Faith, Community and Culture conference

The multi-day event, September 9th to 11th, is in partnership with the International Council for Middle East Studies (ICMES) an academic think tank in Washington, D.C. The ICMES board of directors consists primarily of Middle East scholars and has a goal to educate people about various aspects of Middle East culture and politics.

The conference is open to the public and people can participate in sessions that include presentations, discussion and debate by distinguished Canadian, American, European and Middle East experts in numerous fields. All sessions take place at the Four Points Sheraton, 5505 Airport Way.

Conference Schedule

Monday, September 9

  • 9:30 -11:00 – Session I: History and Cultural Traditions 
    • Chair: Anderson Araujo (UBC)
    • Francisco Peña (UBC) – Medieval Jewish-Christian Cross-Pollination and Teaching Transculturality Today
    • Hussein Keshani (UBC) – The Islamic World’s History as a Transcultural Commons.
  • 11:00-1:15 – Lunch
  • 1:30-3:30 Session II: Faith and Community Narratives
    • Chair: Sean Lawrence (UBC)
    • IssamSaliba (ICMES) – The Islamic Legal Tradition between Renewal and Reform.
    • Norton Mezvinsky (ICMES) – Mordecai Kaplan and Reconstructionist Judaism.
    • Alaa Ebrahim (Journalist) -Islamic Law and Government in the 21st Century.

Tuesday, September 10

  • 9:30 -11:00 – Session III: Religious identity and Modern States / Communities 1/2
    • Chair: Dom Wallace (ICMES)
    • Yaakov Shapiro – Jewish Thinking and Ethics: Does Judaism Provide a Path from the “Should” to the “Is?
    • Gloria Moran (University of Santiago) – Secularity, Religious Identity and Plural Modernities.
  • 11:00-1:15 – Lunch
  • 1:30-3:30 Session IV. Religious identity and Modern States / Communities 2/2 – Case studies.
    • Chair: Fernando Jimenes (ICMES)
    • Jessica Stites Mor (University of British Columbia) Liberation Theology in South African Anti-Apartheid Struggle as Transnational Solidarity
    • David Goa (University of Alberta), The Barren Roots and Soil of Contemporary Political Orthodoxy of the Orthodox Christian Churches of the Former Soviet Union.

Wednesday, September 11

  • 9:30 -11:00 – Session V. Imagine no religion: theology of understanding
    • Chair: Maurice Williams (UBC)
    • R. Robert Daum (Simon Fraser) – Exegesis and the Calling of the World.
    • Emilio G. Ferrin (University of Seville) – The Anguish of Abraham: Religious burden and Universal Ethics.
  • 11:00-1:15 – Lunch
  • 1:30-3:30 Closing Session.
    • Don Wallace, the ICMES Chairman of the Board of Directors
    • Bryce Traister Dean of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies – UBC Okanagan


The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required.


The event is supported by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Department of Languages and World Literatures, as well as The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic and UBC Okanagan.

Contact Francisco Peña at or Ange-Aimee Quesnel at for more information or the schedule details of this event.