Roland Huguenin, former promotion director of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Middle East, will discuss “Islam and the West: Differences in Political Allegiances and Religious Identities” in a 7 p.m. lecture Tuesday, Nov. 27, in 3M Auditorium, Owens Science Hall, at the University of St. Thomas.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

A Swiss national with degrees in biblical studies, Arabic literature and Islamic history, Huguenin worked 14 years for the ICRC in various cities of the Middle East, including Beirut, Baghdad, Teheran, Amman and Jerusalem. He eventually settled in Cairo where he founded the committee’s first regional office for the promotion of international humanitarian law.

Under his direction, the ICRC office produced radio programs and video documentaries to raise awareness of the victims of armed conflict in the Middle East. The office also produced publications to explain how some principles of international humanitarian law trace their roots both to Arab thinkers in the early centuries of Islam and to Western philosophers of the Enlightenment.

As a founding director of the nonprofit organization, A Second Look, he now is working to dispel misconceptions of the Arab Middle East. In his talk he will examine how two religions, which fundamentally agree on monotheism and other beliefs, have developed along antagonistic lines for most of their common history, and in what sense religious ideology is relevant to the dilemma posed by terrorism.

Sponsors of the talk are the Center for Faculty Development and departments of Theology, Political Science and Student Leadership, all at St. Thomas, and the Middle Eastern Studies Committee of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities.

For more information call the Center for Faculty Development at (651) 962-6020.

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