Posted by Mary L. Wimberley on 2006-04-07

BIRMINGHAM---Four Arab Christians with long associations in the Middle East and two prominent Alabama Baptists will lead a daylong program,"Understanding the Middle East from the Inside Out," on Thursday, April 27.

The symposium, hosted by Samford University and The Alabama Baptist newspaper, will be 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham. The $10 per person registration fee includes lunch and materials. Samford students are invited free of charge. Convocation credit will be given.

The goal, according to organizers, is to create knowledge and understanding about Islam and Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle East. Church leaders and members of any faith group are invited to attend.

The primary speakers, three from Lebanon and one from Jordan, represent various aspects of professional and cultural life in the Middle East.

Dr. Martin Accad, academic dean and director, Middle East Studies, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon, will give an overview on understanding Islam and Muslim-Christian relations. He is a specialist in contemporary inter-faith dialogue, especially between Christianity and Islam.

Nabil K. Costa, executive director, Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (the Lebanese Baptist Society), will discuss his group's ministry in the Middle East. He is general secretary of the Association of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon, and Middle East representative to the European Baptist Federation.

Dr. Wadi D. Haddad, founding president of Knowledge Enterprise, an international education consulting firm, will discuss political dynamics in the Middle East. He is a former director and deputy secretary of the World Bank and a former national security and policy affairs advisor to the president of Lebanon.

Suha Shahin, principal, Baptist School of Amman, Jordan, will discuss the life of an Arab Christian in the Middle East. Principal of the school, which enrolls 1,200 students, since 2000, she is currently pursuing a master's degree in educational administration at Samford's Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies.

Dr. Bob Terry, editor, The Alabama Baptist; and Samford president Dr. Thomas E. Corts will lead a closing session.

Samford has in recent years established relationships in Morocco and Syria, and its education faculty members regularly lead workshops for teachers in Jordan and Lebanon.

For tickets and information, contact Dr. Ron Wilson at (205) 726-4200 or or call Cathy Stewart at (205) 726-2807.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.