1. How did the EICSP begin?
 
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.
 
 
2. What is the aim of the EICSP?
 
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.
 
 
3. How does the EICSP achieve its aims and objectives?
 
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 
 
 
4. What approach does the EICSP take to the subject of spirituality?
 
The EICSP does not approach the subject of spirituality from a single definition of spirituality.
 
The EICSP recognises a great diversity of spiritual traditions, practices and beliefs, and we aspire to show equal respect to all spiritual traditions, practices, and beliefs.
 
Thus, the EICSP develops educational and practical opportunities to experience the spiritual traditions, practices and beliefs directly, supported by recognised spiritual teachers within these spiritual traditions, through sharing experiences and insights of practitioners of these spiritual traditions, and through the insights and teachings of recognised scholars of these spiritual traditions. This can lead to tentative definitions of a form of spirituality, among the rich diversity of spiritualities.
 
The EICSP is interested in both religious and non-religious forms of spirituality, as well as forms of spirituality associated with themes such 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, among others.
 
The EICSP is also interested in secular forms of spirituality. Indeed, the EICSP recognises that many people today have a spiritual practice independent of any religious faith belief, and we are particularly interested in practical and supportive forms of spiritual, artistic and cultural practice independent of any religious faith belief.
 
The EICSP is particularly interested in the emergence of interspirituality and intraspirituality, and in our work we create many opportunities to experience and reflect upon these increasingly important forms of spiritual practice.
 
 
5. What relation is there between the EICSP and traditional inter-faith work?
 
The EICSP is generally supportive of traditional inter-faith work. However, the emphasis of the EICSP is very much on the subject of spirituality, and interspirituality and intraspirituality, in all of its rich variety, including the rich experience of practical spiritual practice.
 
The EICSP is particularly concerned to celebrate the rich diversity of spiritualities in all of its forms, for the widest public benefit.
 
 
6. Is the EICSP a representative faith organisation? 
 
No.
 
 
7. Is the EICSP a membership organisation?
 
No.
 
 
8. Briefly, what is the ethos of the EICSP?
 
The EICSP positively affirms the diversity contained within the spiritual and cultural 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. See the EICSP Equal Opportunities policy and the EICSP Volunteer Policy.
 
 
9. How does the EICSP work with principles of facilitation?
 
The EICSP is more concerned to work according to principles of facilitation rather than creating representative, faith, membership, or organisational structures.
 
As a result, we are able to facilitate exceptional levels of diversity in our work, and participants are able to share from their own unique individual experiences and perspectives, and this is particularly important during workshops.
 
 
10. What challenge and opportunity does the EICSP see in this kind of work?
 
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.
 
 
11. What does the EICSP offer in response to such a challenge and opportunity?
 
An emphasis on spirituality, and interspirituality and intraspirituality, in all of the areas of our work.
 
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.
 
 
12. How does the EICSP explore 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.
 
 
13. What does the EICSP offer by way of critique?
 
Almost all inter-faith work today emphasizes talk and dialogue, and it is usually based upon a representative model of religious faith community members. 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, dialogue and representative models have proven inadequate in addressing such critical issues of contemporary culture and society.
 
Also, the EICSP draws heavily upon spiritual, artistic and cultural practice in order to gain an experiential view of the spiritual traditions that we discuss.
 
Also, the EICSP wants to engage with everyone in society who has an interest in spirituality, and in interspirituality and intraspirituality, and not just people of religious faith. We positively value the spiritual identities of everyone, and not just those of religious faith.
 
Also, the EICSP wants to celebrate diversity within spiritual traditions, as well as across spiritual traditions, and the representative model is quite simply not capable of reflecting the scale of spiritual diversity that we aspire to work with and facilitate. 
 
 
14. What kinds of identities do people use to participate in the events of the EICSP?
 
Some participants identify themselves as having a spiritual identity linked to a specific religious faith.
 
Some participants identify themselves as having an inter-spiritual spiritual identity, drawing upon more than one spiritual tradition for inspiration.
 
Some participants identify themselves as having a spiritual identity based upon a spiritual practice outwith any faith or religious framework of belief.
 
Some participants identify themselves as having a secular identity, and some identify with a secular spiritual identity.
 
The EICSP welcomes a diverse range of modes of participation in an attempt to reflect and celebrate individual insights and experiences, to allow for hidden or marginalised voices, and to celebrate diversity and difference. We also seek to establish common ground where it exists.
 
Some participate in the EICSP at an educational level rather than from a faith or spiritual perspective. Some participate as scholars, academics, educators, students, education officers, lifelong learning students, or as interested members of the general public.
 
Some participate through artistic and cultural forms of expression, and there is a wide spectrum of artistic and cultural forms of expression in the events of the EICSP, including film, theatre, music, dance and movement, storytelling, poetry, visual arts, photography, printmaking, calligraphy, crafts, among others.
 
More generally, the EICSP explores a wide range of different access routes into events so that people can participate on the basis of a wide range of spiritual and non-spiritual identities.
 
There is also a wide range of nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures included among participants in the events of the EICSP.
 
 
15. Can you briefly summarise the work of the EICSP associated with the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, MESP?
 
In February and March of each year we hold this annual event in Edinburgh. MESP was inaugurated in 2004, following a visit of Jewish and Muslim Peacemakers on 20 March 2003, and was jointly founded by, and is jointly directed by, Neill Walker and Neil Douglas-Klotz.
 
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.
 
 
16. In what ways does the EICSP work with globally important spiritual leaders?
 
The EICSP will continue to develop national-level visits to Scotland by globally important spiritual leaders. There is usually a strong education component to such visits.
 
 
17. How can I become involved in the work and events of the EICSP?
 
Everyone with an interest in spirituality, and in interspirituality and intraspirituality, is welcome to participate in our many spiritual events, while respecting certain basic practical guidelines. See the EICSP Equal Opportunities policy and the EICSP Volunteer Policy.
 
Please get in contact with us through the contact on this website to find out more about becoming involved in the work and events of the EICSP.
 
 
18. How can I support the work of the EICSP?
 
Please get in contact with us through the contact on this website to find out more about supporting the work of the EICSP. As a Scottish charity, SC038996, the EICSP welcomes donations and in-kind support.
 
 
19. How can I propose events that the EICSP might organise and host? 
 
Please get in contact with us through the contact on this website to find out more about proposing an event for the EICSP to organise and host.
 
 
20. How can I propose partnership with the EICSP? 
 
The EICSP is interested to explore partnerships which create new opportunities for quality and innovative spiritual work. Please get in contact with us through the contact on this website to find out more about proposing a partnership with the EICSP.
 
 
21. How can I find out about EICSP events? 
 
Please join the EICSP email list, and you will receive regular invitations to our events.
 
 
22. What have been some of the significant contributions of the EICSP (and the former EICWS)?
 
Organisation of an ongoing conference series on the world’s spiritual traditions, including conferences on Baha’i Spirituality, Hindu Spirituality, Sikh Spirituality, two Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace conferences, Spirituality of the Heart, Sufi Spirituality, the Arts and Spirituality, Celtic Spirituality, Spirituality and Community, Shamanic Spirituality, Spirituality and the Sacredness of the Divine Feminine, a second Hindu Spirituality conference, Happiness, Health and Wellbeing, Rabindranath Tagore, Simone Weil, Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda, Divine Feminine in Scotland, Spirituality, Ecology and Consciousness, Spirituality, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Neil M. Gunn, Spirituality and Community, Thomas Merton's Engaged Spirituality, Sri Chinmoy - Ancient Wisdom for the Here and Now: A Celebration, Spiritualities and Dreams, The Poet, Nation and Narration, Spiritualities and Prisons, Hannah Arendt: Amor Mundi, among others.
 
Joint organisation of the Annual Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, from 2004 to the present.

Organised the annual Middle Eastern Film Festival, and following on from the retrospective on Iranian cinema in 2009, Egyptian cinema in 2010, Turkish cinema in 2011, Kurdish cinema in 2012, Palestinian and Israeli cinema in 2013, and Postcolonial Struggles: Cinema from the Maghreb in 2014.

Organised the Middle Eastern Film Festival on Tour in 2010 and in 2012 to small communities and film clubs across Scotland.

Organised the Dalai Lama Renaissance Scottish Screening Film Tour, to cinemas in Stirling-Dumfries-Findhorn-Bo'ness-Glasgow-Inverness-Edinburgh-Dundee, and with Q & A with Producer-Director Khashyar Darvich.
 
Joint organisation of visits to Scotland by a wide range of Middle Eastern peacemakers.

Joint organisation of the annual Mindful Peace Walk at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

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.
 
Co-hosted, with the International Association of Sufism, IAS, and EIAL, the Sufism Symposium in Edinburgh in September 2006.

Organised, and Co-hosted with the International Association of Sufism, IAS, and the Sufi Ruhaniat Edinburgh and UK communities, the World Sufism Symposium Edinburgh 2011.
 
Joint participation in the planning of visits to Scotland of globally important spiritual leaders, and speakers, including the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, His Excellency Sayedna/Sayidna/Archbishop Dr. Elias Chacour, the current Sayedna/Sayidna/Bishop of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and All of Galilee and the President of Mar Elias Educational Institutions, His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Prof Tariq Ramadan, Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh Ji, Jean Vanier, Chief Rabbi David Rosen, Sister Joan Chittister, Her Holiness Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi, Samani Prasanna Pragya, Mother Meera, His Holiness Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, founder of the System Yoga in Daily Life, Sri Swami Nirliptananda Maharaj, founder of the London Sevashram Sanga, Sri Swami Amarananda of the Geneva Ramakrishna Order, Sister Jayanti of the Mount Abu Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Prof Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Fr Laurence Freeman, Prajnaparamita, Rishi Nitya Pragya, Pir Shabda Kahn, Satish Kumar, Prof Paul Rogers, Neil Douglas-Klotz, Sarida Brown, Dr Lesley Orr, Gerry Hassan, Polly Higgins, Prof Oliver Ramsbotham, John Rogers, Dr George R Wilkes, Alastair McIntosh, His Eminence Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche, Scilla Elworthy, Aisha Salem, Dharmavidya David Brazier, Matthew Fox, Arun Gandhi, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow‏, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Murshida Tasnim Fernandez, among many others. 

Organisation of visits to Scotland by artists, including Krishna Das, Ty Burhoe, Arjun Bruggeman, Latif Bolat, Davod Azad, Yair Dalal, Avi Agababa, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Chloe Goodchild, Beth Bahia Cohen, Abdullah Chhadeh, Naghmeh Musical Ensemble, Adel Salameh and Naziha Azzouz, Nadhum Ali, Razia Sultanova, Lucineh Hovanissian, Hanna Yaffe, Tirtza Singer, Tina Malia, Sasha "butterfly" Rose, Zipang, Tara Jaff, Mohamed Nafee Mohammed, Rob MacKillop, Peter Vallance, and Khidmatul Khadim, the International Sufi School, David Newman (Durga Das) and Mira, Alva, Rabbi Shefa Gold, Jayadeva, Agnidev and Jahnavi Harrison, among others. 

Organisation of the One World Peace Concert series.

Organisation of the Tour of the Buddha's Relics to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Co-organisation of the tri-annual 8-Hour Kirtan event in Edinburgh, of the annual 8-Hour Kirtan event in Glasgow, of the Edinburgh Hogmanay Kirtan, and of visits of leading kirtan singers and teachers to Scotland.

Organisation of a year-long series of events on the Arts and Spirituality: Connecting to the Source.
 
Organisation of a very wide range of experiential workshops and retreats on a very wide range of themes.
 
Pioneering in the development of talk/forum events on a very wide range of issues in culture and society.
 
Organisation of a very wide range of events linking spirituality, and interspirituality and intraspirituality, to a wide range of issues in culture and society.
 
Creating opportunities for people from Scotland to attend and participate in important international spiritual and inter-spiritual events abroad. The EICSP (through 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, and 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.
 
Supporting the development of the St John’s Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

Supporting the Allanton World Peace Festivals.

Supporting the development of the Edinburgh Iranian Festival.

Supporting the development of Reel Festivals.

Supporting some spiritual teachers and facilitators to develop their activities in Scotland.


23. What have been some of the significant contributions of the Middle East Festival (MESP)?

Middle East Festival Highlights, 2003-2016

 

MESP 2016

11/2 7pm Evening with Prof Paul Rogers Talk Augustine Church
27/2 10am Spiritual Dance and Movement Workshop Augustine Church
28/2 3.30pm Celebrating Your Story Workshop Augustine Church
28/2 6.30pm Making Sense, Letting Go and Moving On Workshop Augustine Church
5/3 10am Re-storying Our Relationship to the Natural World Workshop Augustine Church
5/3 5pm An Evening with the Labyrinth Workshop Augustine Church
6/3 3.30pm A Sufi Perspective on Healing Workshop Augustine Church
12/3 10am Universal Heart Song Workshop Augustine Church
12/3 6.30pm Kirtan: Chant for Peace Kirtan Augustine Church
13/3 9.30am Mindful Peace Walk Walking Meditation The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
13/3 3.30pm Wisdom of Yeshua Workshop Augustine Church
17/3 6pm Invitation to the Cosmic Dance - Biodanza Workshop Augustine Church
19/3 10am Desert Fathers and Mothers Workshop Augustine Church
19/3 6pm What Kind of God, What Kind of Healing? Workshop Augustine Church
20/3 3.30pm The Art of Storytelling Workshop Augustine Church
20/3 6.30pm Eye Connection Soul Reflection Workshop Augustine Church

 

MESP 2015

7/3 10am Wellbeing and Resilience Workshop Augustine Church
8/3 3.30pm  Celebrating Your Story Workshop Augustine Church
8/3 6.30pm  In Connection - Share, Connect, Create Workshop Augustine Church
14/3 10am A Sufi Perspective on Loving One’s Enemies Workshop Augustine Church
14/3 6.30pm Kirtan: Chant for Peace Kirtan Augustine Church
15/3 9.30am  Mindful Peace Walk Walking Meditation The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
15/3 3.30pm Peace Policy for the Middle East Workshop Augustine Church
21/3 10am Spiritual Dance and Movement Workshop Augustine Church
21/3 6pm Invitation to the Cosmic Dance - Biodanza Workshop Augustine Church
22/3 3.30pm Wisdom of Yeshua Workshop Augustine Church
25/3 6pm Mystical Approaches to Spiritual Healing Workshop Augustine Church
28/3 10am Universal Heart Song Workshop Augustine Church
29/3 3.30pm Celebrating Your Story Workshop Augustine Church
29/3 6.30pm  Emotional Intelligence Workshop Augustine Church

 

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Religion, Violence and Ecology.
Speaker: Prof Robert Segal is Sixth Century Chair in Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen.
Title: The Myth of Gaia.
Chair: Dr Louise S Milne, School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.
Forum on Religion, Violence and Ecology.
Forum Panellists: Nancy Adams, is member of the Scottish Palestinian Forum and a student of Mediation and Conflict Resolution;  Brian Larkin, Coordinator, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre; Eurig Scandrett is an educator and activist who, after an initial career as an environmental scientist, spent 15 years in community education and campaigning on environmental, peace, gender and trades union issues.

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Conflict, the Arts and Therapy.
Speaker: Prof Nigel Osborne, Former Reid Professor of Music and Co-Director of the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD), Music, University of Edinburgh.
Chair: Dr Katie Overy, Director, Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD), University of Edinburgh.
Forum on Conflict, the Arts and Therapy.
Forum Panellists: Hugh Donald leads the work of Place for Hope, an ecumenical organisation offering the means of peace building and reconciliation  to address conflict  within churches and community. Formerly a lawyer, Hugh is an experienced mediator, facilitator and coach; Dr Amy Hardie, Head of Research, Scottish Documentary Institute; Samir Mehanovic is a BAFTA award winning film director who has also directed for the BBC.

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Spirituality, Politics and Culture.
Speaker: Donald Smith is Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, and a development worker for the traditional and community arts in Scotland.
Title: Freedom and Faith.
Chair: Lari Don is a children’s writer, storyteller and occasional political activist, who is passionate about the power of stories and hopeful about the future of Scotland. www.laridon.co.uk
Forum on Spirituality, Politics and Culture.
Forum Panellists: Dr Mairi McFadyen, Teaching and Research, Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, the University of Edinburgh; Eleanor Yule, filmmaker.

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Armed Conflict, Rape and Sexual Violence.
Speaker: Dr Lesley Orr, feminist historian, theologian, writer and activist.
Title: Waging A War Against Women? - Armed Conflict, Rape and Sexual Violence.
Chair: Lynn Jamieson is a Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships www.crfr.ac.uk and a Professor in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. She has had a long interest in gender and violence. Her portfolio of research includes studies of rape and sexual assault trials in Scotland.
Forum on Armed Conflict, Rape and Sexual Violence.
Forum Panellists: Megan Bastick works as Gender and Security Fellow with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), an international foundation; Cath Campbell, Rape Crisis Scotland; A refugee woman from Refugee Women’s Strategy Group.

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Positive Spirituality, Creative Inspiration, and Cross-Cultural Leadership for Peace.
Speaker: Dr Fahri Karakas is a London-based Lecturer in Business and Leadership at University of East Anglia.
Title: Bridging East and West: The Role of Positive Spirituality, Creative Inspiration, and Cross-Cultural Leadership for Peace.
Chair: David Lorimer, Programme Director, the Scientific and Medical Network.
Forum on Positive Spirituality, Creative Inspiration, and Cross-Cultural Leadership for Peace.
Forum Panellists:  Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz;  Rev Ali Newell, Associate Chaplain, University of Edinburgh; Prof Dabir Tehrani, Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt University since April 1984.

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Spirituality, Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Speaker: Rev Prof John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, King's College, University of Aberdeen.
Title: Is spirituality good for your well-being?: A reflection on the role of “spirituality” in the practices of health care.
Chair: Steve Tilley.  From 1993 Dr Stephen Tilley taught Nursing students at the University of Edinburgh to look critically at the evolving discourses on spirituality and health care. Having personal and professional interests in spirituality and mental health, he watches with interest the gathering of spirituality, recovery and well-being round common themes of 'meaning, purpose and fulfilment.'
Forum on Spirituality, Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Forum Panellists:  Edie Irwin, Tara Rokpa Therapist; Jim Pym is a Quaker, with strong links to Buddhism and Advaita; Dr Brion Sweeney is a Tara Rokpa Therapist and Trainer who has been working with Tara Rokpa Therapy for over 30 years.

2014: Event: The 2014 Middle East Festival Forum on Inner Power, Transformation and Leadership.
Speaker: Scilla Elworthy Ph D, founded the Oxford Research Group in 1982.
Title: What is Inner Power, and how do we use it?
Chair: Brian Smith, former Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church..
Forum on Inner Power, Transformation and Leadership.
Forum Panellists: Prof Indra Nath Choudhuri, Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs); Dr Thomas Clough Daffern, Director, International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy; John Drummond, managing director of Integrity Works and a Principal of Integrity Works Inc, three years ago he co-founded the Constitutional Commission with Canon Kenyon Wright.

2013: Event: The 2013 Middle East Festival Forum on Spirituality, Equality and Community.
Speaker: Dr Lesley Orr, feminist historian, theologian, writer and activist.
Title: Demonstrably Happy: The Positive Potential of Same Sex Marriage.
Chair: Tim Hopkins is the Director of the Equality Network.
Forum Panellists: Nathan Young Gale, Scottish Transgender Alliance Development Worker; Maruska Greenwood, Director, LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing; Siobhan Reardon, Acting Programme Director, Amnesty International Scotland; Rev Maxwell Reay has been a minister with Metropolitan Community Church since 1993; Nancy Russell has been involved with the LGBT National Youth Council.
 

2013: Event: The 2013 Middle East Festival Forum on Inter Independence,
Scottish Self-Determination and Constructions of National Identity.
Speaker: Gerry Hassan, writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas.
Title: State of Inter Independence: A Vision for Scottish Self-Determination and Constructions of National Identity.
Chair: Dr Scott Hames, Lecturer, School of Arts and Humanities, Division of Literature and Languages, the University of Stirling. Currently completing a monograph on Scottish literary nationalism, and recently edited a collection of essays by writers on Scottish independence.
Forum Panellists: Alan Bissett is a writer and performer; Kate Higgins, passionate campaigner and commentator on Scottish social justice issues; Dr Lorna J Waite is a writer and researcher.


2013: Event: The 2013 Middle East Festival Forum on Ecocide, Culture, and Peace.
Speaker: Polly Higgins, Earth Lawyer and Founder of the Wish20 Global Citizens Initiative.
Title: Ecocide: the Missing 5th Crime Against Peace.
Chair: Fiona Watt.
Forum Panellists: Eleanor Harris, Co-ordinator of Eco-Congregation Scotland, 2005-7; Osbert Lancaster, consultant, facilitator and educator for sustainability; Eurig Scandrett is an educator and activist.
 

2013: Event: The 2013 Middle East Festival Forum on Conflict Resolution, Radical Disagreement and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Speaker: Prof Oliver Ramsbotham, Emeritus Professor of Conflict Resolution at the University of Bradford, Chair of the Oxford Research Group, and President of the Conflict Research Society.
Title: When conflict resolution fails - managing radical disagreement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Chair: Dr Michelle Burgis-Kasthala is a lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews.
Forum Panellists: Nancy Adams, is member of the Scottish Palestinian Forum and a student of Mediation and Conflict Resolution; Christine Bell is Professor of Constitutional Law, the University of Edinburgh; Charlie Irvine, Chair, Scottish Mediation Network‏.
 

2013: Event:The 2013 Middle East Festival Forum on Debt, Accountability and Community.
Speaker: John Rogers, storyteller, teacher and specialist in community economic development.
Title: Who owes the Earth? The Story of People, Planet and Debt.
Chair: The Rt Revd Brian Smith, former Bishop of Edinburgh.
Forum Panellists: Lorraine Currie is currently the Head of International Programmes at SCIAF; Alastair McIntosh, campaigning academic, speaker, writer, poet and broadcaster; Alys Mumford, Campaign Director, Jubilee Scotland.
 

2013: Event: The 2013 Middle East Festival Forum on Honour, Shame and the Military in the Middle East and North Africa.
Speaker: Dr George R Wilkes, Director, Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace, the University of Edinburgh.
Title: When armed forces kill civilians: Honour, Shame and the Military in the Middle East and North Africa.
Chair: Prof Douglas Cairns, Chair of Classics in the University of Edinburgh.
Forum Panellists: Megan Bastick is a Gender and Security Fellow with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces; Dr Claire Duncanson, Lecturer in International Relations, the University of Edinburgh; Keith Hammond teaches Philosophy and Middle East Studies in the Open Studies of the University of Glasgow.


2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on Spirituality, Religion and Film.
Speaker: Dr Nacim Pak-Shiraz, Lecturer in Persian and Film Studies, the University of Edinburgh.
Title: Representations of Spirituality and Religion through Film.
Forum on Spirituality, Religion and Film.


2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on Spirituality, Mental Health and WellBeing.
Speaker: Prof Chris Cook, Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, and Director of the Project for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Durham University.
Title: Spirituality and Mental Wellbeing.
Forum on Spirituality, Mental Health and Wellbeing.
 

2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on Aggression, Leadership and Masculinity.
Speaker: Michael Williams, Ph.D..
Title: Aggression, Leadership and Masculinity - a storyteller's perspective.
Forum on Attitudes to Aggression, Leadership and Masculinity.


2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on Culture, Health and WellBeing.
Speaker: Prof Phil Hanlon, Professor of Public Health, the University of Glasgow.
Title: Afternow: What's next for the Health of Society?
Forum on Culture, Health and WellBeing.


2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on Transpersonal History and the Future of Peace in the Middle East.
Speaker: Thomas Clough Daffern PhD.
Title: “Transpersonal History and the Future of Peace in the Middle East:
Towards a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Middle East"
Forum on Transpersonal History and the Future of Peace in the Middle East.


2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on Conflict and seeing different points of view.
Speaker: Dr Eolene Boyd-MacMillan.
Title: Conflict in Relationships.
Forum on Conflict and seeing different points of view. Mediation, law, business, science, international relations and art can each facilitate the transformation of conflict into opportunities for insight and growth, whether on the individual, inter-personal or inter-group level. Our panel features key contributors from these fields.


2012: Event: The 2012 Middle East Festival Forum on the Middle East and the West.
Speaker: Prof Hugh Goddard, Director of the HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, the University of Edinburgh.
Title: The Middle East and the West: what are the prospects? - exploring some of the contemporary developments, and also some of the different dimensions, political, historical and cultural, as well as spiritual and religious.
Forum on the Middle East and the West.


2011: Event: The 2011 Middle East Festival Forum on Iran: Dictatorship or Democracy?
Speaker: Professor Ali Ansari, BA (Lon), PhD (Lon), Professor of Iranian History and Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews; Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme, Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House).
Title: Iran: Dictatorship or Democracy?
Forum on Iran: Dictatorship or Democracy?


2011: Event: The 2011 Middle East Festival Forum on From Brokenness to Wholeness: The Role of Prisons in Transforming Society.
Speaker: Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan, was HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland from 2002 until 2009.
Title: From Brokenness to Wholeness: The Role of Prisons in Transforming Society.
Forum on From Brokenness to Wholeness: The Role of Prisons in Transforming Society.


2011: Event: The 2011 Middle East Festival Forum on Spiritualities and Psychotherapies - Dr Dale Mathers in conversation with Rev Prof Stephen G Wright.
Title: Peace, Buddhism and Analytical Psychology.
Forum on Spiritualities and Psychotherapies.


2011: Event: The 2011 Middle East Festival Forum on State of Power in the Modern Middle East.
Speaker: Prof Anoush Ehteshami, PhD, AcSS, FRSA, Professor of International Relations, School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University.
Title: State of Power in the Modern Middle East.
Forum on State of Power in the Modern Middle East.


2011: Event: The 2011 Middle East Festival Forum on Towards a Civilization of Love.
Speaker: The Rt Rev Brian Smith, Bishop of Edinburgh.
Title: Towards a Civilization of Love.
Forum on Towards a Civilization of Love.


2011: Event: The 2011 Middle East Festival Forum on World Spiritualities.
Speaker: Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz, Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL.
Title: Desert Wisdom: Hearing the Heart of Native Middle Eastern Spiritualities as it addresses the "Big Questions."
Forum on World Spiritualities.

2010: Event: The 2010 Middle East Festival Forum on Spirituality, Mental Health and Well-being - Dr Andrew Powell in conversation with Rev Prof Stephen G. Wright.
Forum on Spirituality, Mental Health and Well-being.


2010: Event: The 2010 Middle East Festival Forum on the Arts.
Speaker: David Greig.
Title: Theatre and the Middle East.
Forum on the role of theatre in addressing issues of peacemaking, conflict resolution, community building, loss, grief, health and well-being, healing, identity, inclusion, etc.


2010: Event: The 2010 Middle East Festival Forum on the Natural Economy, Sustainability, and the Global Environment.
Speaker: Prof Stephen Blackmore FRSE, Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Title: Gardening the Earth: the international role of botanic gardens.
Forum on the Natural Economy, Sustainability, and the Global Environment.


2010: Event: The 2010 Middle East Festival Forum on Education and the Media.
Speaker: Prof John Eldridge, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, the University of Glasgow.
Title: War and Peace News.
Forum on the Role of the Media in Times of Peace and Conflict.


2010: Event: The 2010 Middle East Festival Forum on Environmental Responsibility and Climate Change.
Speaker: Dr James Garvey, the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
Title: The Ethics of Climate Change.
Forum on Spiritual, Educational and Cultural Responses to Climate Change.


2010: Event: The 2010 Middle East Festival Forum on World Spiritualities.
Speaker: Prof Ursula King, Emeritus Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, the University of Bristol.
Title: Do we need Spirituality for Human Flourishing?
Forum on the Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for Meaning and Fulfilment.

2009: Event: 2009 Middle East Festival Scotland-Middle East Identity Lecture.
Speaker: Leena Nammari.
Title: A Space to Breathe.
Forum on Scotland-Middle East Identity: Experiences, Challenges and Achievements.
 

2009: Event: 2009 Middle East Festival Lecture on Global Affairs.
Speaker: John Rogers.
Title: Alternative Views to the Current Global Economy -
the Impact of Spirituality, Psychology and Group Process.
Forum on Global Values, Global Spirituality and Global Consciousness.
 

2009: Event: 2009 Middle East Festival Arts Lecture.
Speaker: Richard Holloway.
Title:  The Art of Resistance.
Forum on the Role of the Arts in Times of Conflict, and in Response to Conflict.
 

2009: Event: 2009 Middle East Festival Education Lecture.
Speaker: Ibrahim Issa.
Title: Peace and Democratic Education at the Hope Flowers School, Bethlehem.
Forum on Educational Approaches to Peace, Conflict, Reconciliation and Justice.
 

2009: Event: 2009 Middle East Festival Spirituality, Health, Wellbeing and Healing Lecture.
Speaker: Rev Prof Stephen G. Wright.
Title: The Waste Land - Spirituality, Health and Healing.
Forum on Spirituality, Health, Wellbeing and Healing.
 

2009: Event: 2009 Middle East Festival Environmental Responsibility and Climate Change Lecture.
Speaker: Prof Alastair McIntosh.
Title: Gilgamesh and Siduri's Wisdom: a Study of Climate Change and the Ancients.
Forum on Spiritual, Educational and Cultural Responses to Climate Change.
 

2008: Event: The 2008 Middle East Festival Lecture.
Speaker: Prof Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
Title: Spiritual Approaches to Peace and Ecology in the Islamic World.
 

2007: Event: The 2007 Middle East Festival Lecture.
Speaker: Jean Vanier.
Title: Spirituality and the Civilisation of Love.
 

2007: Event: Three day Retreat with Jean Vanier.
Speaker: Jean Vanier.
Title: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.
 

2007: Event: The 2007 Middle East Festival Conference Lecture.
Speaker: Chief Rabbi David Rosen.
Title: Religion and Peacemaking in the Middle East.
 

2007: Event: The 2007 Middle East Festival Education Lecture.
Speaker: Prof Bart McGettrick.
Title: Searching for Spirituality through Education in the Middle East.
 

2006: Event: The 2006 Middle East Festival Lecture.
Speaker: Professor Tariq Ramadan.
Title: Islam and the West in a Quest for a Just and Peaceful World.
 

2006: Event: The 2006 Middle East Festival Conference Lecture.
Speaker: His Excellency, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.
Title: Acquire Inner Peace: Prayer of the Heart in Orthodox Spirituality.
 

2005: Event: The 2005 Middle East Festival Lecture.
Speaker: His Excellency Sayedna/Sayidna/Archbishop Dr. Elias Chacour is the current Sayedna/Sayidna/Bishop of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and All of Galilee and the President of Mar Elias Educational Institutions.
Title: Spiritual Approaches to Middle East Peace.
 

2004: Event: International Conference on Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace.
Speakers: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sufi, Ismaili, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, and Druze.
 

2003: Event: Visit of Jewish and Muslim Peacemakers from the Middle East.
Title: Conference of Jewish and Muslim Peacemakers from the Middle East.