Yossi Klein Halevi and Muslim Thought Leaders to Speak in Greater Hartford

HARTFORD, CONN. (February 25, 2019) – Bestselling Israeli author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi will speak with Muslim thought leaders about Jewish-Muslim and Israeli-Palestinian relations during two free community programs on March 24 and 25, 2019. Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and co-director of the Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University. His 2018 book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, is a plea for peace and new dialogue based on common ground in faith. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Times of Israel and other publications.

The two programs are jointly presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford; the World Affairs Council of Connecticut; UConn Global Affairs; the Shalom Hartman Institute; the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center; UConn Hillel and The Nachshon Project.

“Friendship Across Difference” on March 24
On Sunday, March 24, Halevi and Muslim American commentator Parvez Ahmed, Ph.D., will discuss the issues and forces that divide American Jews and Muslims, including the Middle East, and the opportunities that could unite them. “Friendship Across Difference” will take place at the West Hartford Town Hall at 50 South Main Street beginning at 7 p.m. Dr. Ahmed is a Professor of Finance at the University of North Florida, a Fulbright Scholar, and an alumnus of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative. He contributes regularly to Huffington Post and has been published in the Miami Herald, The Times of Israel and many other papers. Megan Clark Torrey, Chief Executive Officer of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, will moderate the conversation, which will include an audience Q&A. Details and registration for the March 24 program are available at bit.ly/Friendship324.

“These two programs exemplify how productive discourse on challenging issues can strengthen our local community and expand our understanding of the world,” Torrey noted. “This concept is at the core of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut’s mission. We’re proud to work with the Jewish Federation and our fellow partners to present these important community conversations.”

“Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” on March 25
On Monday, March 25, Halevi and former Palestinian Authority advisor Ghaith Al-Omari will discuss the past, current and future relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” will be held at 7 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on the UConn Storrs campus at 405 Babbidge Road. Al-Omari is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Mideast Policy and non-resident fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine who served as a high-level advisor in the Palestinian Authority. Daniel Weiner, Ph.D., Vice President for Global Affairs and Professor of Geography at the University of Connecticut, will moderate this conversation, which also includes an audience Q&A. Details and registration for the March 25 program are available at bit.ly/Letters325.

“UConn Global Affairs is honored to sponsor both nights of conversation with Yossi Klein Halevi,” said Weiner. “We are fortunate and grateful that Gaith Al-Omari and Parvez Ahmed have agreed to participate. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply emotional and rooted in divergent narratives; it is a very difficult dialogue to have. And its impact on dialogue here in the United States is increasingly evident.”

“Never has it been more critical for us to sit down and talk with our neighbors,” added Dr. Diana Lafer, a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council and a trustee of the Washington Institute. “Only when we understand and respect one another can we hope for peaceful coexistence. Yossi Klein Halevi, Ghaith Al-Omari and Parvez Ahmed are distinctly qualified to share and model collaborative Jewish-Muslim and Israeli-Palestinian discourse. Imagine the impact on both local and global scales if we could bring such discourse to daily conflicts across our country and throughout the world.”