Compassion in Daily Practice: Exploring Common Ground
University of the West || Saturday, March 13, 2010  ||  9:00am-5:00pm

Keynote Speaker || Program  
List of Facilitators and Speakers
Guest Flyers and Forms
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Compassion weaves a common thread through all major religions, creating unity and strengthening humanity.  

The 2010 Interfaith Dialogue is intended to be a collective collaboration of different faiths to define compassion in daily practice. By discovering and sharing acts of compassion, we can begin to explore common ground among all faiths represented at this conference.   

This dialogue is an endeavor to recognize and explore common ground among faiths.  While sharing our thoughts, words, and actions, we can give rise to an expansive vision of what is possible through compassion in daily practice in our personal and social lives.

Keynote speaker

Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn

 Creator and Host, Closer To Truth                                       Chairman, The Kuhn Foundation

What Does It Mean to Get Closer to Truth?

Abstract: Closer To Truth: Cosmos, Consciousness, God—my PBS (public television series)—is a journey of exploration to discern best thinking about ultimate truth. I’ve had the privilege of speaking at length with over 120 of the world’s leading physicists, cosmologists, philosophers and theologians, asking all of them the hard questions of cosmos, consciousness and God. Born of irremediable passion for Big Questions, though with scant hope of finding Absolute Answers, Closer To Truth pushes long-standing boundaries and challenges conventional wisdom by seeking progress in discerning ultimate truth. This quest, which all human beings of all times share, I take seriously and address in two parts. First, the reality of human relations: recognizing that we differ radically, even violently, in our beliefs and belief systems, I ask how should we deal with one another? Second, the reality of ultimate existence: I seek a compendium of all possible explanations of existence, universally exhaustive but not necessarily mutually exclusive. The primary questions people pose—Why the universe? Does God exist?—are important, sure, but they are not bedrock fundamental. “Why anything at all?” is the ultimate question. Can we get closer to truth? My challenge is that I think we can.

More about him


Rev. Dr. Terry Mathis. Rev. Mathis is the Campus Minister at the University of California in Riverside. He has nearly ten years he promoted interfaith activity. Ordained with the Church of the Brethren, his pastoral expertise includes counseling and university outreach. More about him…

Dr. Helene Slessarev-Jamir. Dr. Slessarev-Jamir is the Mildred M. Hutchinson Professor of Urban Ministries at Claremont School of Theology. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Sojourners and serves on the UMC's National Committee for Hispanic/Latino Ministry and its National Immigration Task Force. More about her…

Dr. Richard Rose. Dr. Rose is the Professor of Religion and Philosophy at University of La Verne. He is also the Director of Christian Education at Christ our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine, CA. More about him…

Dr. Michael Kerze. Dr. Kerze is a Professor of History and Religion, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College. He used to the director of the Herrick Memorial Chapel and Interfaith Center at Occidental College where he developed an innovative interfaith program with students and the religious staff. In addition, he is the member of the Los Angeles Buddhist Catholic Dialogue. More about him…

Introducing speakers

Dr. Ahmad H Sakr

Dr. Sakr obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1966. While studying in America, he was a founding member and president of the Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S.A and Canada, currently known as the Islamic Society of North America (or ISNA), a mother organization in North America. Dr. Sakr was also a founding member of the World Council of Mosques whose headquarters is in Makkah. He was the first director and representative of the Muslim World League to the U.N. Furthermore, Dr. Sakr is an educator and has taught in several universities.

In 1973, he was selected as an Outstanding Educator of America. He is also an administrator and has served in numerous capabilities at various American universities, the last of which was as the Acting President of the American Islamic College in Chicago. In 1976/1977 he was selected as a Community Leader and a Noteworthy American. Currently, he is the president of the Foundation for Islamic Knowledge. Director of the Islamic Education Center in Walnut, California, a member of Operation Safe Community, a member of the Walnut Interfaith Council in California, and a board member of the Islamic food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA).Dr. Sakr has appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” as well as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In addition, he has made numerous radio and television appearances. He has also organized and coordinated many national and international conferences. Additionally, he is a well known writer and has written a series of books and booklets on Islam, food, health, behavior, terrorism, fundamentalism, Khutab, and orations.

At last count, he had written over forty five (45) books (in English and Arabic) and booklets not counting the innumerable articles he has authored. Dr. Sakr’s approach is to build a bridge of understanding through commonalities with Muslims and non-Muslims. He visited Vatican in Rome, Italy where he participated in a Dialogue with the Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope.

Dr. Deborah Roberts & Steve Kinzie

Dr. Deborah Roberts
Campus Minister, University of La Verne
where she directs the Peace Studies Minor an the Campus Mediation Center. A member of the Church of the Brethren, she received a Master’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies in Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She has a special interest in the study of conflict engagement as spiritual practice, incorporating feminist and non-Western visions for and critiques of common U.S. mediation practice.

Steve Kerzie

Steve Kinzie currently serves as the Interim Director of the Learning Enhancement Center at the University of La Verne, where he is also Adjunct Professor of Peace Studies and Writing. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the American University of Beirut and an M.A. in Classics from the University of Washington. A singer song-writer, he has been playing guitar and five-string banjo since 1960, and for many years has drawn inspiration for lyrics from the writings and spirituality of various world religions.


Four panels will focus on specific questions relating to themes of compassion in daily life. One panel (Panel 3) will have the opportunity to present a short performance demonstrating compassion in practice through religious rituals or ceremonies. 

Panel 1
10:30am ~ 12:00pm:  Compassion and Youth
Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Terry Mathis, University of California, Riverside

Panel 2
10:30am ~ 12:00 pm:  A Life of Compassion: from Birth to Death
Facilitated by Dr. Helene Slessarev-Jamir, Claremont School of Theology
Panel 3
1:00pm ~ 2:30pm:  Compassion in Practice – Sing, Chant, Dance, Other
Facilitated by Dr. Richard A. Rose, University of La Verne
Panel 4
3:00pm ~ 4:30pm:  Compassion in Charity & Social Work - Exhibits/Projects
Facilitated by Dr. Michael Kerze, Professor of History and Religion, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College.

Organizers & Contact information


Hsilai Friends (a study group from Hsi Lai Temple) and BudaWest (University of the West Buddhist Association).


University of the West                                 
1409N. Walnut Grove Ave                    Rosemead, CA 91770                 

The Conference will be held in the Auditorium.


Jacky Liu                                                                    1409N. Walnut Grove Ave                           Rosemead, CA 91770                                            Tel: 626-297-5511 Fax: 626-677-5482      Email: hsilaifriends@gmail.com

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