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Middle East Delegates to Lead March 9 Forum at
UW-Eau Claire

Editor's Note: Participants in this forum will be available for interviews.

RELEASED: March 2, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — A National Peace Foundation program titled "Islam in America: New Dimensions in Activism, Pluralism and Thought" will bring 12 citizen delegates from the Middle East to UW-Eau Claire on March 9.

The delegates are visiting the United States for meetings and experiential workshops to learn about culture in the U.S. and to address the role that Islam plays in various societies around the world.

Their visit to campus will include a tour with a stop at the International Learning Community, visits to classes, a lunch hosted by Interim Provost Marty Wood, and a panel discussion.

The panel discussion — titled Islam, Civil Society and the Future of U.S. Relations with the Arab Gulf States — will run from 1-2 p.m. March 9 in Davies Theatre. Dr. Ali Abootalebi, professor of political science, will be the moderator. The panel discussion is free and open to the public.

"It is very exciting to host this delegation at UW-Eau Claire," said Dr. Kate Lang, chair of the history department. "Our students and others can learn so much from this type of program; it's a wonderful opportunity for our campus and our community."

During a 10-day period, the delegates will travel to several locations in the United States, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Eau Claire.

The National Peace Foundation, an NGO devoted to preventing conflict through awareness and dialogue, is sponsoring the international citizen exchange project in partnership with the Islamic Society of North America.

The program is the fifth exchange on the theme of religion and society hosted by NPF, in cooperation with ISNA, and is organized under the Faith and Community Dialogue Program, which receives grants from the U.S. Department of State.

Intended to focus on the efforts of Muslims in the United States who are active in Islamic cultural work, the delegation integrates leading Jewish and Christian scholars who are working to build inter-religious dialogue and exchange with the American Muslim community. Participants come from various inter-religious and inter-denominational backgrounds, drawing on Muslim clerics and civil society builders from Yemen, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

For more information on the March 9 event at UW-Eau Claire, contact Dr. Kate Lang, chair of the history department, at 715-836-4765 or langkh@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB

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