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Seminary to Host "TransNational" Video Town Meeting Focusing on Religion and Peace

Leaders from Jewish, Christian, and Muslims Communities to Discuss Vision for Peaceful World

Bethlehem, Pa., June 21, 2005— Moravian Theological Seminary will host “Speaking for Peace from Jerusalem and Washington: The Powerful Voice of Religion and Civil Society,” a “TransNational” Video Town Meeting on Sunday, June 26, 2005, from 2:15 to 5:00 p.m., in the Saal, Bahnson Center, 60 W. Locust Street, Bethlehem, Pa. The video program will be followed by a discussion led by the Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit of the Institute for Jewish Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Inter-religious viewing/discussion groups of Jews, Christians, and Muslims from Israel, the Palestinian territories, and over 50 cities across the U. S., and many countries from around the world are utilizing technology to speak out for a strong effort to end the violence between Israelis and Palestinians and to sustain a commitment to the peace process. Through the video town meeting “neighbors” will speak out about the necessity to understand and to express mutual respect for the humanity of the other.

Prominent religious leaders from Jerusalem who will speak on the live video feed include Rt. Reverend Riah Abu El Assal, The Bishop of Jerusalem of the Anglican Church; Sheikh Imad Falouji, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from Jabalia, Gaza; and Rabbi David Rosen, Jerusalem based Director of Inter-religious Affairs, American Jewish Committee. All of these leaders have signed the Alexandria Declaration calling “on all to oppose incitement, hatred and the misrepresentation of the other” and “to end violence that denies the right to life and dignity….and defames religion in the world.”

Representatives of Civil Society Leaders are Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Knesset and co-author of the Geneva Accord Model Peace Agreement; Sari Nusseibeh, President, Al Quds University co-founder of the People's Voice Peace Initiative; Dr. Tsvia Walden, Boards of Directors of the Peres Center and Geneva Initiative; and Rania Kharma, Coordinator, World Bank Emergency Assistance, Gaza.

Speakers George Sa'adeh from Bethlehem and Rami Elhanan from Jerusalem will represent Members of The Parents Circle: Bereaved Families for Peace and Reconciliation.

From the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., leaders will discuss the comments of the Jerusalem speakers. They include Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C., President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame; Recipient, Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal (prerecorded); Rabbi Paul Menitoff, Executive Director of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Serge Duss, Vice President and Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, World Vision; Rev. Dr. J. Martin Bailey, Special advisor, Churches for Middle East Peace; Author Imam Yahya Hendi, Chaplain, Georgetown University.

The video town meeting is sponsored by A Different Future (www.adifferentfuture.org) In Cooperation with the National Inter-religious Leadership Initiative for Peace (www.walktheroadtopeace.org).

Local sponsors of the program include the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, the Insitute for Jewish-Christian Understanding of Muhlenberg College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and The Morning Call.