by Dr. Turan Kayaoglu
On January 25, 2015 about 100 people, many of whom are associated with a religious tradition, gathered at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) for an “Interfaith Conversation on Israel-Palestine.” This conversation–sponsored by UPS, and facilitated by Dave Wright, Director for Spiritual Life and Civic Engagement and UPS chaplain–was initiated by Associated Ministries in collaboration with the Temple Beth El, Mountain View Lutheran Church, and the Muslim Student Association of the University of Washington Tacoma. PPPA faculty member Turan Kayaoglu was a member of the organizing committee.
The committee planned the event to be an informational, inspirational, and relational meeting, aimed at providing some basic information about Israel-Palestine. Their goal was to call on people of faith and conscience to become part of the solution to the conflict, and to help both pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians in the South Puget Sound get to know each other, in order to establish trust between their communities.
The meeting started with a talk by Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon. Kinnamon is the Spehar-Halligan visiting professor of Ecumenical Collaboration in Interreligious Dialogue at Seattle University, and former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. Dr. Kinnamon provided a historical overview and also introduced several discussion points before asking each table to engage with these points. Each table had a facilitator leading the discussion and summarizing the debate for the larger group. Facilitators included PPPA faculty members Dr. Jane Compson, Dr. Etga Ugur, Dr. Eric Bugyis, and Dr. Turan Kayaoglu.