University president from Beirut to speak on religious diversity in the Middle East

March 4, 2014

Rev. Paul Haidostian

The Rev. Paul Haidostian, president of Haigazian University in Beirut, will present "Religious Diversity in the Middle East Today: A Blessing or a Curse?" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 24, in Quad 264 at Saint John's University.

The presentation, sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, is free and open to the public.

In his lecture at SJU, Haidostian will draw on his experiences as an administrator, academician and theologian to analyze current religious trends and developments that challenge communities in the Middle East and elsewhere. He will also discuss the implications of the topic for interreligious living in the world.

"The Middle East is known to be the cradle of many civilizations including the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam," Haidostian said. "Yet, the same region is better known today for political and military conflicts that increasingly and violently undermine the constructive meaning of religion and the celebration of the rich diversity that could ensue. But are there not in the Middle East genuine expressions of peaceful coexistence and dialogue, whether structured or not?" 

Haidostian, who earned his Ph.D. degree in pastoral theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, has been president of Haigazian University since 2002. An ordained minister of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, he has served as chair of the central committee of the union since 2010. 

Lecturing and writing in Armenian, Arabic and English on topics ranging from pastoral theology and psychology to ecumenism and socio-political issues, Haidostian has published articles and sermons in numerous journals and newspapers. He currently serves on the editorial advisory board of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.