The Interfaith Peace Conference at Lake Junaluska is an ongoing response to God’s call to peacemaking and reconciliation.Affirming the community of Abrahamic faiths, the Peace Conference seeks to work in partnership with Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other religious traditions to advance the work of reconciliation and peace
The 2019 Conference will celebrate and reflect upon the role that various arts play in reconciliation and peace-building. We will highlight the way our Abrahamic traditions have written, embellished and illuminated their Scriptures to draw readers and worshippers into their deeper and more expansive meanings. Music, drama, sculpture, textile art, dance and other art forms will lead us into new ways of imagining the peace promised within our deepest religious visions. Most of us are not skilled artists, but we all can be enriched by reflecting on the arts as a vital partner in the search for peace.
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Mariela Shaker, born 1990 in Aleppo, Syria, started playing the violin after joining the Arabic Institute of Music in Aleppo (1999). She graduated from the institute in 2004 with distinction. Mariela was always a very active performer in Syria and has taken part in many festivals and concerts in Aleppo including a solo violin recital in the Directory of Culture and in the St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in 2008. Mariela also has received many accolades while in Syria and was invited to participate in the Dubai Arabian Competition and to play with the Emirate’s Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mariela was teaching the violin for five years at the Arabic Institute of Music until she auditioned in London in 2011, and subsequently received an offer to complete her music studies in the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music. In 2013, Mariela survived the war in Syria after receiving a full tuition scholarship to attend Monmouth College and to study Music Performance for her second Bachelor’s degree. She has also been awarded a full tuition academic scholarship to study for her Master’s in Music Performance at DePaul University. Mariela is also a member of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra.
Mariela gave her debut recital at the Kennedy Center on June 20, 2015 in celebration of World Refugee Day which has been organized by UNHCR. Mariela has been named as Champion of Change for World Refugee by president Obama and was honored at the White House in 2015. Some engagements in 2016 include an invitation by Cate Blanchett for a performance in London and a performance for the first Scottish Minister at Beyond Borders International Festival in Scotland. Mariela is also the peace ambassador of World Council of Arameans. Mariela’s goal is to use her music to build bridges and promote peace and raise awareness for the plights of the Syrian people. What is remarkable about Mariela is that as a refugee, not only her music but also her voice is heard for refugees in need! Though her own family back in Syria has no electricity and many times she is unable to have contact, she perseveres for her noble cause
Fiber artist Laurie Wohl is internationally known for her unique Unweavings®, liturgical projects and interfaith message. Her interfaith project—”Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory”—relates poetry and spiritual texts from the Spanish medieval period of the Convivencia to contemporary Middle Eastern poetry in the context of her Unweavings® fiber art pieces. Her work has been exhibited in churches, synagogues, embassies and galleries around the world. She is in much demand for lectures and exhibitions about her work. More about her work appears on www.lauriewohl.com.
Women and War is a reader's theater play by Jack Hilton Cunningham. Drawing on the stories of generations of Americans impacted by conflict from The Great War to the War in Afghanistan, it is about the hearts of women and the extraordinary things they are compelled to do, whether out of patriotism, personal love or even perverse ideology. They must pick up the pieces and rebuild not only their own lives, but those of their husbands and sons, and in that labor of love they are stronger than the warmongers and the reason we are able to carry on. It will be directed by Julie Kinter, who has been involved with Haywood Arts Regional Theatre since 2002, acting, directing, creating sound and music, and doing many other technical and administrative aspects of theatre.
Jonathan Homrighausen, a Christian and PhD student in Old Testament at Duke University, is author of Illuminating Justice: The Ethical Imagination of The Saint John’s Bible (Liturgical Press, 2018). He earned his MA in Biblical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley), where he spent a good deal of time studying Judaism and Islam. Inspired by The Saint John’s Bible, he is also a very amateur calligrapher.
Presenter on "The Ethical Vision of the Saint John's Bible"
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