Campus Lectures Bring a World of Perspectives to
In a world of vanishing borders, experiencing other cultures and developing the ability to evaluate events and issues with an international perspective is critical to a student’s future success. As part of the St. Edward’s commitment to helping students see themselves in the context of a global community, the university hosts lectures from prominent thinkers around the world on topics related to these fields and concepts:
St. Edward’s University
- Natural sciences
From an exploration of the origin and search for life, to a presentation on the societal realities of white privilege, to cosmic consciousness and Christian commitment, this year’s lectures have garnered considerable attention from the university community.
Muslim Speaker Packs Recreation and
Add to that excitement a March lecture that attracted more than 600 people to the Recreation and Convocation Center to hear Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam of the mosque closest to the site of the World Trade Center and founder of the American Sufi Muslim Association. A nonprofit, nonpolitical, educational and cultural organization dedicated to creating bridges between the American public and American Muslims, ASMA was established in 1997 and is the first Muslim organization committed to bringing Muslims and non-Muslims together through programs in academia, policy, current affairs and culture.
Yearlong Look at Islam
The talk was part of a yearlong, campuswide, multidisciplinary exploration of Islam that began with Imam Feisal’s critically acclaimed book What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America as the Freshman Studies summer reading text. Students also attended a play that examines the contemporary Muslim experience, Kneeling Down at Noon, written by Austin playwright Steve Moore and developed in collaboration with 15 university students.
“Students are really interested to hear a different perspective,” says Assistant Dean of University Programs Jennifer Johnson, “We also hosted a Q&A with Imam Feisal for two Cultural Foundations classes” (which explore American society from a multicultural perspective). “Once he started talking, you could have heard a pin drop.”
Connecting Students with the University Community
Raising student awareness about ethnic and cultural issues around the world is the goal of University Programs — as is cultivating a close-knit student community. Freshman Studies Director and Assistant Professor of Humanities Lynn Rudloff says the themed program helps incoming students connect to one another and feel a part of the greater university community.
“It’s a collaborative effort between a lot of different campus agencies that brings students together with parents, faculty, staff and the community at large. Through the program, students expand their ideas about the world, and about the experience of others, as they create a common bond.”
Upcoming Freshman Studies Theme
Next year, students will create that bond with the theme Discovering Leadership: Courage, Conscience and Character. Central to the study is John Bul Dau’s unforgettable memoir, God Grew Tired of Us, a first-person account of his 14-year journey as one of the Sudanese “Lost Boys,” who walked barefoot more than 1,000 miles to escape the perils of civil war. A lecture by Bul Dau will round out the semester with a unique opportunity to meet the author, ask questions, and hear about his incredible tale of strength and courage firsthand.
Check out the events calendar for future lectures and programs.