Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace

The 5th annual Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace is set to take place from the 1st to the 11th of March 2008. All of Scotland’s primary faiths have been invited to take part in the festival, which will focus on spiritual, educational, cultural and artistic expressions of international peace and understanding. The festival is a joint venture by the Edinburgh International Center for Spirituality and Peace (EICSP) and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (EIAL), supported by numerous other organizations.

The festival features lectures, performances and workshops by well-known peacemakers, artists, scholars, poets, musicians and religious figures from Africa, the Middle East, the United States and the United Kingdom. The 2008 event will focus on five main lines of thought, being spirituality and relations between faith and spiritual traditions; development of education; arts and culture; embracing the diversity of Scotland; and celebrating Scotland in international terms. At the festival participants can expect to learn from one another, gain first-hand knowledge of peacemaking on a spiritual basis from those who are actively involved in Middle East issues and share in the musical and devotional spiritual aspects of all traditions presented.

The organizers of the festival aim to progressively extend their range to include an even more diverse group of spiritually-minded people who are working toward world peace by engaging in non-violent conflict resolutions. During the festival many opinions are put forward, but no speaker can be seen to represent the totality of any tradition or religion. Likewise, the festival organizers or sponsors are not identified with the opinions of any of the speakers. The objective is to create a platform for peace-loving individuals to be heard, without censorship or restrictions being put upon them by any religious group or organization. Participants and audiences are asked to listen with an open mind to the opinions of others, and to learn from each other.

Past festivals have allowed many to overcome pre-conceived notions of groups different from their own. Face-to-face encounters between people who embrace different spiritual beliefs have served to break down prejudices and build on common ground. The organizers of the Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace are confident that the 2008 event will be even more successful than ever before.