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Our upcoming International Conferences:

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Bright Stars of Bethlehem presents


Featuring Rev. Jim Winkler, President of National Council of Churches, Rev. Dr. Mae Cannon of Churches for Middle East Peace, Sojourners' Founder and President Jim Wallis, and Bright Stars of Bethlehem President, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb.

As part of the Room for Hope festival, The Jerusalem Conference is a one-day conference on Thursday, October 11 that brings together scholars, ecumenical theologians, and peace-doers around the topic


The recent move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has changed the conversation. Historic commitments to Jerusalem as a city for two people of three faiths are being threatened, along with the hope for peace. While the importance of the city for Jews is not questioned, its significance for Christians and Muslims, and particularly Christians is overlooked. For people of faith and for those concerned with peace in the Middle East, an inclusive Jerusalem is a must. So, what do we need to understand about the current political realities in Jerusalem, the implications of theological frameworks of the city, and current US and foreign policy?

Finally, what steps can we, as faith leaders take together and in our own networks to advance peace in this region?

In addition to responding to this urgent moment, The Jerusalem Conference is, in part, a follow up from the 2016 Atlanta Summit at the Carter Center hosted by President Carter, which brought together key representatives from 26 denominations as well as numerous faith-based organizations working towards a just peace in Israel/Palestine. This one day conference offers a timely exploration of Jerusalem as key to peace in the Middle East. Together, we will identify concrete steps and goals towards advancing the vision of an inclusive, diverse, and equitable Jerusalem.


8:30-9:30A REGISTRATION: Hilton Ballroom, University of Houston

9:30A WELCOME: Fr. Don Nesti and Bishop Dr. Michael Rinehart

10-11:15A PANEL 1-  The Realities of Jerusalem Today

Including Dr. Majed Bamya and Tarek Abuata

-- 11:15A Break --

11:30-12:45P PANEL 2- Jerusalem: Towards an inclusive Religious Discourse: Jewish, Muslim and Christian perspectives

Including Dr. Santiago Slabodsky, Fr. Elias Mallon, Dr. Amir Hussain. Moderated by Dr. David Grafton

-- 12:45-2P LUNCH --

2-3:15P PANEL 3- Towards a balanced US policy on Jerusalem: What is possible under the Trump Administration?

Including Jim Wallis, Dr. James Zogby, Rev. Dr. James Forbes, and Dr. Bob Roberts

3:15-4:30P PANEL 4- Jerusalem: The Demand for Urgent Action

Featuring, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Jim Winkler, Rev. Dr. Mae Cannon, and  Dr. Iva Caruthers


For detailed information about the following:

WHY "Women's Rights in the Middle East Today: Law, Culture, and Religion"?

This conference brings together leading experts in the fields of local and International Laws related to Women's rights, as well as key representatives of theological and cultural institutions working in this field; a unique assembly of scholars, researchers, and high-profile advocates in law and related fields. The aim of this conference is to spark an international dialogue on the current impact of law, culture, and religion on the condition of women in the Middle-East. 

Conference Goals:

  • Sketching the current condition of women’s rights in the Middle-East
  • Analyzing the impact of the law, culture, and religion triad on said condition
  • Exploring new perspectives on Middle-Eastern women’s rights in the midst of a changing socio-political context
  • Highlighting the the impact of women’s movements on democracy, education, and human rights
  • Providing a pertinent forum of discussion on the conference themes
  • Sharing the conference’s papers and recommendations with the academic community
  • Encouraging interdisciplinary analysis in relation to Middle-Eastern women
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"Jerusalem: National, Religious, and International Dimensions"

This conference will be held in Bethlehem, Palestine, starting November 22nd until November 25th, is our 16th International Conference which aims at sparking an international dialogue on religious, national, and international narratives and identities connected to contemporary Jerusalem
Conference Goals: 
●       Exploring the city of Jerusalem in its religious, national, and international dimensions
●       Investigating the narratives and identities connected to contemporary Jerusalem
●       Analyzing the complex interaction of religion and local politics
●       Disentangling historical documentation from religious aspirations
●       Exposing the political commitments and agendas shaping the local social landscape
●       Addressing the challenges facing a diverse and cosmopolitan Jerusalem
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