from a week of study and turn them into compassionate action for the betterment of our world.
“Unless we learn at this perilous juncture of history to implement the Golden Rule globally so that we treat all people whoever they are as we wish to be treated ourselves, the world will not be a viable place,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong is a former nun, a religious scholar, author and the major contributor and proponent of the Charter for Compassion. The charter is a multi-faith international initiative that builds understanding, compassion and calls on people to live their lives and lead their countries according to the principle of treating others as you would be treated.
Though the relationship between Pakistan and the United States has become increasingly complex, the two are destined to be allies.
Nicholas Burns, former U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs, discussed the importance of U.S.-Pakistan relations from the U.S. perspective at Friday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater. His lecture, titled “Where U.S.-Pakistan Relations Should Go from Here,” concluded Week Five, themed “Pakistan: Straddling the Boundary Between Asia and the Middle East.”
Burns focused on three questions: Is Pakistan important to the United States?; Are the two countries loyal friends to each other?; and How can the next president work with Pakistan to confront challenges?
“They say about Pakistan that everything you hear about Pakistan is true, but then the opposite is also true,” said Amin Hashwani in the Hall of Philosophy.
During the 2 p.m. Thursday Interfaith Lecture, Hashwani touched on the Week Five religion theme, “The People of Pakistan,” with a lecture titled “The Pakistan We Don’t Read About.”
Hashwani is the founding president of the Charter for Compassion Society in Pakistan. He is also the co-founder of the Peace Action Network, an association of CEOs from around the world who utilize business relations to cross cultural boundaries and build positive transnational relationships, and the founder of Pakistan India CEOs Business Forum. Hashwani is a businessman, and he approaches his service work with the tenacity he has mastered in business, he said.
The combination of Pakistan’s involvement in the most recent war in Afghanistan and its weak policy making and governance has diminished its ability to provide for its citizens.
It is a crisis much greater than the state of its relations with the United States, said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, during Thursday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater.
Nawaz spoke about the situation Pakistan and its military face today, as well as what the country must do to become a strong, prosperous country, during Week Five, themed “Pakistan: Straddling the Boundary Between Asia and the Middle East.”
In Pakistan, religion author and social activist Karen Armstrong said she was astonished to be welcomed and happily received under parallel circumstances.
Armstrong, a religion historian and former nun, was invited to speak in Pakistan about Islam just after the nation’s 11th prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated several years ago. Armstrong said she was told not to be polite, but to be challenging and critical of Islam. She drew a crowd of thousands, and fans flocked for autographs.
Even after a week of lectures, many Americans and Western people find it difficult to understand Pakistan, Armstrong said. She will discuss the difficulties and where they lie at 2 p.m. Friday in the Hall of Philosophy.