| Conference Participants
- Dr. Ismail Albayrak was born in Ankara in 1968. Upon receiving his primary and secondary education he began to study in the School of Divinity/Ankara where graduated in 1991. In 1994 he won a scholarship from Turkish Higher Education Council to continue his postgraduate studies in abroad. For this purpose, in 1995 he went to England. Ismail received his PhD degree from Leeds University in 2000. Since then he has been working at Sakarya University, Adapazari/TURKEY, where he teaches and writes on Qur'anic Studies, classical exegesis, Contemporary Approaches to the Qur'an and Orientalism. He published one book and many articles. Book-Klasik Modernizmde Kur'an'a Yaklasimlar, Istanbul: Ensâr Nesriyât 2004/Modern Approaches to the Qur'an in Classic Modernism. Articles (in English) 'The Qur'anic Narratives of the Golden Calf Episode,' Journal of Qur'anic Studies, 3, 47-70 (2001). 'Charles C. Torrey's Concept of the Qur'an and Its Narratives,' Sakarya Üniversitesi Ilahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, 3, 137-150 (2001)'Re-evaluating the Notion of Isrâ'îliyyât', Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Ilahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, 14, 69-98 (2001)'Isrâîliyyât and Classical Exegetes' Comments on the Calf with a Hollow Sound: Q.20:83-98/7:147-155 with Special Reference to Ibn 'Atiyya,' Journal of Semitic Studies, 47, 39-65 (2002). 'The Classical Exegetes' Analysis of the Qur'anic Narrative 18:60-82,' Islamic Studies, 42, 289-315 (2003). 'The Notions of Muhkam and Mutashabih in the Commentary of Elmali'li Muhammed Hamdi Yazir,' Journal of Qur'anic Studies, 5, 19-34 (2003). 'Turkish Exegeses of the Twentieth Century: Hak Dini Kur'an Dili', Islamic Studies, 43, 391-414 (2004).
- Dr. Bernadette Andrea is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she is also chair of the Department of English, Classics, and Philosophy. Her research focuses on women's writing from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century, with a particular emphasis on Western European interactions with the Ottoman Empire. Her recent publications also focus on twentieth-century Algerian, Egyptian, and Turkish women writers. Her book on Women and Islam in Early Modern English Literature is scheduled to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.
- Dr. Loye Ashton is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he teaches comparative theology and world religions. He is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, and assists with music and education at Crossgates United Methodist Church of Brandon, Mississippi, where his wife works as an Associate Pastor. Ashton spent his undergraduate years at Montana State University and earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Boston University. An avid amateur drummer for 28 years, Loye is passionate about all forms of percussion across the globe, and has studied sacred world music in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Loye is presently working on Faithful Uncertainty, a history of Christian theology in the 20th century.
- Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan is an author, an editorial board member of Fountain magazine, and a faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington. He translated and compiled of scientific articles for a popular scientific/spiritual magazine in Turkey in 1986. Aslandogan has published articles and given seminars on several topics, including the relationship of science and religion, spirituality and time management, Islamic spirituality, comparative analysis of theories of learning and the prophetic tradition, and common cultural values among the world's major religions. His recent presentations include Science and Religion: Between Friction and Harmony, Questions of Lifestyle: How Conflict Ownership is Spread, Sufism (Tasawwuf) as the Spiritual Dimension of Islam, and Diversity, Tolerance, Dialog and Ramadan.
- The Reverend Dr. Guinn Blackwell-Eagleson, Executive Director of United Campus Ministry of Greater Houston, has served as a Presbyterian Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Houston area for 23 years. She has served as pastor of the La Marque Presbyterian Church, as pastor and head of staff of the Central Presbyterian Church of Houston, as interim associate pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church, and now is coordinating outreach to students in several Houston area college campuses. Dr. Blackwell-Eagleson graduated with highest honors from the University of Texas, before attending Princeton Theological Seminary, where she earned a Master of Divinity degree. After pursuing liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame, she was awarded the Doctor of Ministry degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation of Indiana in 1993. In 1983, she was the first woman to be installed as a Presbyterian pastor in New Covenant Presbytery. In 1987, she was the first clergy woman to serve as her presbytery's moderator. In 1991, she was a commissioner to the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly in Baltimore, and chaired the Assembly Committee on Church Orders and Ministry. She currently chairs the Examinations Committee of the Presbytery of New Covenant and serves on its Permanent Judicial Commission.
- Dr. Jill Carroll is the president and founder of Religiosities, Inc, and Assistant Director at The Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance at Rice University. She earned her doctorate in religious studies from Rice University in Houston, Texas in 1994. She has taught comparative religions and other topics in the general humanities since 1988 at several universities, including the University of Houston and Rice University. Scholarly Publications: The Savage Side: Reclaiming Violent Models of God. Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. "Elizabeth Fiorenza", "Center for Women and Religion", "Rosemary Ruether". Entries in Handbook for American WomenÕs History, Second Edition. Angela Howard and Frances Kavenik, eds. Sage Publications, 2000. "Religion and Violence in Blood Meridian." Essays from the First Cormac McCarthy Conference, Bellarmine College. Texas Western Press: El Paso, 1997. Commercial/Academic Publications: How to Survive as an Adjunct Lecturer: An Entrepreneurial Strategy Manual. Aventine Press, 2001. Machiavelli for Adjuncts: Six Lessons in Power for the Disempowered. Aventine Press, 2004. "The Adjunct Track" monthly column for The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 2001 to present. "My Mother's Shotgun." Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting. Mary Zeiss Stange, ed. Stackpole Books, 2003.
- Mr. Gurkan Celik (1976) received his Master in Policy and Organization Studies at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands. For five years he worked as a trainer, researcher, and consultant at several Dutch educational institutions. Currently, he is working as a research advisor and project leader of diversity policy at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Also, he is a PhD Candidate at the Radboud University Nijmegen and examines Gülen's views on human being from the perspective of philosophical and theological anthropology. He has been serving as the president of the Cosmicus Foundation, a national network organisation for students, alumni and academics in the Netherlands. Further, he was chair of the organizing committee for a series symposia, entitled 'Frontrunners for Peace', which was held in 2004 and 2005 at the four Dutch universities. His research interests include leadership development, human resource management, diversity policy, philosophical and theological anthropology, personal development, and education. Mr. Celik has also contributed numerous articles to journals, and is (co-)author of several publications, including Voorlopers in de Vrede [Frontrunners for Peace], 2005; Hizmetkar Liderlik [Servant Leadership], 2003; Stapsgewijs naar een Nieuwe Cultuur en Leiderschapsstijl [Step by Step Towards a New Culture and Leadership Style], 2002.
- Mrs. Catherine Eustis, born in New Orleans in 1948, is a teacher of English as a Second Language. She received her degree in Journalism from Loyola University in 1971, and worked for several years the Times Picayune in New Orleans. She was chairman of the Foreign Relations Association of New Orleans (currently World Affairs Council of New Orleans) Argentine High School Exchange Program for 10 years and was the recipient of the Max Barnett Goodwill Ambassador Award. Currently she is serving as president of Atlas Interfaith Foundation, a non-profit, multi-cultural faith based organization whose spiritual and educational purposes are dedicated to promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue through its programs and community outreach. She has helped to organize such events as Peaceful Heroes Symposium, The Whirling Dervishes of Rumi, Tolerance Day, Rumi Poetry Night, Sufi Music Concert, and Infinite Light: Legacy of Prophet Muhammad.
- Mr. Joshua D. Hendrick received his master's in sociology the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is now doctoral candidate in the sociology department. He received his first master's at Northern Arizona University in anthropology. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Georgia, where he received two bachelor's degrees in anthropology and religious studies. His general academic interests and professional training center on projects related to political and economic development, globalization studies, and Islamic culture studies. He focuses specifically on the sociology and politics of religion, faith-based social movements, and issues of ethnic and religious nationalism. He is a research assistant on Carnegie funded research project entitled - Global Islam: state capacity, and Islamist responses to globalization in seven countries. For the past four years, he has conducted research on the historical and contemporary development of Muslim politics in the Middle East and in Muslim majority states. He is currently conducting dissertation research on the impact and significance of the transnational, Turkish-based network of M. Fethullah Gülen.
- Dr. Robert Hunt was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1955. After attending school in Austin and Richardson, he majored in History at the University of Texas in Austin. After completing a Master of Theology at Perkins School of Theology (SMU) he served as associate pastor of the Bethany United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. In 1985 he and his wife Lilian moved to Kuala Lumpur, where they taught at the Seminary Theology Malaysia. He received a PhD from the University of Malaya in 1993. From 1993 to 1997 he taught at the Trinity Theological College. From 1997 to 2004 he was pastor of the English Speaking United Methodist Church of Vienna, and an adjunct professor in comparative religions and international relations at Webster University in Vienna. Dr. Hunt is presently Director of Global Theological Education at the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Dr. Hunt is author of several books, including Islam in Southeast Asia, and Muslim Faith and Values: What Every Christian Should Know."The focus of my professional life, as a teacher and pastor, has been interpretation: helping people understand one another, their history, different cultures and religions, and themselves. I believe that every person, culture, and society has something valuable to offer to others, and that we discover this through critical and appreciative study, open dialogue, and a willingness to learn."
- Dr. Gulten Ilhan joined the Philosophy faculty at Saint Louis Community College at Meramec in the fall of 1999. Professor Ilhan received her Master's Degree (1989) in Philosophy from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. She continued her graduate studies at Saint Louis University. While in graduate school, Professor Ilhan focused her research on Ethics. Prior to joining Saint Louis Community College at Meramec, Professor Ilhan taught undergraduate courses at other campuses of Saint Louis Community College, St. Charles Community College, Maryville University, Webster University, and Saint Louis University. Her teaching experience includes courses in Introduction to Philosophy, Logic, Human Nature, Ethics, Medical Ethics, World Religions, and Islam. Professor Ilhan participated in the African Seminar sponsored by the Global Studies Program during 2000-2001. She developed a module on the practice of Islam in North Africa. She co-presented a workshop on Islam at the Midwest Institute for International/Intercultural Education in April of 2003. In November of 2002, she attended the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) meetings, and co-presented a workshop on infusing Islam in Philosophy courses. Previously, in October 2002, she organized a full day seminar on Islam at the SLCC-Meramec Campus.
- Mr. Fahri Karakas is a researcher in the Faculty of Management at McGill University, specializing in Organizational Behavior. He has taught on Organizational Behavior and Leadership at McGill University and Bogazici University. His research interests include values and spirituality in the workplace, personality, leadership and group dynamics; educational leadership, social innovation, complexity, chaos theory, positive organizational scholarship, and appreciative inquiry. His recent publications include a book chapter on women in management in Turkey, a journal article on meanings of family well-being in Equal Opportunities International; and a keynote speech on "A Global Agenda for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialog" in Vital Speeches of the Day. He has recently presented his work at Academy of Management and Academy of International Business Conferences. He has been serving as the president of Quebec Horizon Foundation and a board member of Dialog Foundation in Montreal.
- Dr. Lynn Mitchell is the founder, developer, professor and director of the Religious Studies Program, College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences, at University of Houston. He served as Professor of Theology at the University of St, Thomas (1974-1985).
B. A. Abilene Christian University, 1961 in Bible (minors in Greek, English and History)
M.A. Abilene Christian University, 1969 in Bible Doctrine (minor in Hebrew)
M.A Rice University in Religious Studie
PhD Rice University in Religious Studies.
He has taught an estimated 12,000+ students full religious courses from an interfaith, non-sectarian perspective in three Houston Universities and dozens of Texas churches, synagogues and mosques over a period of about 35 years. Dr. Mitchell is a leading figure in religious studies in the region and also media source on issues of religion and culture, religion and politics, religion in the Middle East (E.G., Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Houston radio and TV, Routers, CNN, TeleMundo, British Broadcasting, Canadian Broadcasting, Swiss National TV, Voice of America International TV, etc.)
- Dr. Magdy A. M. Said, an editor & writer, was born in Cairo at 1961, graduated from Faculty of Medicine Cairo University at 1986, then working as a physician till 1994. He has got a Diploma of Anthropology from "Institute of African Studies at 1996. Since 1992 he has started his journey outside the world of medicine, starting as editorial secretary in "Al Ateba'a" the magazine of Egyptian Medical Syndicate, then working in the field of social research, micro-credit, environmental development, then finally e-journalism. He has published several articles (more than 100 articles) in different newspapers & websites since 1987. He is author of several books and articles: Co-author of "Students' Elections in the Egyptian Universities 1988-89"- a published Arabic book - 1989. "The Institutional Social Islamic Work - El Gam'eia El Shar'eia, El Hoda Central Branch as a Case Study"- non-published Arabic research- 1990. "Albania between Hopes and Dangers"- a published Arabic book- 1994. "Experience of Bank of the Poor"- a published Arabic book- 1999. Human Relief Agency: Environment of Establishment & Condititions of Quit of the Role- a published Arabic paper- 2001. Imam Mohammad Abdo & Civil Society- a published research paper- 2005.
- Mr. Renat Shaykhutdinov is a Ph.D. candidate and graduate assistant lecturer in
the Department of Political Science at Texas A&M University. He received his
B.A. in political science and international relations and B.A. in sociology
from Bogazici (Bosphorus) University.Mr. Shaykhutdinov's research interests include identity politics, ethnic conflict, power-sharing arrangements, decentralization, and comparative politics of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. He is currently working on his dissertation "Explaining the Origins of Territorial Autonomy Arrangements in Multiethnic States."
- Mrs. Anna J. Stephenson is a recent graduate of the University of Houston with an M.A. in cultural anthropology. Her interests include using life histories to explore culture as experienced in everyday life as well as to encourage understanding between people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Her research in the United States and Turkey focused on moderate Islamist use of transnational spaces to influence development of Islamism in Turkish society and national identity. She is currently the mother of a newborn and maintains her research interests while working from home.
- Dr. Faruk Tuncer was born in 1965 in Erzincan. After compliting his undergraduate studies, he pursued his masters degree at Marmara University Theology Faculty, his thesis was on "Commentary of Suret'ul Hakka and Analyzing Doomsday Scenes" (1993) And then he copmleted his doctaral thesis at the same faculty on " The Connections Between the Begining and the End of the Suras in Terms of Entirty." (2000) He has published several articles, and books: The Harmony Between the Suras in Qur'an (Isik Publication, 2003, Istanbul) An Ottoman Scholar: Ibrahim Hakki el-Kmahi (1997, Istanbul) He is currently serving as the General Director of Publication at Writers and Journalist Foundation, Istanbul.
- Dr. Sasaki is Special Advisor of Prime Minister of Japan on Middle East and Islam.
- Dr. V.I. Sheremet is doctor of history, the Head Researcher of The Institute of Oriental Studies Of The Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (The Head of the Department of the Civilizational Problems),and also a member of the International Academy of Sciences about Nature and Society.
- Dr. Leonid Sykiainen is a Professor at Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.