UBC Okanagan Professor Fransisco Peña (second from right) of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies is joined by academic authors and translators Virginie Magnat, Ramine Adl, Marianne Legalt and Oliver Lovesey). Peña brings the Faith, Community and Culture conference to the Okanagan on Sept. 9. (Photo: UBC Okanagan)

UBC Okanagan salvages religion conference after political turmoil cancels U.S show

The Faith, Community and Culture conference is Sept. 9 to 11

After an international religion conference which was originally scheduled for the U.S. was cancelled due to political turmoil, a UBC Okanagan professor is stepping in to bring the event to Kelowna.

The Faith, Community and Culture conference will explore Jewish, Christian and Islamic perspectives dating from ancient periods to the present.

The original location for the conference was in Washington, U.S. but entry to the country was impossible for some speakers due to visa restrictions including an Islamologist and a Syrian journalist.

Professor Fransico Peña was determined to host the meeting in the Okanagan after the backup location in Spain was rejected.

“For the organizers and participants, this opportunity offered by UBC, is an undoubted oasis of freedom for professorship, research and thought,” said Peña.

“This conference seeks to promote the scholarship of religion from multi-faith perspectives, which is timely as populist politicians across the world use religion to promote political self-interest. (It’s) about religious pluralism in a time of separatism and will focus on human faith in a context when people are weaponizing faith for political gain.”

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The conference is in partnership with the International Council for Middle East Studies in Washington, U.S. which consists of Middle East scholars who’s goals are to educate on the various aspects of the culture and politics.

The event runs Sept. 9 to 11 with open sessions which include presentations from Canadian, American, European and Middle East experts in various fields. Check out the schedule here.

“The opportunity for UBC to host researchers who specialize in the study of religion and the Middle East could not be missed,” said Peña. “Hosting this conference also demonstrates a sense of university freedom that unfortunately is no longer a general trend in societies that today inhabit much of what we call the developed world.”

More information can be found here.

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