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Center for Faith and Vocation
Center for Faith and Vocation

Religion Seminar Series, 2017-2018

Butler University Center for Faith and Vocation Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs  presents

Religion, Refugees, and Migration

Four Public Seminars: September 19, October 17, January 23, and February 27

Each seminar meets from 7:00–9:00 PM at the Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center; Butler University, 4600 Sunset Avenue.

For parking on Butler University’s campus, patrons should park in the Sunset Avenue Parking Garage. Fees can be found at

The Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs is a program of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University, promoting understanding of interfaith and intercultural relations through the discussion of religious issues in global perspectives.

We wish to thank our internal partners, including Global and Historical Studies for their sponsorship as well as the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice and the Philosophy, Religion, and Classics Department for the partnerships.

We are also thankful to our community partners for their collaboration, including the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, the Immigrant Welcome Center, and Catholic Charities Indianapolis Refugee and Immigrant Services.

Moving from Majority to Minority: Middle East Refugees 

Tuesday, September 19, 7:00 PM

Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center

This seminar will focus on the experience of those who move from Middle Eastern contexts to new places where they are often viewed with suspicion.

Keynote Speaker

Joshua LandisDr. Joshua Landis is the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, and professor in the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. He is interviewed regularly on platforms like PBS News Hour, Charlie Rose Show, CNN, and Fox News for his insights into current events involving Syria.


Rima KhanRima Khan Shahid has been the Executive Director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana since October 2015, in which capacity she seeks to cultivate interfaith harmony, build a diverse, inclusive Hoosier Muslim community, and preserve civil liberties for all Hoosiers.

African Responses to Forced Displacement 

Tuesday, October 17, 7:00 PM

Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center

Neighboring countries within Africa have played the biggest role in welcoming refugees fleeing genocide and civil war. This seminar’s speakers reflect diverse perspectives on the movement of people within Africa as well as beyond.

Keynote Speaker

Jan HoltonThe Rev. Dr., Jan Holton has conducted ethnographic research in various parts of Africa and has authored two books, Longing for Home: Forced Displacement and Postures of Hospitality (2016) and Building the Resilient Community: Lessons from the Lost Boys of Sudan (2008). Holton served on the faculty at Yale University Divinity School and currently works with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, CT.


Kizito KalimaKizito Kalima is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and founder of the Peace Center for Forgiveness and Reconciliation. Kalima has spoken to a variety of audiences nationally and internationally, including the  nited Nations and the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide.

Robin TurnerDr. Robin Turner is Associate Professor of Political Science at Butler University, research associate of the Society, Work, and Development Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and coordinator of the African Studies minor at Butler University.

The Ethics of Migration and Welcome in the Americas

Tuesday, January 23, 7:00 PM

Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center

Controversy over immigration into the United States from elsewhere in the Americas has led to a proposal to construct a wall along the southern U.S. border, as well as faith organizations, schools, and municipalities declaring themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.

Keynote Speakers

Miguel De La TorreRev. Dr. Miguel A. de la Torre is the Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and the Executive Officer for the Society of Race, Ethnicity and Religion. De La Torre is a Fulbright scholar and author of The U.S. Immigration Crisis: Toward an Ethics of Place (2016).

John McColloughThe Rev. John L. McCullough is President and CEO of Church World Service, a global humanitarian agency with programs in development, advocacy for social justice, and refugee assistance. He has overseen the agency’s concentration on sustainable access to food and water and served as a member of the White House Task Force on Global Poverty and Development.

Hoosier Hospitality, Refugees, and Immigration

Tuesday, February 27, 7:00 PM

Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center

The stories of refugees and migration are the stories of people who live in Indianapolis and its vicinity—stories of those who have come here from elsewhere, and stories of those who welcomed them to their new home.


Naw PhawNaw Phaw is from Burma and the Director of Language Services at LUNA Language Services. She is on the Board of Directors at Exodus Refugee Immigration, and also works as a volunteer with the Immigrant Welcome Center.

EMMANUEL MUSINGARev. Emmanuel Musinga is the pastor of Grace Tabernacle Church in Indianapolis, a congregation serving refugees from Congo like himself.

Mastora BakhietMastora Bakhiet is the founder of the Darfur Women’s Network and Director of the Women Development Section in the Community Development Administration for the Jebel Marra Rural Development Project in Darfur.

The Syrian Refugee Support Group of IndianapolisThe Syrian Refugee Support Group of Indianapolis is a group of volunteers dedicated to providing much-needed assistance to Syrian refugees in Indianapolis. The panel will feature a representative from this grass roots local Syrian support network.

Maria Pimentel-GannonMaria Pimentel-Gannon serves on the board of directors of the Immigrant Welcome Center and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation.

Previous Years' Brochures

For many years Butler University has sponsored the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs. In 2003, the Lilly Endowment Inc. funded the creation of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University which now sponsors the Butler Seminar. Below is a selection of past seminars in the form of the original brochures that were created for each event.

World Christianity in the New Century, 1999–2000

Religion and Law at Home and Abroad, 2003–2004

Religion and Science, 2004–2005

Religion and Media, 2005–2006

Religion and the Corporation, 2006–2007

Secularism and Religion in Global Perspective, 2007–2008

Darwin, Religion and Society, 2008–2009

Jerusalem: Traditions, Realities and Prospects, 2009–2010

Religion, Peacemaking and Conflict, 2010–2011

Global Christianity in the 21st Century, 2011–2012

Religion and Global Health, 2012–2013

Freedom of Expression and Religion, 2013–2014

Religion and Reconciliation in Global Perspective, 2014–2015

Religion, Race and Culture, 2015-2016

Religion and Trans Lives in a Global Perspective, 2016-2017 (View the recorded series sessions)

For more information, please go to


The Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs is a program of the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University, promoting understanding of interfaith and intercultural relations through the discussion of religious issues in global perspectives.

The Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice, a joint project of Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary, promotes the legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu with his holistic understanding of reconciliation grounded in justice, human dignity, and social transformation.

Religion, Refugees, and Migration has been generously supported by the following Butler University departments: the Efroymson Diversity Center; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; Global and Historical Studies; and Philosophy, Religion, and Classics.

After each event, video will be available on this website.