=Race and Religion Panel (September 2023)

Upcoming Activities of the Macdonald Center 

June 2-3: 50th Anniversary of the Macdonald Center. On Sunday, June 2nd there will a anniversary dinner with reflections from former directors of the Center, including Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Dr. Jane Smith.

Monday, June 3 will include two keynote presentations followed by a panel discussions:

Keynote presentations by Dr. Ihsan Bagby, Retired Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and member of the North American Fiqh Council, and Dr. David Marshall, academic director for the Building Bridges Seminar

Panel discussions including HIU and visiting faculty, including: 

  • Ingrid Mattson (Huron at Western, Toronto), Martin Nguyen (Fairfield University), Aida Mansoor (HIU), Timur Yuskaev (HIU)
  • Maria Dakake (George Mason), Josiah Idowu-Fearon (Kaduna Centre), Lucinda Mosher (HIU), Mun'im Sirry (Notre Dame)

To register for the public event go here.

June 23-24: First International Ghadir Conference, "The Life, Times, and Works of Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad al-ʿĀmilī: An Early Modern Muslim Polymath," hosted by the Imam 'Ali Chair, Dr. Hossein Kamaly. This will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Greenwich.

The Ghadir Forum provides a venue for discussing state-of-the-field research in Islamic Studies. This is meant to serve as a leading forum, particularly in the field of Shi'a Studies—broadly conceived. The Ghadir Forum brings together scholars, researchers, students, and the interested public to engage books, research articles, and ideas in the field. A vast range of topics from textual studies to social and historical inquiries are included in the purview of this conference.

For further information go here.


October 15 - November 22, 2024 - 4th Interreligious art exhibition, "The Holy City." Artist Brian Whelan will exhibit his 9 x 12 piece in the HIU chapel. An opening reception and lecture will take place on Tuesday, 15 October at 7 pm EDT. “Although I have been to many holy cities around the world, these paintings do not depict any holy city that actually exists,” said Whelan of his work. “This is my aspirational vision of what a holy city looks like. Each of the canvases contain churches, mosques and synagogues, painted in bright playful and colorful forms. An abstracted, disarming image of cultural unity: living together in peace, acceptance, and in harmony: a haven for the soul. The buildings rest in each other’s shadow, supported and uplifted by the buttress of each other’s faith. In this holy city, hospitality would be offered to all.”

date TBD, 2025 – Scriptural Languages Symposium – This winter symposium invites select scholars and practitioners in the field of scriptural studies of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and the Qur’an to examine and explore various facets of how the sacred languages are understood, used, and interpreted.

Previous Events


April 3 -- 45 minute Webinar: The Marrow of Worship: Muslim and Christian Supplication Practices during Ramadan and LentDr. Lucinda Mosher and Dr. Hossein Kamaly reflect on Muslim and Christian devotional practices and literature characteristic of these two great seasons of fasting.

Teaser Image for February 20 Event

February 20 – 45 minute Webinar:  A discussion with Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, director of the Kaduna Center, on Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria. 








Illustration of different races and cultures

September 19 – Race, Religion, and Contested Identities: A Christian-Muslim Dialogue - A Conversation between Dr. Bilal Ansari, Professor Mona Siddiqui, Professor Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, and Imam Zaid Shakir. Moderated by David D. Grafton.




October 6 – Race, Religion, and Slavery: Religious justifications for enslavement in the trans-Atlantic and trans-Saharan world

A webinar in collaboration with the Lamin Sanneh Institute, Accra Ghana. Speakers will include Dr. John Azumah, Lamin Sanneh Institute, Dr. Benjamin Twagira, Williams College, and Dr. Bilal Ansari, HIU. The webinar will be moderated by Dr. David D. Grafton, HIU. 10 am EST

October 20 - Christians, Muslims, and Jesus - A Conversation about Jesus

Professor Mona Siddiqui and Professor David Grafton explore the relationship between Islam and Christianity, examining the ways in which the two faiths differ, and how they have entered into dialogue with each other. Join us for this thought-provoking program!

Held at First Church, West Hartford – 7 pm EST

Flyer describing event

October 24 - Abraham’s Gifts panel discussion

In partnership with the John P. Webster Library, the Macdonald center will host a panel discussion based on the artwork Abraham’s Gifts by artist Harvey Paris. There will be an opening of the exhibition followed by a panel discussion with the Rev. Jane Willan, Senior Pastor of First Church, West Hartford, the Rabbi Barbara Paris, and Prof. Hossein Kamaly, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at HIU – 6 – 8:30 pm EST

The exhibition was housed in the HIU chapel and as run from October 24 through November 18, 2022. 

March 16 - The Willem Bijlefeld Lecture - Dr. Anna Gade, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Associate Dean for Research & Education, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin. Author of Muslim Environmentalisms: Religious and Social Foundations.


Hagar as a Model of Faith: A Jewish and Muslim Perspective – October 28, 2021

Dr. Hossein Kamaly and Dr. Deena Grant presented on the role of Hagar from the Jewish and Muslim perspectives. This was moderated by Dr. David D. Grafton.

Abraham: Out of One, Many art exhibition

In partnership with the interfaith art organization, Caravan, and the Mandell Jewish Community Center, the Macdonald Center hosted the interfaith art exhibition “Abraham: Out of One, Many.” The exhibition ran from October 5 through November 16, 2021 at the JCC..

Peace Ambassadors’ dialogue program with “Hands Along the Nile” – 8 week program

Luce-Hartford Conference on Christian-Muslim Relations – June 7-8, 2021

 “Christian-Muslim Relations during the midst of the pandemics.”

Willem Bijlefeld Lecture – June 2, 2021 -- Professor Mona Siddiqui (HIU) - “Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives.” Prof. Siddiqui returned to HIU in October as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies.

Shi’I Chair Activities

“Presence of Christian Missionaries in 16th - 17th Century Persia” with Dr. Alberto Tiburcio - April 18, 2022

Memorial for our dear Professor Mahmoud Ayoub – November 12, 2021

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