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GTU Insight: March 2017
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March 2017 

In this Issue...


GTU Speaks Out For Justice
The Graduate Theological Union has released a statement supporting those who are threatened by the actions of the current U.S. administration, and decrying the rise in violence and hate crimes directed toward Muslims, Jews, and immigrants. The GTU Solidarity Statement, developed by a diverse group of faculty, staff, and administration, states the community’s desire to “use our voices and resources to resist discriminatory practices within our own faith communities and the wider society,” to “provide comfort and assistance to those whose residential status in the United States is being threatened,” and “to challenge sociopolitical patterns of bigotry and fear-mongering by offering a positive vision of dialogue and learning that cultivates contemplation of, and respect for, our common humanity.” Read the full statement here.
            This declaration is just one of many ongoing efforts by the GTU community to stand for justice during these troubled times. Dr. Naomi Seidman of the GTU’s Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies was among the organizers and signers of a statement by Jewish academics decrying the appointment of former Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon as the president’s chief strategist. GTU students put their commitment into action last month as they led a community witness celebrating the role of immigrants in the United States. Such work continues this month with several relevant events across the GTU, including a day-long workshop on “Creative Nonviolent Resistance” at the Jesuit School of Theology on March 12 (cosponsored by our Women’s Studies in Religion Program), and Pacific School of Religion’s “Borders and Identity” conference on March 17-18, featuring Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas. Learn more about these and other activities on the GTU events calendar.


Prospective Students: Come Visit in April!

If you’re considering studying at the GTU, here’s your chance to find out what we’re all about! During our Prospective and Admitted Students’ Week (April 3-7), you’ll have opportunity to visit the GTU campus in Berkeley, participate in our academic community, sit in on a few classes, and experience life here at the Graduate Theological Union. You’ll also have a chance to meet with admissions staff, current students, and faculty. Come with questions, leave with more clarity. We can even host you for up to two nights here in Berkeley (first come, first served--space is limited). Register online here (and choose from more than 20 classes you can attend), or contact admissions@gtu.edu to find out more. Hope we’ll see you soon!

CTNS Celebrates Ayala Gift

On February 16, the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) held a reception celebrating a $2M gift from long-time professional partner Dr. Francisco J. Ayala, University Professor in the Sciences and Humanities at the University of California Irvine. In recognition of Dr. Ayala’s gift, CTNS has been formally renamed as The Francisco J. Ayala Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. Dr. Ayala (pictured here with GTU doctoral student Austin Choate) is an esteemed scholar who has championed the compatibility of science and religion throughout his long and distinguished career. This generous pledge from this internationally recognized scientist will help ensure that CTNS will continue to build on its thirty-five-year history as a leader in bridging the gap between the scientific and religious communities. Read more>>

Don't Miss Sustainable Societies, Apr 28-29

In the face of unprecedented national and international challenges, when the linked injustices of economic, social, and environmental inequity are on the rise, what answers can our religious traditions provide? We'll explore these questions at "Sustainable Societies: Interreligious, Interdisciplinary Responses,” a two-day conference at the GTU on April 28-29. This event will offer panel conversations and presentations from a host of renowned educators, including more than twenty scholars from across the GTU and its member schools and centers. Featured plenary speakers include internationally known scholar of ecology and religion Dr. Mary-Evelyn Tucker of Yale University, and Dr. Anantantand Rambachan of St. Olaf College. We hope you will join us for this exceptional event on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, at the GTU’s Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley. Download the event schedule and a list of presenters here. The conference is free, but space is limited. Register now on Eventbrite. It's cosponsored by the Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies.


Praise for Reverberating Echoes      
The GTU and its Center for the Arts & Religion have been thrilled by the response to the current exhibition, Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art, on display at the Doug Adams Gallery this semester. Curated by Carol Bier, visiting scholar at the Center for Islamic Studies, the exhibition features the work of seven diverse contemporary artists whose work has been influenced by the patterns, techniques and designs of traditional Islamic art. In its review of the exhibition, Berkeleyside suggested the art might serve as a “balm to anti-Muslim rhetoric.” Our neighbors at Zaytuna College have made the exquisite catalog from the exhibition available for purchase online or in person at their bookstore. The book includes an introduction plus two essays, "Engaging Tradition Today," and "What is 'Traditional Islamic Art'?" plus photos and details for each of the 35 items on display. You can also learn more about upcoming CARe events connected to the exhibit, including this Sunday's gallery conversation between Carol Bier and CIS director Munir Jiwa.   

Upcoming Events

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CTNS Russell Family Fellowship Conference
Three events featuring Hava Tirosh-Samuelson
Jewish Environmentalism, March 7, 5 pm
Judaism & the Science-Religion Dialogue, March 8, 7 pm
In Pursuit of Perfection: The Misguided Transhumanist VisionMarch 9, 1 pm
GTU Dinner Boardroom, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley

WSR Celebrates International Women's Day
A full day of events across the GTU consortium, including "Luther and Women" at PLTS, a WSR Open Mic, and "The Fight for Women's Rights" at SKSM
Wednesday, March 8

25th Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts
Dr. Stephen Crist speaks on "The Life and Time of a Lutheran Hymn"
Thursday, March 9, 6:30 reception, 7 pm lecture 
GTU Dinner Boardroom, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley 

Dillenberger Lecture with Dr. Alicia Walker
"Pseudo-Arabic as a Marker of Christian Identity in Middle Byzantine Art and Architecture"
Friday, March 10, 5:00 pm
Doug Adams Gallery, 2465 LeConte Ave.,

Asia Project Spring 2017 Colloquium
Featuring student presentations and Asian cuisine
Thursday, March 16, 12:30 pm
Dinner Boardroom, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley

Islam in China and Japan
A joint lecture featuring Dr. Kei Takahashi and Dr. Yuting Wang
Monday, March 20, 12:00 pm
Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley
 

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