p e r s p e c t i v e s .. interactive dialogue / discussion series

this is an open-forum interactive dialogue on various current issues as well as cultural, faith and historic topics

where you are invited to bring YOUR own perspective on the topic discussed, along

with guest speakers, panels, documentaries, open floor discussions
come and share your views .. we agree to disagree .. in a civil manner

moderated by Gehan Sabry
editor, publisher of Cross Cultures magazine

from 2004 – 2008 it was held at the Auditorium of Kitchener Public Library-Main Branch
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener. ON

now we meet at different locations over lunch or dinner


Monday September 20 2004 7 – 9 pm
ART of LIVING WELL : Yoga and Meditation

The aim of yoga is to train people to know themselves and live a healthier life with purpose and enthusiasm. Meditation helps focus the mind on whatever one is doing and direct one’s actions for best results. The combination of the physical and spiritual self-improvement enhances the ability to lead a more wholesome, enjoyable, stress-free life
Dr Rajendra and Shanta Dubey
Professor Dubey (Ph D in Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo) has studied Indian philosophy, yoga and meditation under his late Guru Swami Bawraji, and has read ancient texts and translated Sanskrit works into English

Monday October 18 2004 7 – 9 pm
ISLAM on Male / Female Relationships

Islamic teaching and recommendations will be discussed this evening regarding domestic relationships within marriage: between siblings and inheritance related issues and the responsibilities attached to them: relations with neighbours: gender relationships in the workplace: the Hijab and other matters.
Imam Alaa el Syed
Imam of Cambridge mosque-studied Islam in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Has represented Islam on Radio, TV, and in newspapers, He has given public lectures in schools, universities, churches, synagogues and was guest speaker at the 2004 Cross Cultures full day commemoration of the U.N. International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Sara Lawendy
did her undergraduate studies at University of Waterloo and Bachelor of Education at Brock University and is currently doing her Masters degree at the University of Western Ontario. As a volunteer she held several leadership roles including the Human Rights Commissioner of the UW Muslim Student Association, and heads the Education Anti-Racism Task Force of the Canadian Islamic Congress

Monday November 15 2004 7 – 9 pm

Mania Kay
Mania was born in Oswiecin (called Auschwitz by the Germans), Poland, in 1920. Immediately after the beginning of the second world war (September, 1939), she and her family, like all Polish Jews, were herded into a ghetto (a restricted area only for Jews) in Auschwitz. In 1940 they were moved to a larger ghetto in another town, called Sosnowiec. The living conditions in the ghetto were horrible, but at least she was still with her immediate family. Then, on August 3, 1943, she was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, which by this time was a fully functional extermination camp. Here she was separated from all family members, and became a slave labourer. On January 18, 1945, she and other prisoners were forced to undertake a march to another concentration camp, called Bergen Belsen. This forced march, in the middle of winter, by starving and ill prisoners, has been called The Death March by post-war historians. Mania was one of the very few prisoners to survive not only Auschwitz, but also the Death March. She was liberated in Bergen Belsen by the British on March 15, 1945. Mania is the sole survivor of her immediate and extended family. She came to Canada in October, 1948


Monday January 17 2005 7 – 9 pm

we will compare prophesies and discuss their meanings . . . then open the floor to dialogue with the audience

Jean Becker
a Metis from Labrador
Aboriginal Counsellor at St Pauls College at the University of Waterloo
Sparrrow Rose
is Ojibway from Mnjikaning First Nation
Equity / HR Consultant at Wilfrid Laurier University
In today’s society, the view is that life happened by accident on the surface of this planet, the role of science is to study nature objectively–as though from outside–The purpose of this science is to gain control over nature, to exploit it for human purposes by converting it to food production and the manufacture of goods to improve life. In the worldview shared by indigenous peoples everywhere, despite many differences in its formulation, the universe, nature, is alive and sacred, all beings in it are related and interdependent: the stars, the rocks, the waters, the winds, the creatures, the people, the spirits and so on. The human role within nature is to hold it sacred and to live in a balanced way within it

Monday April 18 2005 7 – 9 pm

Eric Chilingarian
Chair of the Armenian Genocide Committee of Guelph, member of the Armenian National Committee, he is also Director of Systems Approach Training, providing seminars on leadership training for educational and business organizations. Mr Chilingarian has held various positions including Professor of Economics, Sociology, Social Psychology, Chairman of Academic Division, Chairman of General Education Curriculum Development, Chairman of Faculty Development and is member of Conestoga College Board of Governors

Monday May 16 2005 7 – 9 pm

freedom of thought and expression should be guarded very dearly within a democracy, but so must the responsibility that goes with those precious liberties .. there is a very fine line between exercising your rights and treading over someone else’s. We must ALL feel safe, and all our human rights must be guarded within an atmosphere of respect and compassion

Monday June 20 2005 7 – 9 pm

Experiences of immigrant women, defining equality, shaping new identity, seeking opportunities and facing and overcoming challenges
Fartun Kanyare
Phyllis Peprah
both members of WWOW (World Wide Opportunities for Women)

Monday September 19 2005 7 – 9 pm
GENDER EQUITY and FEMINISM across the cultures and time
How Does Religion fit in Law Making? Same Sex Marriage, Abortion, etc

Harriet Lyons
Professor of Anthropology, University of Waterloo. Has recently published a book on the anthropology of sexuality with her husband, Andrew Lyons, the Chair of the Anthropology Department at Wilfrid Laurier University
The world’s many cultures have diverse ways of ordering and regulating marriage, sexuality and gender roles. These customs are usually among the most closely guarded traditions of any society, since they concern the most intimate aspects of people’s lives. Change and accommodation of others’ viewpoints are therefore particularly difficult in these matters, but they are far from impossible. A first step is to be aware of the wide variety of ‘traditional’ values that exist in Canadian society and the value for all of us in accepting, even welcoming difference
Barbara Pressman
an individual couple and family therapist in private practice for over 40 years
Women’s equality and what feminism means – How she became a feminist and how she discovered feminism at the age of 40

Monday October 24 2005 at 6:30 pm
this month’s . . . p e r s p e c t i v e s . . . is . . . D I F F E R E N T

a Special Cross Cultures celebration with the: Farsi, Hindi and Mandarin (Chinese) communities
KPL obtained funding to purchase children’s books in three languages so tonight we are marking the launch and the initiative and want you to come out and share and support this evening with everyone regardless of your heritage .. the next children’s department launch we celebrate may be your ‘other’ language, for your children and grandchildren ..

Monday November 21 2005 7 – 9 pm

covering the origins of the celebration of Christmas in Christian Egypt, a description of the liturgical celebration and the social aspects, and how they differ from the Western attitude towards Christmas
Father Athanasius Iskander
born Adel Iskander in Cairo Egypt. Graduated in Medicine from University of Ain Shams, practiced medicine in Egypt, (3 years) in Tanzania, East Africa (one year) and in Canada, Guelph and Hamilton, Ontario (13 years). Ordained “Athanasius, a priest for the orthodox altar of the Christ-loving city of Mississauga, Canada,” March 27, 1981 and served as the first priest for the Coptic church of Virgin Mary and Saint Athanasius in Mississauga, Ontario for nine years, then served as a priest for Saint Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, in Kitchener, Ontario, September from 1989-present. While serving in Kitchener, he helped in establishing 4 “satellite churches” in small communities, in Halifax NS, London, ON, St, Johns NF and Guelph, ON. Married since 1970 to Odette Iskander P Eng, Ma Eng, co-ordinator of the department of Mechanical and Architectural Engineering, Sheridan College, Brampton, ON. Has two children both married, no grand-children yet, Frederick Mark Iskander, P Eng and Michelle Elizabeth Gull, CA


Monday January 16 2006 7 – 9 pm
Issues of authority dealt with in terms of inclusion, exclusion etc

Doris Jakobsh
Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Waterloo
Doris’s area of specialization is Gender in Sikh studies, but teaches a variety of courses, particularly on Women in World Religions, Eastern Religions and Religion in North America
Doris has a Joint Honours BA Social Development / Religious Studies degree from University of Waterloo; Master of Theology Studies from Harvard University and PhD from University of British Columbia

Monday February 20 2006 7 – 9 pm
A POSITIVE VISION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE . . . amplifying the voices of marginalized youth

* An examination of the serious gaps in leadership opportunities available for marginalized youth
* Strategies to move them from passive engagement to empowerment
* More meaningful participation of youth in the decision-making process in their communities

Edwin W D Laryea
originally from Ghana, West Africa, was educated at McMaster University, and University of Toronto with B A, B Ed, M A degrees in French and Spanish Worked extensively with Youth As a teacher, mentor, counsellor, trainer, advisor, youth advocate, member and Chair of several committees
Chair, Waterloo Region Youth Action Committee
Member, Advisory Committee, WAYVE (Working against Youth Violence Everywhere)
Former Chair, Caribbean Canadian Youth Committee
Former Vice-Principal of three Area High Schools
Youth Leadership Trainer
Mentor / Advisor to Multicultural Youth and Parents
Community Advocate, Politician and Workshop Leader

Tuesday (not Monday) April 18 2006 7 – 9 pm
REFLECTIONS ON JUDAS . . . Betrayer or Friend of Jesus?

William Klassen
Professor Emeritus
the book was originally published in 1996 and a new edition appeared last year
Was Judas really a traitor? Or was he a faithful disciple fulfilling his mission?
Judas: Betrayer or Friend of Jesus? shows that many popular (and scholarly) conceptions about Judas have little basis in fact. Many Bible translations have knowingly mistranslated the Greek, paradidomi (“hand over”) with “betray,” but this meaning is found nowhere else in Greek literature. Perhaps Judas thought his “handing over” of Jesus to the authorities was according to Jesus’ wishes and would bring in the kingdom.
Professor Klassen will also show part of the National Geographic Documentary and wants us to “have fun” reflecting!

Monday May 15 2006 7 – 9 pm
A MUSLIM WOMAN . . . oppressed by her faith or a victim of prejudice ?
A presentation on who the Muslim women are and what they believe in

Idrisa Pundit
a wife and mother of two children. Idrisa moved to Waterloo last fall from Bethesda, Maryland, USA, she received her B A in humanities, M A in English Literature from University of Kashmir, her pre-doctoral degree in information science from the Council of Scientific Industrial Research, New Delhi, and she completed her doctoral and post-doctoral studies in Library Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an educator and library professional and has a deep interest in comparative religion and has taught courses on Islam and monotheism and has worked with various inter-faith groups for the last sixteen years in the U S and hopes to be an active member of this community. Accompanying her is Zainab Ramahi (grade 7 student) presenting her own project on power point, as well as three other group projects by grade 7 students, each presenting a 90second DVD, originally produced as entries into a contest on stopping racism – each group will speak of the learning experience in dealing with racism
then we will open the floor for dialogue / discussion and exchange of ideas

Monday June 19 2006 7 – 9 pm
As a season finale
here’s what we will do:
invite YOU
bring YOUR perspective
on the topic of your choice
and then
we will open the floor for ALL to dialogue, discuss and exchange ideas
and see where that takes us !!
if the consensus is that it requires more time and we want a speaker or panel to expand on it and a presentation on that topic will be arranged for the FALL

Monday September 18 2006 7 – 9 pm

Barry Shainbaum
Barry is a professional photographer, speaker, radio talk show host and author of “Hope & Heroes: Portraits of Integrity & Inspiration”. Barry survived bipolar disorder, the judicial and boarding house system, yet after years of medication, psychotherapy, self-education, spiritual exploration, and embracing the growth that came from suffering, he was able to turn his life around and walk away from the debilitating illness. Barry will share with you stories from his life journey, and spiritual insights that he learned. He has been off medication for 17 years and he is considered cured of an illness many thought incurable. He has been featured by several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Fox TV – New York City, Canada AM, Breakfast Television and Court TV. While the majority of the guests on his weekly “Sunday Morning with Barry Shainbaum” are Jewish, the topics covered are: spirituality, religion, Judaism, mental health, the environment, ethics, creativity, entrepreneurship and the arts

Monday October 16 2006 7 – 9 pm

What does Pope Benedict’s choice of quote – that of some ancient emperor – about the prophet Mohammed tell us about that Pope, and was that quote worthy of the position of a learned Pope in general
Hesham Sabry
Hesham is of Muslim background and was born and raised in Egypt. He is very well versed in both Muslim and Western cultures (besides North America, he has for years lived in, worked in, or visited most every European country). He has been writing and addressing the topic of Islam and Muslims in the west for well over a decade. Besides his regular column in the Cross Cultures magazine, he is published in several other magazines. His views also appear periodically in the Kitchener Record’s Second Opinion column and other newspapers. He holds as widely differing academic degrees as mechanical engineering, and psychology and anthropology. His views are invariably recognised as uniquely insightful
a modest tray of finger food is available for Muslim brothers and sisters needing to break their fast

Monday November 20 2006 7 – 9 pm
WHAT NEXT ??? after the Maher Arar Case

Faisal Joseph
partner-Lerners law firm, and president of the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario
speaking on the negative stereotypes and racial profiling in the Muslim community post 911 and the impacts of the recommendations of O’Connor from the Arar inquiry
* Muslim Londoners get unfair scrutiny at airports and the U S border
* The anti-terrorism legislation
* The discrimination Muslim Londoners are facing
* How people are coping
“People are getting taken out of the line-ups and being held up at the border for long periods of time because of who they are and what they look like” ~ Mary Williamson, executive director, London Cross Cultural Learner Centre

2007 . . . in its fourth season

Monday February 19 2007 7 – 9 pm
two wonderful, eloquent, highly educated ladies will tell us about
B E I N G   A F R I C A N   in   C A N A D A
positive and other experiences

April 16 2007 7 – 9 pm

“We cannot make peace with the planet unless we make peace with ourselves. This is the eternal teaching of all great religions, spiritual traditions and enlightened teachers. Satyam and Freedom Malhotra provide a way to make such peace in today’s world. I congratulate them for their work”
– Satish Kumar, Editor of Resurgence Magazine and Founder of Schumacher College
Satyam and Freedom Malhotra are co-authors of Born on the Mountaintop – Reclaim your Life & Unleash your Spirit. They are also co-founders of Me Magic, an organization dedicated to empowering people to break free from the chains of their minds and hearts. Combining their experience in health care and business, they show how it is possible to reclaim freedom in our personal and professional lives

Monday May 28 2007 7 – 9 pm
BEING PROGRESSIVE and modernizing one’s religion

we will debate whether:
* there is a relationship between those two issues
* whether it is necessary to make changes
* whether it should suffice that one understands fully one’s faith as it is
Farzana Hassan Shahid
president: Muslim Canadian Congress
author : Islam, Women and the Challenges of Today
Yosil Rosenzweig
Rabbi – Beth Jacob Synagogue
Scott Kline
director, Beyond Borders Program
director, Centre for Catholic Experience
St Jerome’s – University of Waterloo
Doris Jakobsh
Assistant Professor – Religious Studies
University of Waterloo
Syed Anwar
Ahmadeya Muslim
Social Services Consultant-Cambridge

Monday June 18 2007 6 pm
come and show the African Canadians that this community CARES to help alleviate the pain and start the healing
we will
* show how hate affects people’s behaviour
* address the gravity of hate motivated crimes and their impact on the community
* discuss how specific communities approach their healing process
* invite the larger community to contribute to the healing by encouraging them to learn about their fellow humans

Richard Miller
Richard was called to the bar in July 2005 after attending law school at the University of Windsor, he is former Counsel to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and is currently the Policy Research lawyer at the African Canadian Legal Clinic. Richard will be speaking about the systemic nature of hate and anti-black racism, and will also be discussing opportunities for capacity building to combat hate and racism
Joseph Madak Wuol
Joseph is a refugee immigrant from Sudan, forced migration due to war, and resettled to Canada in December of 2002 and is now a citizen of Canada. Joseph has over 4 years experience in community organization having worked with the KWYMCA Cross Cultural and Community Services, the Multicultural Association of Kitchener Waterloo, Bureau of Interpretation with the Ministry of Attorney General, University of Toronto department of Mental Health & Addiction, the Canada Sudanese Charitable Organization and is a volunteer of the New Sudan Foundation, as well as over 10 years experience in Intercultural Human Service Sector with UNDP/UNICEF, UNHCR, World Vision and worked with Sudan Ministry of Agriculture for 3 years as director of Human Resources. Joseph is fluent in English, Arabic, Kiswahili, Sudanese Arabic and Nuer

Monday September 24 2007 6 – 9 pm
VITAL VOICES . . . three progressive faiths in dialogue

Raheel Raza
president, Forum for Learning
Ted Schmidt
editor, The Catholic New Times
author of: SHABBES GOY – a Catholic Boyhood on a Jewish Street in a Protestant City
Rabbi Jordan D Cohen
Senior Rabbi, Temple Anshe Sholom
founder and director of: The Orchard
HALAL refreshments ill be available for IFTAR

Thursday October 18 2007 6 – 9 pm
a documentary produced by Azam Fouq el Aadeh

Thursday November 15 2007 6 – 9 pm
IMAGES   of   FAITH: Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Art

panel discussion and slide presentation
Four visual artists of different religious and cultural backgrounds present their work and discuss how their art relates to ideas of faith and spirituality:
*Soheila Esfahani
Esfahani’s work incorporates traditional Persian script within a modern composition. While the essence of calligraphy predominates and reveals an eastern origin in her work, forms, lines, and texture attest to a western abstract influence. In her paintings, the mystical concepts of transformation, spirituality, and alchemy manifest through the meaning of poems by Persian poet, Rumi
* Paul Roorda
Linking most of Roorda’s works is a sense of ambivalence about the traditions of the Christian church. Using natural materials and found objects in his art, his repetitive process explores the role of ritual in contemporary society. Much of his work is a deconstruction, re-illustration and transformation of the Bible
* Rochelle Rubinstein
Rubinstein is a Toronto-based artist exploring themes of repression, displacement, ritual, desire, and tribal and familial relations. Her recent work is a gentle assault on religious fundamentalism. While appreciating the ritual aspects and physical beauty within various historical religious texts and images, Rubinstein also challenges their dogma and rigidity
* Akira Yoshikawa
The aesthetic and cultural practice that relate to Yoshikawa’s work were derived from his interest in Eastern philosophy. In much of his art he concentrates on its soft meditative expression of compassion, serenity and spirituality. Induced to meditate, the viewer is confronted to analyze and think about the complicated surroundings through very simple everyday images


Thursday January 17 2008 6 – 9 pm
RAISING CHILDREN . . . between two cultures
immigrants and even second generation Canadians still face a dilemma in dealing with their children, and as if being a teenager is not hard enough already, some of those youngsters need to reconcile the peer pressure – their eagerness to fit in and be accepted – with meeting the demands of their parents who appear to them to be from a different planet

Saadiya Gassim
founder and president of the African Women Alliance and the local chapter of World Wide Opportunities for Women and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women
Fauzia Mazhar
president of Pakistan Canada Association, program coordinator of House of Friendship at Mowat Chandler Community Centre, who also worked and lived in Bahrain for 15 years
Hesham Sabry
BA Hon Psychology / Anthropology from University of Waterloo, and previously BSc Mechanical Engineering. Hesham is a public speaker, published writer and regular contributor to Cross Cultures magazine and co-host of the radio program Islam Faith and Cultures on Faith FM 94.3

Thursday February 21 2008 6 – 9 pm
“Seeking Salvation – History of the Black Church in Canada”

Carol B Duncan
Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion and Culture – Wilfrid Laurier University,
and is co-author of
* Black Religious Studies: An Introduction
and author of
* This Spot of Ground : Spiritual Baptists in Toronto

Thursday June 19 2008 6 – 9 pm
and increased newcomer civic engagement as an antidote to our flawed democracy

Edwin Laryea
president – Communication First
Edwin is a long time resident of Kitchener Waterloo and a former lecturer at University of Toronto, Department Head of Languages at Bluevale Collegiate, former Vice Principal and Assistant Supervisor of International Languages for the Waterloo Region District School Board. His area of expertise is social inclusion, capacity building, anti-racism and democratic citizenship

Thursday September 25 2008 6 – 9 pm

Gerlinde Sattler
retired high school teacher
All spiritual traditions embrace the concept to “Seek the Eternal”, the eternal that is found within. In Sikhism the seeker of Truth hears, “Why wilt thou go into the jungles? What do you hope to find there? Even as the scent dwells within the flower, so God within thine own heart ever abides. Seek Him with earnestness and find Him there”. Hinduism states, “God bides hidden in the hearts of all.” and Christianity offers, “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you”

Thursday October 23 2008 6 – 9 pm
what does Islam say about protecting the environment
in light of the release of the latest United Nations report on climate change last year stating that humans are ‘very likely’ causing global warming, environmental problems trumps the list of the most important issues facing Canadians. As a result, governments, industries and several youth and community groups have launched initiatives aiming at raising awareness of these pressing issues and proposing changes in peoples’ life styles towards more environmentally friendly practices. Among community groups are faith-based organizations, who have been working with religious leaders and congregations to establish connections between religious teachings and care for the environment

Hind al Abadleh
Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department, Wilfrid Laurier University

Thursday November 27 2008 7 – 9 pm

presented by
The Waterloo Region Holocaust Education Committee (in memory of Lili Pasternak and Barbara Sivak)
In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300.000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured and murdered – a death exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written the definitive history of this horrifying episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers, that of the Chinese and that of a group of westerners who refused to abandon the city and created a safety zone which saved many Chinese. It also tells of the concerted effort during the Cold War on the part of the West and even China to stifle open discussion of this atrocity. Iris Chang, single handedly, brought light to this ‘forgotten holocaust of World War II’. The film “Iris Chang” is a docu-drama which tells the story of Iris Chang’s struggle to expose this part of history and reveals what the power of one person can accomplish. “The Rape of Nanking” will be available for purchase


Thursday January 22 2009 6 – 9 pm
GAZA – PALESTINE and the relationship with Israel
60 years of unrest
60 years of civilian suffering
In light of the latest developments – what can we as Canadians do to restore tranquility, promote dialogue and understanding even move the situation towards attaining peace in that very troubled region of the Middle East