May 13, 2009 - The Mann Center is participating in efforts to promote social justice and empowerment for women in Egypt. Director John Knapp was a speaker last month at the conference, 'Women, Leadership and Social Justice,' hosted in Cairo by Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak.
Dr. Knapp also was a member of a panel of leaders representing nine nations, moderated by the First Lady. The gathering concluded with a public event announcing the Cairo Declaration, a call for continued legal and social reforms on behalf of Egyptian women.
The conference was sponsored by Egypt's National Council for Women, founded nine years ago by Ms. Mubarak and responsible for a wide range of initiatives leading to economic, social, political, legal and cultural change. These include small-business development and job-training programs; a national ombudsman's office for women's concerns; new health-care services; adult literacy programs; a Women's Legal Rights Project; and increased numbers of women in the judiciary, the parliament, and the president's cabinet. The most populous country in the Middle East, Egypt is home to nearly 80 million people, 90 percent of whom are Muslims. With 20 percent of the country living below the poverty line, women and children bear a growing economic burden, especially in rural areas.
The Mann Center's involvement is part of its collaboration with Kennesaw State University's International Academy for Women's Leadership. Future activities are planned in the United States and Egypt.
May 13, 2009 - The current financial crisis may serve to "reawaken us to . . . some core ethical values: protection for the most vulnerable; balance of the economic opportunities for both lenders and borrowers; and justice and fairness that marks the borrower/lender relationship with truthfulness," said theologian D. Cameron Murchison in an April 29 lecture in Samford's Hodges Chapel. He argued that today's lending practices often conflict with biblical and theological understandings of moral responsibility. "Not only are the poor charged interest (against the earlier theological and ethical wisdom of the church), but they are also charged more interest than those who live in more favorable economic circumstances." He cited examples including subprime mortgages, payday loans, check-cashing fees, rent-to-own charges, and credit card scams.
Dr. Murchison is Professor and Dean of Faculty at Columbia Theological Seminary, a graduate school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). He was the principal writer of the denomination's policy document, 'A Reformed Understanding of Usury for the 21st Century'. His appearance at Samford, part of the Mann Center's A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership, was co-sponsored by Beeson Divinity School and Brock School of Business.