Niagara Gazette — The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, presented the keynote address during a conference Monday in Istanbul, Turkey, that aims to contribute to the dialogue between religions, especially Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
"Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Poverty and Wealth in the Sacred Texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam," which is being held at Fatih University, involves more than 50 U.S. scholars who are joining their Turkish colleagues to discuss the themes of poverty and wealth in the three monotheistic religions.
"I submit to you, scholarship, service and teaching in an interfaith context holds great possibility to deal with one of the most critical issues of human life, our brothers and sisters in the cage of poverty," reads an excerpt from Maher's speech. "In addition, our spirituality must lead us to see poverty as a death dealing dynamic, challenging us to bring life and dignity to the dark, ignominious life of those trapped in poverty."
The first leg of the conference was held last June at Nazareth College, attracting about 200 attendees from top universities, as well as numerous religious studies experts. Selected papers from the conference are currently in the process of being published.
While in Turkey, Maher, Dr. Hung Le, vice president for international relations, and Dr. Mustafa Gokcek, associate professor of history and a native of Turkey, will meet and sign memorandums of understanding with administrators from several Turkish high schools.
The trip is consistent with Niagara University's efforts under Maher to expand its presence internationally.