RVP International Conferences 1998

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Invitation to an International Conference

Islamic and Christian Cultures: Conflict or Dialogue


Sofia, Bulgaria

November 12-15, 1998




A major problem in the relations between Islamic and "Western-type" cultures is the deficiency of mutual understanding. The contrast between Western and Islamic cultural models is often interpreted as a relation between traditional and modern societies: the former orientated towards the past, conservative and unproductive; the latter orientated towards the future, constructive and open to development.


In a striking contrast to all this, research on the basic Islamic religious texts and on the history of the influences of that religion on science, art, economy and everyday life reveals a "face" of tolerance and pluralism. The discrepancy between this image of Islamic culture, which is known to a few experts in the West, and the negative more popular one is a paradox in great need of scholarly discussion.


Many hypotheses regarding this paradox need to be tested by an interdisciplinary study and conference on the relations between Islamic and Christian cultures. The effects of such a study and discussion would by no means be confined to a purely theoretical clarification. It is to be expected that an exchange of opinions on the issue will have concrete positive public effect for the mutual understanding and cooperative action between these cultures. A serious analysis of the factors producing confrontation between them, especially if it finds due place also in the mass-media, is an essential means of improving interethnic and international relations.


The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (Washington D.C.), Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and the Minerva Foundation (Sofia) will organize a scientific conference on the theme "Islamic and Christian Cultures: Conflict Or Dialogue" to be held on November 12-15, 1998, in Sofia, Bulgaria. The focus will be on philosophy, but contributions from a range of related disciplines will be invited in order to overcome the one-sidedness which thusfar has been unable to provide satisfactory answers to many important questions concerning the antagonisms between the Islamic and Christian worlds.


Bulgaria is a specially interesting location for such a scholarly event on the relations between Islamic and Christian cultures, being at the frontier between these two worlds and, with the exception of the several final years of the communist rule, a place of peaceful coexistence of the two cultures.



Address: Professor George F. McLean, Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP), Cardinal Station PO Box 261, Washington D.C., 20064, USA; e-mail: mclean@cua.edu; WWW: http://www.crvp.org; tel/fax 202/319-6089.


Professor Plamen Makariev, Philosophy Dept., Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski, Sophia, Bulgaria; tel 359-2-871-046; fax 359-2-467-187; e-mail: Makariev@phls.uni-sofia.bg












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