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International Conference on

Religion, Conflict, and Peace:

Walking The Talk To Compassion And Harmony


A Multi-disciplinary, Multi-cultural Conference

Sponsored by:
Common Bond Institute (CBI),
International Humanistic Psychology Association
Supported by:
Zaman International, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Endorsed by:
Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan
and over 100 universities and organizations internationally
Official Partner and Event of
Charter For Compassion & Parliament of World's Religions

The Charter For Compassion

Declaration of the Council of Religious Leaders of the Holy Land

An international forum promoting Inter-religious and Intra-religious dialogue to explore the challenges of Social Paranoia, Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping, Scapegoating, Racism, Islamophobia, and how these effect all communities; and the promise of Reason, Understanding, Compassion, and Cultural Harmony


The spiritual experience is both uniquely individual and universal, tapping into our deepest, most inner self, while connecting us to the oneness with all.

How each of us chooses our own sometimes quite different path on this common journey can highlight an appreciation for the rich diversity of human sacred practice, while at the same time setting the stage for the potential hazards of elitism, competition, polarity, and even animosity that paradoxically negate the core message of unity, and hamper us on that journey.

Religious intolerance, marginalization, scapegoating, and related conflict are not new experiences, whether in the US or globally. Many examples are woven throughout our human history that highlight both the unique circumstances of individual religious groups, and the broader commonality shared by all who have been on either side of such supposedly fundamental divides. A current example in American society is the recent experience of Islam and the Muslim community. However the dynamics, struggles, and threat are universal for all religious communities exposed to these ills.

In addition, dichotomies and conflicts within spiritual traditions themselves, including extremist interpretations and interpolations of religious tenets and practice by uninformed or purposely manipulating individuals and groups, are also historical and present day dilemmas for many religions.

Understanding how these elements and conditions arise, how they compromise, contradict, and even threaten original spiritual intent, and how they wound relationships between and within religious communities, is essential to learning practical methods for appreciating diversity and achieving harmony and peace in today's rapidly shrinking and increasingly inter-dependant world community.

The RCP Conference seeks to create an engaged, inclusive dialogue to consciously explore together both broader historical dynamics, implications, and possible remedies, and more recent specific manifestations playing out around us in society today.

"It does not require that we be the same to be appreciative of, at peace with, and secure in our relationships with each other; only that we be familiar enough with each other's story to share the humanity and trustworthiness that resides in each of us."
.... Steve Olweean


Join us as we explore:

1. The mutual dilemmas of religious misunderstanding, extremism, prejudice, demonization and dehumanization, scapegoating, and fear of "the Other," that can lead to toxic divisiveness, polarization, and targeting any religious/cultural communities, including addressing the relationship between rising Islamophobia and rising anti-Semitism, racism, anti-immigrant, and anti-minority sentiments,
and
2. The power of personal engagement through dialogue and practical applications in advancing a shared consciousness of peace in our communities - and in doing so promoting the spiritual experience as a healing remedy rather than problem.

As examples of central issues in this year's conference, the program addresses the source of bigotry based on social paranoia, the direct relationship between targeting and scapegoating one group with negative stereotypes and hate acts and increases in the same toward other minority groups, and how communities can work together to educate and sensitize the public. Related to this, the conference will also include sessions dealing with the emotional and psychological distress individuals and groups experience as result of being targeted, how this effects relationships within and between communities, and how both counseling professionals and clergy can work together to support community members and remedy this, including exploring the possibility of an interfaith coalition of professional counselors and clergy.

Format and Content:

FORMAT AND CONTENT

Format and Content

An outstanding, international, and diverse gathering of over 40 presenters for a 3-Day Itinerary of keynotes, topical panels, workshops, facilitated dialogue groups, exhibits, live 2-way global links to groups in other countries, social/cultural events, multicultural community, rich networking, and collaborative action planning for beyond the conference.

In addition to on-site presenters, key individuals and groups from other countries will be simultaneously Skyped into the conference for live, real-time, 2-way participation during plenary sessions.

By design, the RCP Conference is fundamentally oriented toward direct engagement by participants, with prepared presentations (workshops, topical panels, and keynotes) providing specific learning and stimulus for processing in facilitated dialogue groups woven throughout each day. We utilize the conference for this purpose by creating a common ground that honors diverse perspectives, authentic dialogue, and earnest deliberation where not only the general public can directly engage and learn, but where key stakeholders themselves can personally connect and explore ways to cooperate in sharing and supporting each others efforts for a larger, common good.

The program is designed to address differences; challenge stereotypes and blind spots; increase appreciation for diversity; discover commonality; and develop practical applications for expanding this experience out into our communities to improve relations, locally and globally.

Guidelines For Compassionate Dialogue:

GUIDELINES FOR COMPASSIONATE DIALOGUE

Guidelines For Compassionate Dialogue

The RCP Conference strives to promote an inclusive, compassionate dialogue that honors different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony. Our intention is to create an open venue where we can engage meaningfully and invite in a public dialogue that brings our joint wisdom to bear in exploring sometimes difficult issues that effect us all. This is based on the premise that it does not require that we be the same to be appreciate of, at peace with, and secure in our relationships with each other; only that we be familiar enough with each others story to share the humanity and trustworthiness that resides in each of us.

We ask all participants to assist us by carrying and expressing this intent throughout the conference.

NonViolent Communication Guidelines: (Adapted from Marshall Rosenberg)

Unique Assumptions - NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies-whether verbal or physical-are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. It also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.

While NVC is much more than a communication model, the components below provide a structural concept of the process that leads to giving and receiving from the heart.

Honestly Expressing how I am and what I would like without using blame, criticism or demands

Empathically Receiving how another is and what he/she would like without hearing blame, criticism or demands

Whether expressing or receiving, NVC focuses our attention on four pieces of information:

Observations - Objectively describing what is going on without using evaluation, moralistic judgment, interpretation or diagnosis

Feelings - Saying how you feel (emotions and body sensations) about what you have observed without assigning blame

Needs - The basic human needs that are or not being met and are the source of feelings

Requests - Clear request for actions that can meet needs