Speaker to discuss the need for face-to-face communication

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August 15, 2019

Ayan Omar

Ayan Omar, the recipient of an Outstanding Refugee award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, will present the lecture “Face Value: Communication on a Human Scale” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Centenary Room (room 264), Quadrangle Building, at Saint John’s University.

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

“In this age of social media that so often fosters a distorted sense of human interaction and community, Ayan Omar will discuss the vital importance of face-to-face communication,” said John Merkle, director of the Jay Phillips Center.

“Acknowledging the benefits of social media, Ayan will nevertheless explain why we need to replace much of our technologically mediated communication with the kind of interpersonal engagement that better nurtures authentic human relationships, including those between and among people of different cultural and religious communities,” Merkle added. 

Omar is a Somali-American language arts educator at St. Cloud Technical High School and has given numerous public presentations, especially on Islam and on the traumatic experiences of immigrant students in the United States.

“My educational and refugee background inspires my activism both locally and nationally,” Omar said. “I enjoy sharing how Islamic teachings and human decency are one and the same.” 

Concerning her upcoming presentation at Saint John’s, Omar said “As we all know, faith can’t be tweeted or posted; it is through human contact that we are reminded of God’s purpose for humanity.

“Interfaith dialogue often becomes labored in our digital culture,” Omar added. “We must refocus our attention on the value of the human face and find stories in the faces of faith; we must see and value others through genuine dialogue.”