LinkEducation Expo: Bringing the Education Community Together

This past Saturday, Mark and I participated in LinkEd’s Spring Education Expo at the Harlem Armory. It was the first 85 degree day New York City has seen this year and although, most likely, the participants would have rather gone to Central Park they instead came and spent some time getting to know Tanenbaum and some of the 40 or so other vendors. We didn’t expect to see such a big crowd and meet so many people.

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Sri Lanka will need women like Shreen A. Saroor

At one time, the Tamil Tigers controlled upwards of 30% of the island nation of Sri Lanka. Now government forces have encircled their last stronghold, which is an 8 sq. km pocket in the northeast of the country, and it seems that a 25 year war is coming to an end.

The Tigers, comprised mostly of ethnic Tamils, are typically Hindu, making them religiously and linguistically different from the majority Sinhalese, who are typically Buddhist. Caught in the cross fire of this deadly conflict are small communities of Christians and Muslims. In 1990, the Tamil Tigers expelled 75,000 Muslims from territory under their control; one of whom was a woman named Shreen Abdul Saroor. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday News Roundup: Religion Takes a Breather

istock_000003001750xsmallHey, every week can’t be jam-packed, right?  This week, some pieces on the National Day of Prayer following up on Tuesday’s post, along with bits and pieces of interest across the spectrum.

As always, news starts below the jump…

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Gearing up for the National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer (NDP)  is coming up in a few weeks – Thursday, May 7th to be exact.

There’s always some confusion around the NDP.  In a country with separation of church and state, why do we have a government-sanctioned day of prayer?  What is the Christian-oriented National Day of Prayer Task Force – is the government endorsing Christianity?  Is the government discriminating against atheists and agnostics?

Read through our brief FAQ for some answers.  And if you, your organization or your community wants to observe the day in an inclusive way, consider a few ground rules…

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Friday News Roundup:

istock_000003001750xsmallFirst off, a belated Happy Easter / Pesach to those who’ve been celebrating over the past weeks, and Happy Easter to all the Orthodox Christians whose holiday is still to come!

For those readers who are Christian – especially those who are both Christian and lovers of Lego – I offer this bit of levity before getting down to the nitty-gritty news:  Swedish Church Unveils Lego Jesus Statue for Easter.  (They did a really good job.)

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Dispatches from Istanbul

Our EVP reflects on the Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Turkey…

Istanbul is a very beautiful city, the visual coming together of the East and the West. After the official meetings of the Alliance were over, many of the participants took a boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait. On one side of the water is the East, with large Mosques and delicate minarets in full view. The other is the West, with architecture to match. The people of the city feel the full force of its centrality and the responsibility to be a bridge among civilizations and a healer across them. In the closing session, the Turkish representative spoke of this. He said that in Turkey they have an axiom: If your neighbor’s house is on fire, you must do something, or your house will also burn.

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What do Mortenson, Hussain and Holbrooke have in common?

Last month, Greg Mortenson was awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian award, the Sitara-e-Pakistan. An American who has built 78 schools along the tribal belt that separates Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mortenson has garnered international enthusiasm for his work through his memoir Three Cups of Tea.

The book takes its name from the Pakistani saying, “The first time you share tea…you are a stranger…the second time you take tea you are an honored guest [and] the third time you share a cup of tea, you become family.” Though it sometimes wanes into a too-familiar tone of American, rugged-individual heroism, Mortenson’s story is a powerful testimony to the importance of building relationships (in this case, to the end of building schools).

Another American has recently written a different kind of book about schools in Pakistan: Peacemaker Azhar Hussain and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy have just released Read the rest of this entry »