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Shi'a Muslim – Mennonite Christian Dialogue 7

Notice of Cancellation

As the Iranian clerics scheduled to participate in the Mennonite-Shia Dialogue 7 have yet to receive the required travel visas to visit Canada, we regrettably cancel the event scheduled for June 27-30.

We anticipate the travel visas will be issued by the Canadian Consulate, and may consider rescheduling the Mennonite-Shia Dialogue 7 at a future date.

We apologize for the inconvenience and short notice of this cancellation.


June 27–30, 2017

Brief History

The Shi’a-Mennonite exchange had its origins in tragedy. In June 1990 there was a massive earthquake in Manjil–Rudbar, Iran with a reported death toll of 40–50,000. A four-person MCC delegation visited the site and a material aid and reconstruction response ensued in cooperation with the Iranian Red Crescent Society and The Housing Foundation. It soon became clear that both sides were interested in relating at another level, one where differences and similarities of faith and culture could be discussed. Hence, by the mid-1990s student exchanges were set up where Iranian students from the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute (IKERI) in Qom came to Toronto to study and several North America Mennonite students went to Qom.


Anticipated Process for Dialogue 7

The sessions are open to the public. Presenters will have the first opportunity for interaction and then it will be opened to observers. Presenters will have 30 minutes to present their paper which will be followed by a brief discussion dealing with questions of clarification. In addition there will be two or three one hour sessions devoted entirely to response/discussion with presenters and observers. These sessions will take place after three or four papers have been presented and they will involve both the Iranian and local youth. This is especially important because the topic for this round of dialogue is "Religion and Youth." We hope that creating this space for discussion will deepen the interaction and foster opportunity for empathetic understanding.



This event is sponsored by the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qom, Iran, Mennonite Central Committee, Conrad Grebel University College, Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University, and Canadian Mennonite University.


Arrival of Guests

We expect all the presenters from Iran and from North America to arrive on June 27 in the afternoon. Out of town observer guests should plan to arrive in the afternoon as well. Dinner will be available at 5:00 PM. Local observer guests may arrive after dinner, but we hope that everyone will attend the opening event on June 27 at 7:30 PM.


Opening Event

The opening event on June 27 at 7:30 PM will introduce our presenters and welcome all our guests. We will hear briefly from CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls and perhaps from the leader of the Iranian delegation. In addition to the welcome this event will also introduce the theme for the dialogue.



Registration will take place both before and after dinner on June 27. We expect everyone to register upon arrival. There is no registration fee.

Actual dialogue will begin on June 28 at 8:30 AM. There will be morning and afternoon sessions only.


Topics to be Discussed

General topic: Religion and Youth

Specific topics:

  1. Antipathy toward religion
  2. The moral crisis
  3. The meaning of life
  4. Friendship
  5. Identity crisis
  6. Social networks
  7. Youth and spirituality

Meals and Lodging

f you require meals and lodging for this event please contact the CMU Hosting Department directly (Evelyn Kampen – ekampen@cmu.ca) to make arrangements. Please indicate that you will be attending Dialogue 7. Invited presenters and sponsored students are exempt from this process.


After the Dialogue

July 1, the day after the dialogue, will be devoted to less formal activities like a field trip in and near Winnipeg. The details are still being planned. These activities are intended primarily for our guests from Iran. If others are interested they should state their interests at the time of registration. The Iranian guests are anticipated to depart on Sunday, July 2.

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