Goshen College Professor of History Jan Bender Shetler and 2007 alumnus Dawit Yehualashet Kebede will give this year’s annual C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture, titled “What We Can Learn from Ethiopia and the Meserete Kristos Church about Building Peaceful Relations between Muslims and Christians,” Monday at 10 a.m. in the college’s Church-Chapel and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building Room 28.

This student-professor team has collaborated on research in Ethiopia for the past four years, after working together on the college’s Maple Scholars project in the summer of 2006. They have focused on exploring how Muslims and Orthodox Christians have been able to maintain peaceful relations, particularly in the walled city of Harar, over the last century. The lecture will look at the Mennonite-related Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia as a model for interreligious peacebuilding, while maintaining strong religious identities. The Monday morning lecture will focus more on the city of Harar, and the Tuesday evening lecture will concentrate on the Mennonite experience of Muslim-Christian relations in Ethiopia.

“This story is one we think is really important,” Shetler said. “The typical story of Africa is one where things have gone badly, and this is one where people have a culture of peace that’s long lasting and that comes out of grassroots organizations of people together.”

Shetler and Kebede have each spent a summer in Ethiopia working on this research. They have finished gathering information, and plan to publish their work in scholarly journals this summer.

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