Cairo, Egypt, August 20, 2010 — AMIDEAST is pleased to announce the start of a new program that will provide Egyptian Imams and female religious scholars with the linguistic tools needed to engage in discussions and explanations of Islam, particularly to non-Muslims. Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the English for Religious Purposes program will be offered in Alexandria and Tanta over the coming two years.
Although Arabic is the language of the Qur'an, English is increasingly considered the global language of communication. Strong English skills will provide participants with increased access to the Internet and a forum to exchange ideas and beliefs with people of other faiths and Muslims who do not speak Arabic. Through the program, participants are expected to promote an accurate global understanding of Islam and gain a greater awareness and understanding of cultures, religions, and dialogues beyond their own.
“AMIDEAST is thrilled to be involved with this initiative. Recent events in New York City highlight the profound importance of promoting interfaith dialogue. The timing of the English for Religious Purposes Program could not have been more appropriate,” said David Godsted, AMIDEAST’s country director in Egypt.
In addition to language training, the program incorporates training sessions in interfaith dialogue and conflict management skills as well as monthly activities such as field trips to religious sites, the screening of films and documentaries on interfaith topics followed by facilitated discussions, and guest speakers from the community who are experts on religious and interfaith issues.
During the second year of the program, AMIDEAST will partner with Soliya to facilitate engagement and dialogue between program participants and young people from the West through the use of the latest web-conferencing technology. Participants will meet online for weekly two-hour sessions facilitated by a cross-cultural team of young leaders drawn from over 25 different countries who are trained with leadership and conflict resolution skills.
For further information and applications, contact Egypt@amideast.org.