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Panelists to explore how their different faiths intersect at Face2Face discussion

A Jew, Muslim, and Christian will dialogue about what lies at the core of their faith heritages and how people from these distinct faith traditions might work together for peace and justice, at Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face community discussion.

Titled, “A Conversation within an Abrahamic Tent: A Jew, Muslim, and Christian in Dialogue,” the event happens Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

F2F iContactParticipating in the discussion will be Dr. Karl Koop, Professor of History and Theology at CMU, who will represent the Christian tradition; Dr. Ruth Ashrafi, Judaic Studies Advisor at Gray’s Academy, who will represent the Jewish tradition; and Shahina Siddiqui, founder and Executive Director of the Islamic Social Services Association, who will represent the Muslim tradition.

Conversations like these are important because Jews, Muslims, and Christians share a common humanity as well as a significant portion of scripture and faith tradition, says Dr. Harry Huebner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology at CMU, who will moderate the discussion.

“We’ve gone in different directions and we have different specific traditions, but we are part of a common people struggling for the meaning of life,” says Huebner, who also serves as Director of International and Inter-Faith Theological Initiatives at CMU.

Although there is significant divergence and diversity within each of these faith traditions, and only one person will be at the event to represent each tradition, dialogues like this can still have value, Huebner adds.

“It’s important that we speak and listen to each other, even out of a context of imperfection and incompleteness,” he says.

Panelists will talk about what lies at the core of their faith heritage, and what gift or contribution their faith tradition brings to its adherents and to society.

They will also discuss the challenges their faith traditions face, as well as what their faith tradition values most in the other two faith traditions represented.

Panelists will also share their thoughts on how Jews, Muslims, and Christians might be able to work together for peace and justice in the world.

“Adherents of these different faiths are often seen as in some ways competing with each other, and we don’t need to,” Huebner says. “I hope what people see in an event like this is the possibility for there to be mutual respect and significant openness for difference among the adherents of these different faiths. We don’t have to be the same in order to live in peaceful and just relationship with one another.”

Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

“A Conversation within an Abrahamic Tent” is the third of four Face2Face events CMU is scheduled to host during the 2016-17 school year. For details, visit cmu.ca/face2face.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Events Lectures News Releases

Scientists to explore why beauty matters at upcoming Face2Face discussion event

Three scientists will take audience members on a guided tour into the wonder of nature at Canadian Mennonite University’s next Face2Face community discussion.

Titled, “Why Beauty Matters: Radical Amazement, Spirituality, and the Ecological Crisis,” the discussion will feature Dr. Tim Rogalsky, Associate Professor of Mathematics at CMU; Dr. Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology at CMU; and Randy Herrmann, an engineer who works at the University of Manitoba.

The event happens Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00 PM at Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Face2Face Poster“All three of us are going to introduce things that we study within our disciplines that can be fairly easily understood and that are just totally amazing,” Rogalsky says, adding that his talk will explore spiral patterns found in flowers, and what we can glean from this natural display of beauty.

The phrase “radical amazement” comes from the Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who has argued that the root of the environmental crisis lies in the way that we as humans have changed our posture toward the natural world—from awe, wonder, and amazement, to detachment, control, and manipulation.

In 1955, Heschel wrote, “As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Humankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation.”

“Seeing nature through eyes of radical amazement may be exactly what our world needs today,” Rogalsky says. “It is also precisely the natural posture of the religious person… Science has the power to explain. Religion has the power to inspire. Inspiration has the power to galvanize people to action. The presentations (on November 2) will attempt to bring all of that together.”

He adds that for each of the scientists who will present, scientific inquiry is an act of worship that helps them connect to God. Some people think about science as being a dry, boring process, when in fact, it’s the exact opposite: Scientific inquiry is a creative act that reveals how interconnected everything in the natural world is.

“Scientists are uniquely positioned to reveal (the) beauty (in our world),” Rogalsky says. “I want people to be inspired by the beauty we can’t always see, but that we can investigate.”

Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

“Why Beauty Matters” is the second of four Face2Face events CMU is scheduled to host during the 2016-17 school year. For details, visit cmu.ca/face2face.

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Events General News Lectures News Releases

John Ralston Saul to speak at CMU’s Canadian School of Peacebuilding

‘Living with Uncertainty: The Road to Peace’ title of lecture

Respected public intellectual and award-winning writer John Ralston Saul will give a lecture exploring refugees and immigration at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP) next month.

Ralston Saul will present the lecture, titled, “Living with Uncertainty: The Road to Peace,” at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, June 14. He will speak in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.) at Canadian Mennonite University. Admission is free, and all are welcome. A book signing will follow the lecture.

John Ralston Saul Poster“We are excited to have John Ralston Saul at the 2016 Canadian School of Peacebuilding,” says Wendy Kroeker, co-director of CSOP. “His writing and thinking is incisive and provocative. He pushes us as Canadians to consider our national values as well as the actions that should emerge from those values, and calls us to remember our Aboriginal heritage.”

The lecture arises from Ralston Saul’s observation that Canada is more and more isolated from its allies because, without exception, the United States and European countries are shaping themselves towards internal divisions and external fear.

One of the curiosities of the continent is that every year over the last 70 years, it has received large numbers of immigrants, and yet it has never been able to admit that this would require massive changes in how they imagine themselves.

In many ways, this crisis is all about an immigration continent, which cannot admit that reality, and so, has no immigration policy. In the lecture, Ralston Saul will posit that only by embracing concepts of uncertainty can they find ways to live together, both within their countries and with their neighbours.

Declared a “prophet” by TIME magazine, Ralston Saul is included in the prestigious Utne Reader’s list of the world’s 100 leading thinkers and visionaries. His most recent book, The Comeback—an examination of the remarkable return to power of Aboriginal peoples in Canada—has greatly influenced the national conversation on Indigenous issues in the country.

CMU caught Ralston Saul’s attention last year when he heard about a few significant events at the university, including a forum about the possibility of an urban reserve at Kapyong Barracks and the university hosting Iranian students from the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Qom, Iran.

“The work faculty and students have been cultivating is remarkable,” Ralston Saul tweeted. “Creating bridges and fostering dialogue.”

In addition to delivering the public lecture, Ralston Saul will co-teach the CSOP course “Reconciling Our Future: Stories of Kanata and Canada” with Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair.

“That John is co-teaching with Niigaan speaks of the importance of friendships in working through challenging issues,” Kroeker says. “John’s participation indicates a strong interest in furthering people’s grappling with the violent legacy of negotiations with Indigenous peoples in Canada.”

An institute of Canadian Mennonite University, CSOP is a learning community of diverse peacebuilders who come together to learn, network, and engage in peacebuilding. CSOP offers a selection of five-day courses each June that can be taken for professional or personal development, or for academic credit. CSOP is for peacebuilders from all faiths, countries, and identity groups. Learn more at csop.cmu.ca.

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Muslim scholar to speak at Canadian Mennonite University

Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali of Qom, Iran to deliver lecture entitled, “The Impact of Christian-Muslim Relations on World Peace”

A revered Muslim scholar will give a public lecture exploring Christian-Muslim relations at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) this month.

Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, Founding Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (IIIS) in Qom, Iran, will present the lecture, entitled, “The Impact of Christian-Muslim Relations on World Peace,” at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, March 30. Shomali will speak in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and all are welcome.

2016_shomali“We are excited to host Dr. Shomali at CMU,” says Dr. Harry Huebner, Director of International and Inter-Faith Theological Initiatives at CMU. “He has a deep commitment to peace, justice, love, and mercy. It will be interesting to hear him speak on the significance of the relationship between Christians and Muslims on world peace.”

A successful teacher and an engaging storyteller, Shomali is a graduate of the Islamic Seminaries of Qom, and also holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Western Philosophy from the University of Tehran. He earned his PhD from the University of Manchester in the UK and wrote his doctoral thesis on ethical relativism.

In addition to his work with the IIIS, Shomali is the Director of London’s Islamic Centre of England.

Shomali’s visit stems from an ongoing relationship between Shi’a Muslim scholars from Iran and Mennonite scholars from Canada and the U.S. These scholars first met in 2002 to start an ongoing series of dialogues that aim to improve understanding between Muslims and Christians.

The seventh dialogue is scheduled to take place at CMU in 2017.

Huebner adds that Islam is often misunderstood in the mainstream media, and hearing from Muslims directly is one way for people to explore new perspectives.

The March 30 lecture marks the first time Shomali will make a public presentation as part of his visit to CMU, providing the public with a unique opportunity.

“The news doesn’t give us a good understanding of what Islam is,” Huebner says. “Getting to know people from Iran is one way of cutting across that.”

View a report by Dr. Shomali on the lecture, as appeared in the May 2016 issue of Islam Today, here.

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2


Footage from the public lecture event

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CMU welcomes renowned agronomist as Scientist in Residence

Dr. Martin Entz to explore Sabbath and its applications to natural systems agriculture

Canadian Mennonite University is pleased to announce it will host Dr. Martin Entz as its 2016 Scientist in Residence.

Prof. Martin Entz
Dr. Martin Entz, CMU’s 2016 Scientist in Residence, will deliver a public lecture on February 3 titled, “The Science of Sabbath: Meeting the Expectations of the Land.”

Entz, a professor of Cropping Systems and Natural Systems Agriculture at the University of Manitoba, will be on campus February 1-5 to share his insights, observations, experience, and personal reflections in a number of speaking events open to the public.

CMU is looking forward to hosting Entz, says Dr. Tim Rogalsky, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Science and Faith Advisory Committee.

“Martin is a renowned researcher with more than 25 years of experience and work published in more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers,” Rogalsky says. “His work is exciting because it explores questions of food security that are important in our world today.”

Entz’s confirmed speaking engagements are as follows:

  • A student forum titled, “Journey into Natural Systems Agriculture,” on Monday, February 1 from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM in the CMU Chapel (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.). Entz will share about his journey in the field of Natural Systems Agriculture, which explores cropping systems found in nature and develops systems that mimic them.
  • A chapel titled “Land as Gift: A Game Changer,” on Tuesday, February 2 from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM in the CMU Chapel. In this presentation, Entz will explore how viewing the Earth as a gift from the creator is a helpful guide when addressing the ecological crises humans face today.
  • A lecture on Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave). In the lecture, titled “The Science of Sabbath: Meeting the Expectations of the Land,” Entz will reflect on more than 25 years of natural systems agriculture research and highlight biblical themes of stewardship to suggest a shift in emphasis from smart resource management to wonder, humility, and inspiration.

While his week as Scientist in Residence will mark Entz’s first time speaking at CMU, he is no stranger to the university.

He is currently on sabbatical and using office space on campus as he researches the concept of Sabbath and how it can be applied to designing food production systems.

Interacting with CMU faculty is helping him think theologically and philosophically about the topic, as well as leading him to ask richer questions in his research.

“The concept of Sabbath is not part of our narrative,” Entz says of the research he and his University of Manitoba colleagues do. “It could be and it should be. If I explore the idea of Sabbath at CMU, I can bring some of that wisdom back to my colleagues in the science faculty I’m in.”

2016 Scientist in Residence PosterEntz says he is looking forward to his week as Scientist in Residence because it will allow him to interact with CMU students and faculty in a more formal way.

“It’s an honour to be selected for something like this,” he says, adding the events will “allow me to highlight some of the linkages between faith and science.”

Entz says that his research has revealed repeatedly that humans live in a world of abundance rather than scarcity. The idea of a sustainable food production system that includes periods of rest for the land in order to keep it healthy is entirely possible.

He hopes to share this message during the three events, and is looking forward to exploring these topics in greater depth with the community of people who attend.

“I really do think the difficult challenges we face as a civilization we need to work on together,” Entz says.

Since earning his PhD in crop physiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Entz has carved out a significant career that includes teaching courses in crop ecology and organic agriculture, as well as overseeing an active graduate student program.

A highlight of Entz’s work is collaborating with farmers and learning from their experiences. He participates in ecologically-integrated farming system research and development work in Central America, southern Africa, and northwest China.

Entz and his wife, Jereleen, have two adult children and attend Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

All of the Scientist in Residence events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit cmu.ca/sir.

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Discussion exploring the development of Kapyong Barracks continues at CMU

An upcoming event at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) will continue the discussion about what at urban reserve at Kapyong Barracks might look like.

F2FSliderMediaThe community is invited to “An Urban Reserve at Kapyong: Imagining a Future,” CMU’s latest Face2Face discussion, on Wednesday, November 4. The event starts at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Co-presented with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba (TRCM), this event will focus on three main questions:

  • What might the possibility of an urban reserve at Kapyong Barracks mean for all of us?
  • Can we name our questions and apprehensions and, in conversation, begin to shape a shared vision for this initiative in this area of our city?
  • What might we imagine and do together to make this work for the benefit of all?

Participants in the discussion include Chief Dennis Meeches of Long Plain First Nation, which is located southwest of Portage la Prairie and operates two urban reserves; Harry Finnigan, former head of planning at the City of Winnipeg and a leader in community/regional planning and revitalization; and Andrew Holtman, a member of the Tuxedo Community Centre’s board of directors.

David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media at CMU, will moderate the event along with Jamie Wilson, Commissioner for the TRCM.

The event is a follow-up to two panel discussions CMU has hosted since March 2014 that explored the opportunities and practical challenges of an urban reserve at Kapyong Barracks.

These events have provided a chance for conversation between people who live in the area and the First Nations who want the land.

The last discussion, held this past March, drew hundreds of people.

“Conversations have movement, so the November 4 event grew out of the two previous conversations,” Balzer says, adding that he is looking forward to co-moderating the event with Wilson. “There’s a different tone when you’ve got two people sharing the leadership, so to speak, of the evening… That will be really good.”

Formerly a Canadian Forces base, Kapyong Barracks was vacated in 2004. The Department of National Defence declared the 159-acre site, located on Kenaston Boulevard, surplus.

Several First Nations have argued that under a treaty land entitlement process, they are allowed to negotiate for federal property that has been declared surplus.

As a result, they have laid claim to Kapyong. They have fought with the Canadian government in court for the past eight years, with the latest decision coming down this past August in favour of the First Nations.

A September 2015 Winnipeg Free Press article reports that several First Nations chiefs are hopeful a deal to buy Kapyong Barracks can be done within a year.

Although construction on the land is years away, it is looking more likely now than it was this past March at the last Face2Face discussion on this topic that Kapyong will indeed be turned into an urban reserve.

“Last time we met, it was kind of in theory that we might be living together as neighbours,” Balzer says. “Now you can actually imagine it and this is the community coming together and having a conversation about how we might live together. That’s very different in my mind.”

Started in 2013, Face2Face is a series of conversations organized by CMU, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

“An Urban Reserve at Kapyong: Imagining a Future” is the second of four Face2Face events CMU will host during the 2015-16 school year. For details, visit www.cmu.ca/face2face.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program. 

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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2015 J.J. Thiessen Lectures to explore oil and evangelism in the 20th century

CMU welcomes University of Notre Dame history professor Darren Dochuk

How have religion and oil together shaped existence for modern North Americans at the moment of their heightening authority in the 20th century?

That’s one of the questions Dr. Darren Dochuk will explore at this year’s J.J. Thiessen Lectures at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). Titled, “Crude Awakenings: The Faith, Politics, and Crises of Oil in America’s Century,” the three-part series takes place in the CMU Chapel (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.) on Tuesday, October 20 at 11:00 AM and 7:30 PM, and Wednesday, October 21 at 11:00 AM.

Dr. Dochuk
Dr. Darren Dochuk from the University of Notre Dame, 2015’s J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series presenter

Dochuk, Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame, will track a history of religion and oil in the 20th century, with a particular focus on “oil patch evangelism,” showing how encounters with petroleum helped shape a certain theology, a certain understanding of land and environment, and ultimately, a certain understanding of politics.

“I’m lecturing and writing very much as a historian, but I would assume that people can see the connections to our present moment,” says Dochuk, who is currently writing a book on the subject, titled Anointed With Oil: God and Black Gold in America’s Century.

“Ongoing battles about pipelines, energy, and the environment… always stir up moral critique, and in some ways, discussion and debate about theology itself—the ways in which people are to connect with, and manage, the Earth and its resources.”

Each of the three lectures will focus on a momentous flashpoint in the life of North American oil and evangelicalism and pause for reflection on what this moment meant long-term for matters of faith and society in the 20th century.

In the process of tracking the chronology of God and black gold in the modern era, the lectures will also raise questions pertaining to evangelicalism’s relationship to capitalism and globalization, energy and environment, notions of time, and broad interests in politics.
2015JJThiessenPoster
Dochuk says that his experience growing up in Edmonton, AB is one of the reasons for his interest in the subject of oil and faith.

“[Growing up,] I kind of knew intuitively that there was… a certain uniqueness to Alberta, and much of that comes out of its experiences with the boom and bust culture of oil, and the way that landscape again encourages certain religious and political practices,” Dochuk says.

“This is a way for me to revisit my own past, and revisit Alberta itself, and see if I can place that in a broader context of historical development.”

Brian Froese, Assistant Professor of History at CMU, suggested the university invite Dochuk to speak after hearing him present at a conference and reading some of his work on the intersection between oil, religion, and politics.

“The papers and articles he’s produced on that so far are wildly interesting,” Froese says, adding that Dochuk is an engaging presenter and empathetic scholar with keen insights.

“He has something provocative, in the best sense of the word, to say,” Froese says. “He really makes you think about something in a particular way.”

More on Dochuk’s lectures can be found at cmu.ca/jjt.

Founded in 1978 by one of CMU predecessor institutions, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC), the J.J. Thiessen Lectures are named in honour of a founder and long-time chairperson of the CMBC Board. The lectures seek to bring to the CMU community something of Thiessen’s breadth of vision for the church.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program. 

For information about CMU visit cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Event focusing on oil dependency kicks off 2015-16 discussion series at CMU

Oil industry consultant, economist, and filmmaker featured on panel

Oil dependency is the focus of Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) first Face2Face discussion of 2015-16.

Face2Face.Sept2015Titled “When Oil Dependency is Not Black and White: Contradictions and Possibilities,” the event happens Friday, September 25 at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.). Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Face2Face is a series of conversations with CMU faculty, designed to engage the community on a wide variety of current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life.

From cell phones to clothing, and from wind turbines to automobiles, we are embedded in an oil dependent world. The September 25 discussion will explore questions such as: How do we respond to the complex realities of oil dependency in our lives? What choices lie before governments, industry, and before each of us as individuals? What kind of ethical framework can guide and assist us?

Moderated by David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media, the event will feature three panelists:

Marlene Janzen – Engineer, owner of Eclipse Geomatics and Engineering LTD; focused on conceptual development studies, front end engineering, and preliminary estimates for remote onshore and arctic offshore oil and gas opportunities.

James Magnus-Johnston – CMU Instructor of Political Studies and Economics; research interests in ecological resilience, principally through the application of “steady-state” economic policies and carbon reduction strategies.

Michael Tyas – Managing editor of One River News; graduated from the University of Manitoba with an honours degree in environmental studies; a professional videographer and video trainer; produced the feature length documentary One River, Many Relations in Fort Chipewyan, AB to tell the stories of people living downstream from oil sands resource extraction.

Balzer says the goal is to have a conversation that draws out some of the complexities surrounding the topic of oil.

“To have someone who’s an oil industry consultant with a deep concern for creation, together with an economist and a documentary filmmaker, feels like it will create a very interesting conversation with some expertise people don’t always have available to them when they’re discussing these issues,” he says.

Magnus-Johnston says he wanted to be a part of the event because he believes everyone is personally responsible when it comes to fossil fuel use.

“Often we want someone to take responsibility for climate change, so we vilify fossil fuel companies or those working in the fossil fuel industry, but when you dig a little deeper, we all are, in fact, contributing to the problem,” Magnus-Johnston says. “So, solutions are not so simple.”

Balzer points out that rather than just being a presentation by the three panelists, the event is meant to be a conversation that includes audience members.

With any luck, the conversation will produce new insights.

“We’re hoping we don’t end up getting caught in a positional debate, but rather that we listen to the panelists, hear what they’re saying, and perhaps look for the creative way forward that may not be present to any of us right now,” Balzer says.

The discussion will be followed at 8:30 PM by an informal reception.

The evening marks the start of CMU’s Fall Festival, a high energy weekend that features opportunities to connect, learn, play, and celebrate with the CMU Community. For more information about Fall Festival, visit www.cmu.ca/fallfest.

“When Oil Dependency is Not Black and White: Contradictions and Possibilities” is the first of four Face2Face events CMU will host during the 2015-16 school year. For details, visit www.cmu.ca/face2face.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program. 

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Menno Simons College hosts insight mediation workshop

Addressing the complexity of conflict

The workshop “Practicing Insight Mediation: Helping Conflicting Parties Make Wise Decisions” will be led by Dr. Cheryl Picard, professor emeritus at Carleton University and principle of Cheryl Picard & Associates.

The workshop will take place May 6-8, 2015 at MSC and will be available for university credit or professional development.

Insights Workshop PosterInsight mediation is a style of conflict intervention that was developed as a result of collaboration between two Canadian scholars, Dr. Picard, Carleton University and Dr. Kenneth Melchin, Saint Paul University. They extensively studied successful mediation practice and applied ideas from Bernard Lonergan’s theory of insight to develop the insight approach to conflict resolution and mediation.

The insight approach addresses the complexity of conflict, including the role of emotion and the importance of values, through the integration of theories of social action with micro communication skills and conflict resolution strategies.

Participants in this workshop will be encouraged to re-think traditional ideas about conflict and conflict intervention as they are introduced to the idea that conflict resolution involves the production of new understandings that help conflicting parties identify and understand the threat experiences and defense responses that create and sustain conflict.

Emphasis will be placed on the development of skills to de-escalate threat narratives through the mediation dialogue as this can change problematic patterns of interaction and enable parties to find ways to either resolve their differences or to live more peacefully with them.

Dr. Picard is an educator, mediator, and conflict coach specializing in interpersonal, workplace, and community-based conflict for over 35 years. Dr. Picard brings a relational ideology to her teaching and conflict resolution practice, which means she views people as connected to each other through complex webs of relationships, patterns of interaction, and meaning-making.

For more information or to register visit www.mscollege.ca.

About Menno Simons College
Menno Simons College (MSC), a part of Canadian Mennonite University and affiliated with the University of Winnipeg, has been offering programs in International Development Studies (IDS) and Conflict Resolution Studies (CRS) since 1989. MSC fosters a vibrant undergraduate learning community in its newly renovated facility at 520 Portage Avenue. It offers 3-year and 4-year majors and a minor in IDS and CRS, an honours program in IDS, and an extensive practicum program. MSC has over 1,000 students and hundreds of alumni working in the development and conflict resolution sectors in Manitoba, Canada, and internationally.

For additional information, please contact:

Joel Marion
Menno Simons College
204.953.3844
jo.marion@uwinnipeg.ca

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Muslim scholar to speak at Canadian Mennonite University

Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali of Qom, Iran to deliver lecture titled, “Characteristics of Shi’a Islam”

Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, Founding Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (IIIS) in Qom, Iran, will give a lecture titled, “Characteristics of Shi’a Islam: An Overview,” at 7:00 PM on Friday, March 13 in the Laudamus Auditorium (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.).

Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, Founding Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies in Qom, Iran, will give a lecture at CMU on March 13.
Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, Founding Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies in Qom, Iran, will give a lecture at CMU on March 13.

“It is exciting to have Dr. Shomali at CMU for the fourth time in as many years,” says Dr. Harry Huebner, Director of International and Inter-Faith Theological Initiatives at CMU. “He is a man of deep faith, an effective teacher, and an engaging storyteller. It is especially important in today’s climate to hear Islam explained by a scholar from within the faith.”

Shomali is a graduate of the Islamic Seminaries of Qom, and also holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Western Philosophy from the University of Tehran. He earned his PhD from the University of Manchester and wrote his doctoral thesis on ethical relativism.

Dr. Harry Huebner of CMU (left) and Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (middle) speak during a 2014 visit in Qom, Iran.
Dr. Harry Huebner of CMU (left) and Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (middle) speak during a 2014 visit in Qom, Iran.

In addition to his work with the IIIS, Shomali is the Director of London’s Islamic Centre of England.

CMU is hosting Shomali as well as seven of his graduate students from Qom from Sunday, March 8 until Wednesday, March 18. During this time, CMU faculty will teach the students an intensive course in Christian Systematic Theology.

It will be the third time since 2011 that CMU has hosted Muslim students from Iran.

“Dr. Shomali believes it is important for his students to be trained in, and understand, other monotheistic faiths,” Huebner says. “He also believes it’s important for his students to be exposed to Western culture and Western societal dynamics.”

Dr. Harry Huebner of CMU (second from left) and Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (third from left) participate in an interfaith dialogue in Qom, Iran last year.
Dr. Harry Huebner of CMU (second from left) and Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (third from left) participate in an interfaith dialogue in Qom, Iran last year.

The visit stems from a series of dialogues that began in 2002 that bring together Shi’a Muslim scholars from Iran and Mennonite scholars from Canada and the U.S. The goal of these dialogues is to improve understanding between Muslims and Christians.

Last May, four professors and six students from CMU travelled to Qom for the sixth dialogue. Afterward, the students spent 14 days in the cities of Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tehran. They travelled to significant sites to learn more about Iran’s history, people, beliefs, and culture.

The trip, as well as the Muslim students’ upcoming visit, was made possible in part by a grant Huebner received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Huebner says he is looking forward to hosting Shomali and the students.

“These are students that will be the future clerics, professors, and Shi’a Islam leaders in Iran,” Huebner says. “For us to be in dialogue with them, and learn to relate to them as friends, is extremely significant for the future.”

Huebner adds that Iranian society is driven by intellectual pursuit and thus places a high value on academics, which makes possible a special relationship between universities.

He is excited to see what members of the CMU community can learn from these visitors.

“We need to remember that there is another world of scholarship out there,” Huebner says. “Our awareness and openness to that is important.”

He adds that Islam is often misunderstood in the mainstream media, and Muslim-Christian dialogues and exchanges like this help create better relationships.

“The news doesn’t give us a good understanding of what Islam is,” Huebner says. “Getting to know people from Iran is one way of cutting across that.”

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.

For information about CMU, visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:

Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2