Franciscan Institute’s Seventh National Forum Focuses on Understanding Islam

Jocelyn Thomas Franciscan World

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — “Daring to Embrace the Other: Franciscans and Muslims in Dialogue” was the title of the June 7-9 Franciscan forum sponsored by the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Colorado Springs here.

The forum addressed inter-religious dialogue using the encounter between Francis and Sultan Malek al-Kamil as a poignant focus in considering the current conflict between Christians and Muslims. It examined how the “core values of the Franciscan tradition and of Christianity and Islam impel us to engage one another respectfully and cooperatively in rebuilding the world,” according to the institute’s spring 2007 newsletter.

Among the presenters were Michael Calabria, a lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies and Inter-religious Dialogue at SBU, and Michael Cusato, director of the Franciscan Institute and dean of the School of Franciscan Studies.

This fall, the institute will hold the first of four international conferences commemorating the 800th anniversary of the death of John Duns Scotus. The event, which is part of The Quadruple Congress, is scheduled for Oct. 18-21 at SBU.  This congress will gather scholars from four areas of the world, United States, England, Germany and Italy.

Though the conferences are set for four sites, all will examine and reassess the works of Duns Scotus, according to Michael Cusato. Each conference will focus on a distinct theme.

Registration and details about the program are available on the conference’s Web site Information can also be obtained through Dr. Mary Beth Ingham, CJS, one of two organizers, at

The Franciscan Institute was founded in 1939 by Thomas Plassman, then-president of SBU.