A Blessing to One Another co-creator James Buchanan, Ph.D. presented a lecture at the exhibit opening challenging guests to explore globalization and its role in interfaith dialogue.
The 2009 Harry S Truman Lecture Series was combined with the exhibit opening to provide guests a sneak speak of the exhibit, along with an insightful look into the current global crisis, the role of social capital, and how that affects interfaith relations.
The series, held at Union Station’s Extreme Screen Theatre, kicked off with a performance from the Avila University Singers followed by a presentation by Michael J. Devine, Director of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Devine discussed the connection between Truman and a timely and impactful venue like the Blessings exhibit. He noted Truman’s interfaith discussions among those in his National Guard unit, his protest of the concentration camps during WWII, and his recognition of the state of Israel.
Next, Buchanan presented “Responding to Globalization: The New Challenges for Interfaith Dialogue in the 21st Century.” Buchanan discussed the parallels of the trials faced by Truman and the trials faced by our president today: the latter days of an overseas war, the world’s struggling economy, aggressive civil rights movements and multiple crises throughout.
“We are at a crossroad in history, one marked by crisis,” Buchanan said. “We must remember that we are all in this together.”
Buchanan explained that we are in a period of globalization marked by four major distinctions. We have a global economic system with continuous highs and lows affecting one another. We are globalized on a cultural level seen in the way we dress, the food we eat, and our moral systems. We have global consciousness and are aware of one another, working together in ways such as interfaith dialogues, and now we have global convergence.
Buchanan emphasized that to combat our current social crisis, we should improve social capital by encouraging community over markets and technology. He emphasized the importance of fellowship, interfaith relations, cooperation and support of one another.
“My hope is that this exhibit will become a catalyst to inspire collaboration,” Buchanan said.
The exhibit, A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul and the Jewish People will be on display until March 27, 2009, at Union Station in the newly renovated Arthur Stilwell Room. For more information about the special events associated with the exhibit or to volunteer, go to www.avila.edu/blessing or call Avila University Public Relations Specialist Michelle Key at (816) 501-2434.
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.