Rumi Forum, located in Washington DC, is a well-known nonprofit organization with the mission of fostering intercultural dialogue, promote tolerance and understanding, and strengthening democracy and global peace.
In-Person Book Talk: “I Never Thought of It That Way”
We think we have the answers, but we need to be asking a lot more questions. Partisanship is up, trust is down, and our social media feeds make us sure we’re right and everyone else is ignorant (or worse). But avoiding and attacking one another is breaking… everything.
Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted—twice—for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using: our own curiosity.
In this timely, personal guide, Mónica Guzmán, takes you to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people. She shows you how to overcome the fear and certainty that surround us to finally do what only seems impossible: understand and even learn from people in your life whose whole worldview is different from or even opposed to yours.
About the book: “I Never Thought of It That Way“
Drawing from cross-partisan conversations she’s had, organized, or witnessed everywhere from the echo chambers on social media to the wheat fields in Oregon to raw, unfiltered fights with her own family on election night, Mónica shows how you can put your natural sense of wonder to work for you immediately, finding the answers you need by talking with people—rather than about them—and asking the questions you want, curiously.
In these pages, you’ll learn:
• How to ask what you really want to know (even if you’re afraid to)
• How to grow smarter from even the tensest interactions, online or off
• How to cross boundaries and find common ground—with anyone
Whether you’re left, right, center, or not a fan of labels: If you’re ready to fight back against the confusion, heartbreak, and madness of our dangerously divided times—in your own life, at least—Mónica’s got the tools and fresh, surprising insights to prove that seeing where people are coming from isn’t just possible. It’s easier than you think.
Author Mónica Guzmán is the Director of Digital and Storytelling at Braver Angels, a nonprofit working to depolarize America and host of the Crosscut interview series Northwest Newsmakers. She was a 2019 fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, where she studied social and political division, and a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, where she studied how journalists can better meet the needs of a participatory public.
Mónica lives for great conversations sparked by curious questions. Before committing to the project of helping people understand each other across the political divide, Mónica cofounded the award-winning Seattle newsletter The Evergrey and led a national network of groundbreaking local newsletters as VP of Local for WhereBy.Us. She was named one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle, served twice as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes, and plays a barbarian named Shadrack in her besties’ Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
Discussant Brian Allain founded and leads Writing for Your Life, a resource center and conference for spiritual writers, which includes the Publishing in Color conference series, intended to increase the number of books published by spiritual writers of color. Brian also founded and leads the teams that produce Compassionate Christianity and How to Heal Our Divides. Previously Brian served as Founding Director of the Frederick Buechner Center where he led the launch of Mr. Buechner’s online presence and established several new programs and strategic partnerships.
Brian has developed and led spiritual writers conferences at Princeton Theological Seminary, Drew Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, the University of Southern California, Belmont University, New Brunswick Seminary, and several churches. He led the publishing effort f
3rd Interfaith Leadership Forum: "Building Interfaith Partnerships Beyond Racism and Religious Nationalism"
Religious nationalism is on the rise worldwide. In the U.S., it has primarily taken the form of White Christian Nationalism: the affiliation of being White and Christian with belonging and mattering in this country. This program explored the nature of global nationalism and its specific manifestation in the U.S. First, we heard from Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, who is an expert who has been studying this trend for over thirty years. His keynote remarks were followed by a panel of diverse faith leaders who shared their views on building interfaith solidarity to resist the White Supremacist Christian ideology threatening our nation. This program was a forum for people of faith to learn, become activated, and feel equipped to respond together effectively.
Rev. David Lindsey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington (IFC)
“The Capitol Insurrection and the Global Rise of Religious Nationalism”
Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, Founding Director of the Orfalea Center of Global and International Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara
Moderated by Rev. David Lindsey, IFC
“The Interfaith Imperative”
Rabbi Jack Moline – President, Interfaith Alliance
“Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny and Christian Nationalism: Nothing New.”
Charles Watson Jr. – Director of Education, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
“The Pro-Democracy Faith Movement”
Maggie Siddiqi – Senior Director, Religion and Faith, Center for American Progress
“Religious Liberty and the Shortfall of Advocacy”
Simran Singh – Vice Chairman, IRF (International Religious Freedom) Secretariat
Panel Discussion: “Modern Muslim and Jewish Thinkers Who Have Inspired Us”
While anti-Semites and Islamophobes often speak as if our faiths have been frozen in ice (and primitive thinking) for many centuries, the fact is that Jews and Muslims belong to living, breathing, stimulating faiths. On February 9, 2022, JIDS and the Rumi Forum jointly presented a dialogue that presents some of the exciting ideas and personalities that have emerged within the past century to enrich our faiths.
Jews and Muslims belong to living, breathing, and stimulating faiths. On this panel, we discovered some of their inspiring modern thinkers together. We heard presentations about two modern Jewish thinkers: Rami Shapiro, who has brought a passion for various eastern faiths into his study of Judaism, and Menachem Mendel Schneerson (aka the Lubavitcher Rebbe), whose ideas sparked the rapidly growing Chabad Movement within Judaism. We will also hear presentations about two modern Muslim thinkers: Said Nursi, whose commentary of the Qur’an inspired a renewed way of engaging with the modern age; and Muhammad Iqbal, who had a remarkable impact on the intellectual and cultural reconstruction of Islam in South Asia and beyond.
These presentations were given, respectively, by four scholars: Herb Levy, Rabbi Lee Weissman, Dr. Zeki Saritoprak, and Dr. Marcia Hermansen. Rumi Forum and JIDS present this event as a collaborating partner of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington (IFCMW) during the 3rd Annual World Interfaith Harmony Week in the DMV. We are glad that this panel discussion coincides with the annual worldwide observance during the month of February 2022.
Panel Discussion: ”How Do We Deal With Covid, Social Injustice, and Polarization?”
Rumi Forum, Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights, and Prince George’s County Memorial Library System presented a virtual panel discussion on “How Do We Deal With Covid, Social Injustice, and Polarization?” on February 3, 2022, for a conversation for our time, in recognition of World Interfaith Harmony Week. How do we build and use interfaith harmony to develop restoration, reconciliation, and resiliency as applicable to the world that we live in now? We are plagued: by the Covid-19 pandemic, by social injustice, by economic inequities, limited and inequitable access to resources, environmental injustice, and the polarization of our times. Three faith leaders will consider these difficult questions and provide hope and practical solutions to taking steps towards restoration, reconciliation, and resiliency today.
Panelists Rahmah A. Abdulaleem, Esq. - Executive Director, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky - Director, Intergroup Relations, Jewish Community Relations Council
Pastor Charles A. Tapp - President, Potomac Conference Corporation, Seventh-day Adventist Church
In-Person Book Talk: “People of the Book”
On December 9, 2021, participants joined this in-person book talk for a considered study of Muslim–Christian coexistence and dialogue in the time of Prophet Muhammad.
The Christians that lived around the Arabian Peninsula during Muhammad’s lifetime are shrouded in mystery. Some of the stories of the Prophet’s interactions with them are based on legends and myths, while others are more authentic and plausible. But who exactly were these Christians? Why did Muhammad interact with them as he reportedly did? And what lessons can today’s Christians and Muslims learn from these encounters?
Scholar Craig Considine, one of the most powerful global voices speaking in admiration of the prophet of Islam, provides answers to these questions. Through a careful study of works by historians and theologians, he highlights an idea central to Muhammad’s vision: an inclusive Ummah, or Muslim nation, rooted in citizenship rights, interfaith dialogue, and freedom of conscience, religion, and speech. In this unprecedented sociological analysis of one of history’s most influential human beings, Considine offers groundbreaking insight that could redefine Christian and Muslim relations.
About the author:
Dr. Craig Considine is an award-winning professor and the best–selling author of The Humanity of Muhammad – A Christian View (Blue Dome Press 2020). He is recognized as an authority in interfaith dialogue, particularly Christian and Muslim relations. Dr. Considine has written seven books for the field of Islamic studies, including People of the Book – Prophet Muhammad’s Encounter with Christians (Hurst & Oxford 2021), Muslims in America: Examining the Facts (ABC–CLIO 2018), and Islam, Race, and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora (Routledge 2017).
Throughout the years, Dr. Considine’s peer-reviewed articles have appeared in Sociology and Religions and his op-eds have been published in Newsweek and Foreign Policy. Dr. Considine’s opinions appear regularly in the leading news and media outlets around the world. He also has experience in filmmaking, having directed the critically acclaimed documentary film Journey into America. Dr. Considine has spoken to audiences for Oxford University, the University of Edinburgh, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, and Hamad Bin Khalifa University (Doha).
He is a practicing Roman Catholic with ancestral roots mainly in Sant’Elia Fiumerapido and Monacilioni, Italy and Lisdoonvarna, Ireland, but also England and Scotland. Craig is a native of Needham, Massachusetts. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, an MSc Lond. in international relations from Royal Holloway, the University of London, and a BA in international relations from American University in Washington, DC.
In-Person Book Talk: “God`s Diplomats”
Using inside sources and extensive field reporting about the secretive, high-stakes world of international diplomacy, Vatican reporter Victor Gaetan takes readers to the Holy See to explicate Pope Francis‘s diplomacy, show why it works, and offer readers a startling contrast to the dangerous inadequacies of recent U.S. international decisions.
About the author
Victor Gaetan, Ph.D., has served as an international correspondent for Catholic News Service and the National Catholic Register. He contributes to Foreign Affairs and America magazine. He has written from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East—experiences that provided a wealth of contacts with the notoriously tight-lipped papal diplomatic corps. He gathered rare insight in the Vatican Secret Archives, which is not open to the public.
For over 20 years he has filed stories from countries in turmoil: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cuba, Lebanon, Kosovo, Peru, Turkey, and Ukraine as well as from Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan. He has received numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association of North America and has written for secular publications ranging from Art & Auction to Le Figaro.
Gaetan received a Ph.D. in Ideology in Literature from Tufts University; a master`s degree from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy (MALD), and a license in Byzantine and Ottoman Studies from Sorbonne University in Paris (comparable to a BA).
About the discussant:
Martine Miller is the Vice President of International Center for Religion & Diplomacy and a mediator and conflict transformation specialist with over 20 years of engaged experience—with communities, governments, regional bodies (i.e. EU, AU, and ASEAN), UN agencies, a range of inter/national non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Her work has engaged her directly in fluid war to post-war reconstruction and development contexts across 70 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, West to East Europe, and North and South America.
I was reviewing the podcast and mistakenly gave it a 1-star while swiping on my phone. Not sure if there is a way to undo the rating on 5.1.21