Humanity Day is the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh's (ICP) premier outreach event. Held annually during the sacred month of Ramadan, it’s a time when the ICP invites its friends and neighbors of all faiths to celebrate and honor members of the Pittsburgh community who are working to initiate dialogue and build bridges, thereby strengthening our bonds of humanity.
In this spirit, we strongly urge you to bring along a favorite teacher, colleague or friend. By meeting one another and hearing stories of the human condition, we are reminded of our common humanity, our shared existence and the ties that bind us together. This year, the ICP is excited to honor those educators, professors and teachers, who have gone above and beyond to develop respect and mutual understanding of different faiths and cultural traditions.
Our keynote speaker, Alia Bilal of the renowned Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago, is a freelance writer and dynamic speaker with a degree in International Studies and a concentration in Islamic World Studies. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto will also be speaking, along with Sheikh Atef Mahgoub of the ICP.
The program will conclude with a complimentary banquet in observance of breaking the fast. Humanity Day this year will be held July 13th at 6:30PM at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. Please save the date and email email@example.com to RSVP for you and your guests.
7:00 Welcome address: Julie Webb, Outreach Coordinator
7:05 Opening Remarks: Sheikh Atef Mahgoub
7:15 The Honorable Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh
7:30 Presentation of Awards
- Fr. Thomas M. Hart, Saint Vincent College
- Dr. Marinus Iwuchukwu, Duquesne University
- Dr. Fran Leap, Seton Hill University
- Julianne Slogick, Mt. Lebanon High School
7:50 Keynote speaker, Alia Bilal
8:50 Call to Prayer
9:00 Maghrib prayer
Buffet immediately following
Alia J. Bilal works for the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a non-profit community organization that fosters health, wellness, and healing in the inner-city by organizing for social change, cultivating the arts, and operating a holistic health center. In her five years at IMAN, Alia has worked on development, community organizing and policy, advocating on issues related to food, criminal, and juvenile justice, and strategizing around creative new ways to get healthy foods and safe physical activities into Chicago neighborhoods. Currently, she serves as Manager of Donor Relations, where she is responsible for cultivating and maintaining individual donors in order to sustain and advance IMAN’s critical social justice work.
A native of Chicago’s South Side, Alia graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in International Studies and a concentration in Islamic World Studies. She studied Arabic and Islamic history in Cairo, Egypt, and was an intern for the Muslim Public Service Network in Washington, DC. Alia has given talks and conducted workshops on the connection between faith and social justice, IMAN’s community organizing model, and access to healthy food both locally and across the United States. She is an appointee of the Equity Advisory Council of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and is currently working on writing and editing her first novel.
Dr. Marinus Chijioke Iwuchukwu specializes in Interreligious Dialogue, Religious Pluralism, History of World Religions, and Media and Religion. His Ph.D. dissertation, which focused on interreligious dialogue in modern media society using Jacques Dupuis's model of inclusive religious pluralism and Walter Ong's dialogic media, has been published in a book with the title: Media Ecology and Religious Pluralism: Engaging Walter Ong and Jacques Dupuis Toward Effective Interreligious Dialogue.
Dr. Iwuchukwu is the current chair of Duquesne University Christian-Muslim Dialogue consortium, the International Outreach Editor for the Journal of Interreligious Dialogue and an editorial board member of Pinnacle Journal Publication. He is a co-editor of a book titled Can Muslims and Christians Resolve Their Religious and Social Conflicts? Cases from Africa and the United States. His most recently published book is titled: “Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Postcolonial Northern Nigeria: The Challenges of Inclusive Cultural and Religious Pluralism.” He has four published book chapters and four other book chapters in the press as well as several peer reviewed journal articles and book reviews. He has presented academic papers in dozens of national and international conferences. His college teaching experience spans approximately twenty years in Nigeria and the United States.
Dr. Fran Leap, a lifelong Catholic, has taught Religious Studies at Seton Hill University for more than twenty years. She has encouraged her students to engage in interfaith dialogue through study in their coursework and through field visits at worship centers to talk with other believers. Dr Leap affirms that “to know only one [religion], is to know none,” as writer Max Mueller has noted. It is in dialogue over the questions of life can we begin to know ourselves better and become effective citizens of our globe. Religious belief is clearly a strong factor in our contemporary world. Only by recognizing and reverencing its energy can we build the bridges of respectful challenge and mutual cooperation so sorely needed today. Academic research and interfaith friendships over the years have given Dr Leap many blessings. On sabbatical in spring 2008 she spent a semester studying the Qur’an in Luxor, Egypt, experiencing that scripture as the living faith of its people.
Father Thomas M. Hart, O.S.B., was born in 1957 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, youngest of six children. He earned a bachelor of arts in theology and philosophy from the University of Steubenville, OH; master of divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, PA; and did graduate studies in biblical theology at the Catholic University of America. He made monastic profession in 1984, and ordained a priest in 1988.
At Saint Vincent he was named to the college faculty in 1993, where he was chair of the Religious Studies/Theology Department from 1997 until 2007, where he continues to teach. In 2002, he was appointed to serve as Assistant to the President for Mission, a function which he maintains up to the present. He taught in the Religious Studies Department at West Virginia University from 1994 to 1997. His secondary interest is in interreligious dialogue. (He frequents the Islamic Center for lectures and tours with many students throughout the years.) Father Hart has had articles published in various journals which are devoted to the intersection between academic study and spiritual application. He contributed to Purity of Heart and Contemplation: A Monastic Dialogue between Christian and Asian Traditions. He holds memberships in The Catholic Biblical Association, the Society of Biblical Literature, and The Pittsburgh Jung Society.
Julianne Slogick M.A., is a native of Pittsburgh. She attended Dickinson College for her undergraduate studies and Duquesne University for her master's degree. She began her teaching career in the Central Bucks School District in eastern PA and has been teaching at Mt. Lebanon High School for over ten years. She currently teaches the 10th grade World Cultures class and Comparative Religions, which is an elective class. At the moment, she is most excited about her involvement in the development of a Global Studies program at Mt. Lebanon, for which she is writing a new course titled, “Introduction to Global Studies.”
[Although there are over 50 high schools in Allegheny County, there is only one Allegheny County high school teacher, (Julianne), who within the last two year routinely schedules high school field trips every semester to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh; Over the years she has brought close to one hundred students to the mosque as well as other houses of worship.]