Pella Chronicle

August 24, 2012

Central College hosts speakers on religion and diversity

The Chronicle

Pella — The office of intercultural life at Central College will once again bring diverse speakers to campus to challenge and broaden the college community. This fall, four guest speakers will focus on religion, religious pluralism and diversity.

Starting off the semester will be Amer Ahmed, an activist who performs spoken word poetry and hip-hop. Ahmed asks critical questions about religion and prejudice in America.

Brandyn Woodard, director of Intercultural Life, says Ahmed’s Indian-Muslim-American heritage will bring multiple facets to his program: “There is a religious component, a cultural component and a socio-political opportunity to think about things differently.”

Ahmed will present “Post-9/11 Islam in America,” on Monday, Sept. 10 in the Cox-Snow Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Following shortly after, Jorge Zeballos will give a presentation titled “Cosmic Race, Rainbow People and Other Myths: An Exploration of Latinas/os Racial Identity.” Zeballos arrives at the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month. His workshop is designed to cover questions about Hispanic identity in an informative and entertaining manner. Zeballos will speak Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Cox-Snow Recital Hall at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Byron Hurt will give his presentation “Beyond Beats and Rhymes” in the Cox-Snow Recital Hall at 7 p.m. Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a published writer and an anti-sexism activist.

Woodward believes the presentation will resonate with males on campus. “Byron’s presentation will speak about domestic violence and masculinity, as well as to the role of men in our society,” he says. “He will help us critically analyze what we are seeing in the media and how it impacts people.”

The last presenter of the semester will be Stephen Prothero, author and professor in the department of religion at Boston University. After having seen Prothero speak, Woodard is convinced the campus will be profoundly affected. “I like how he thinks about religion. It is a different way than many people process religion, and it will help broaden our understanding of it.”

Prothero’s presentation, “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World,” will be Monday, Nov. 12 in the Graham Banquet Hall at 7 p.m.