BEGINNINGS OF THE EICSP
The EICSP was founded in December 2007 to provide educational opportunities and an international forum for understanding, experiencing, and participating in the rich diversity of the world’s spiritual traditions.
The EICSP continues the spiritual work previously undertaken by the former Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities, EICWS, 2000-2008. See www.eicws.org for details of some of the past activities undertaken by the former EICWS.
The EICSP is an events-led Scottish charity, SC038996, that works with the world's spiritual traditions, both in Scotland and internationally, seeking understandings of the nature of spirituality, and of interspirituality and intraspirituality, in its diversity. The EICSP advances education of the public in Scotland, and elsewhere, concerning spirituality, culture and peace.
The activities of EICSP are educational in nature, ranging from international conferences, talks, dialogues, cultural and spiritual forums, retreats, workshops, spiritual practice events, deepening of spirituality events, open space events, networking and social gatherings, exhibitions and displays, book launches, education processes, school visits, visits to places of spiritual significance locally, training sessions, times for reflection, media engagements, hospitality events, service events, community and library hosted events, arts and cultural events - including film, theatre, music, dance and movement, storytelling, poetry, visual arts, photography, printmaking, calligraphy, crafts, among others, as well as participation in national and international events of a spiritual nature.
Particularly important in the work of the EICSP is the joint organisation of the annual Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, MESP, which has been held each year in Edinburgh since 2004. See www.mesp.org.uk
FORMS OF SPIRITUALITY
There is a great diversity of spiritual traditions, and even within one spiritual tradition there may be many forms of spirituality. Given the diversity of spiritualities, and the experiential richness of spiritualities, we have quite intentionally not provided one generic definition of spirituality, since we do not want this diversity and richness to be merely interpreted in terms of one generic definition.
Spiritual practices across the range of spiritual traditions can be experienced at EICSP events. In organising events, the EICSP aspires to include spiritual practices as integral to the process.
SPACE AND TIME AND PROCESS
A wide range of spiritual spaces will be experienced throughout the events of the EICSP, not merely physical spaces, but also including a wide range of spaces of spiritual practice. Supported by forms of spiritual practice, there is an emphasis on awakening and cultivating spiritual qualities, in the present, to direct experience.
Within many of the events of the EICSP we are invited to participate in a process of awakening and cultivating forms of spiritual practice, in order to gain an experiential view of the spiritual traditions that we discuss.
The EICSP positively affirms the diversity contained within the spiritual traditions of Scotland, as well as those internationally. The EICSP takes no fixed position on any political, ethical, or cultural question. We intend to create a forum in which we can listen to one another deeply, and learn with an open mind and heart.
Spiritual facilitation is particularly encouraged, awakening and cultivating spiritual qualities, supported by forms of spiritual practice.
CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY
The EICSP acknowledges the challenge and the opportunity for the spiritual practices to step out of their envelopes of comfort and interact with, and influence, the wider culture and society.
OFFER FROM US
An emphasis on spirituality, and interspirituality and intraspirituality, in all of the areas of our work.
Almost all inter-faith work today emphasizes talk and dialogue. While important, we need more to address many of the critical issues of contemporary culture and society. Spirituality, and interspirituality and intraspirituality, can offer many significant contributions where talk and dialogue have proven inadequate in addressing such critical issues.
SPIRITUALITY AND WIDER SOCIETY
Spirituality, and interspirituality and intraspirituality, have significant contributions to make to the critical issues in contemporary culture and society. These include peace, conflict, reconciliation and justice, education and learning, arts and culture, health, wellbeing and healing, equality, diversity and communities, environmental responsibility and climate change, science and medicine, the communication media, business and industry, Government, Parliament, NGOs and civic society, leadership and service.
Spirituality has a critical capacity to awaken qualities which are in critical demand, and to transform situations which are in critical distress. Spirituality can also help avoid such situations from arising. The discerning use of spirituality in such situations is of great interest to the EICSP in its work.
EXPLORING WORLD SPIRITUALITIES
There is increasing awareness of the potential contribution of the world’s spiritual traditions to wider society, and the need for dialogue, shared understanding, and cooperation between these traditions. Scotland has a distinctive role in meeting this global challenge.
In response to this challenge the EICSP has initiated a series of events which will illustrate the potential contribution of the world’s spiritual traditions to wider society and to the critical issues in contemporary culture and society.
The EICSP will also engage with secular forms of spirituality, and with critical issues arising in secular society.
ANNUAL EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
OF MIDDLE EASTERN SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE, MESP
In February and March of each year we hold this annual event in Edinburgh. The Festival was inaugurated in 2004. One of MESP’s overriding aims is to contribute to peace and mutual understanding through dialogue, spiritual and artistic practice, and improved mutual understanding among the spiritual, secular and cultural traditions that have arisen in what is now known as the Middle East, and more generally among those who have found a home in Scotland and the UK. Accordingly, the Festival seeks to engage a progressively wider and more diverse range of participants who have been active in spiritual, secular and artistic and cultural approaches to non-violent conflict resolution and world peace. No speaker represents, or can represent, the totality of any tradition, and indeed, experiential, evaluative and visionary perspectives are particularly welcome.
The Festival brings together at least three different kinds of presentations. First, we hope to learn from each other about our shared traditions, as well as those that form the unique voice of any one of us. Second, we will hear from those who have been active in peacemaking on a spiritual and secular basis on the ground in the Middle East. Third, we invite participants to share in the artistic, cultural and spiritual practice presented, in order to gain an experiential view of the traditions that we discuss.
VISITS TO SCOTLAND BY
The EICSP will continue to develop national-level visits to Scotland by globally important spiritual leaders. Please do get in contact if you would like to suggest such a visit, or if you would like to support such a visit. There is usually a strong education component to such visits.
EICSP PARTICIPATION IN INITIATIVES TO ATTRACT NATIONAL
AND INTERNATIONAL SPIRITUAL EVENTS TO SCOTLAND
Those involved in the EICSP, and through the former EICWS, were one of the lead organisations involved in a bid from Scotland to attract the Parliament of the World’s Religions Meeting to Scotland. Out of 14 locations who expressed an interest, and after an elaborate bidding process, the bid from Scotland was one of the two finalists with Barcelona. Both bids were evaluated as excellent, satisfying all of the bid requirements. Much was learned from this bid process, and many contacts were established.
Those involved in the EICSP co-hosted, with the International Association of Sufism and EIAL, the Sufism Symposium in Edinburgh in September 2006.
Other such opportunities will be considered in future.
EICSP PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL
AND INTERNATIONAL SPIRITUAL EVENTS
The EICSP has established good contacts with all of the principal spiritual traditions across Scotland, the UK, and with many of the key spiritual organisations globally, as well as with spiritual leaders who work on a global scale.
The former EICWS had representatives at the Millennium Peace Summit, August 28-31, 2000, at the United Nations, New York, at the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders, October 6-9, 2002, at the United Nations, Geneva, at the Parliament of the World’s Religions Meeting, 4-13 July 2004, in Barcelona, and at the 100 Imams and Rabbis for Peace Gathering, 3-6 January 2005, Brussels.
EICSP IN CONSULTATION
Those involved in the EICSP have participated in government, civic society, and international consultations, and we have a particular interest in the contribution of the world’s spiritual traditions to wider culture and society. These include peace, conflict, reconciliation and justice, education and learning, arts and culture, health, wellbeing and healing, equality, diversity and communities, environmental responsibility and climate change, science and medicine, the communication media, business and industry, Government, Parliament, NGOs and civic society, and leadership and service. The EICSP will welcome opportunities to be involved in such consultations and in their follow-up.
The EICSP is willing to be approached to participate in consultations and processes where the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the world’s spiritual traditions is positively valued and recognised.
EICSP WORKING IN COLLABORATION
The EICSP is willing to explore synergy and collaboration with individuals and organisations who share our aims and objectives. Please do get in contact if you would like to discuss a possible collaborative project with the EICSP.
PARTICIPATION IN THE EICSP
The EICSP is not a membership organisation, nor is it an representative organisation. A more flexible model is required for a facilitation and events-led organisation whose principal subject is world spiritualities. We would like to encourage individuals and organisations to get in contact if you would like to become actively involved in our work.
All of the events of the EICSP are intended for full public participation. We aspire to organise our events in an inclusive and accessible fashion for wide public benefit and participation.
SUGGESTING EVENTS TO THE EICSP
Should there be a subject area where you would like the EICSP to consider organising and hosting an event, then please do get in contact with your suggestion. All such suggestions will receive serious consideration, subject to funding opportunities.
SUPPORTING THE EICSP
The EICSP would welcome approaches from individuals, organisations and charitable trusts who may wish to consider supporting the work of the EICSP, either financially or in-kind. All such support would go towards the charitable work of the EICSP, which has a strong events-led focus.
COMMUNICATING ABOUT THE EICSP
Please share this information with anyone who you think may be interested to learn more about the work of the EICSP. We will be pleased to facilitate media opportunities at our public events. Press releases and photo shots at events are available on request.