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Oasis Scientific Committee

Interpreting tradition in the age of mestizaje of civilisations

Oasis’ international network is back in Venice



Tradition: what it means to religions and its actual impact on plural societies



The International Scientific Committee of the Oasis Foundation ( ) is set to meet again on 22-23 June at the Fondazione Cini in Venice. The topic of this year’s annual meeting will be Tradition, what it means to the Catholic and Islamic faiths and its impact on plural societies faced with news demands generated by the new intermixing of different cultures and religions.


What does tradition refer to? Among other things, it refers to the need to “integrate” minorities into contexts that are different from those of their home countries. And it also refers to the need for legislation governing social life that is rooted in the history and culture of a nation rather than in abstract concepts.


The Fondazione Cini will host two days of charged activities. A number of honored guests from different places and backgrounds will attend; together they constitute Oasis’ international network of contacts and represent its heart and soul.


Previous meetings of the Committee were held in Venice (2004 and 2005), Cairo (2006), Venice (2007) and Amman (2008).



N.B.: The traditional press conference will be held at the end of the proceedings at 1.15 pm, on Tuesday 23 June.



The programme of the two-day event and the list of participants follow.



Anyone who wants to participate must be accredited (depending on openings) and must contact Maria Laura Conte, phone +39 347 1589822,






Fondazione Cini – Venice



Monday, 22 June 2009



First Session



9.30 am – 9.40 am Introduction by Dr Martino Diez, director of the Fondazione Internazionale Oasis.


9.40 am – 10.00 am Address by H.E. Card Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice. About the inevitable cultural interpretation of faith


10.00 am – 10.20 am Dr Paolo Gomarasca, Tradition/testament/inheritance, for a hermeneutics of tradition


10.20 am – 10.40 am Fr Michel Cuypers. The role of tradition in the Islamic faith


10.40 am – 11.00 am Prof Malika Zeghal. What is a tradition?Waht is dialogue? The case of Islam in the USA 



11.00 am – 11.30 am Break



Second Session



11.30 am – 11.50 am Prof Azzeddine Gaci, Islam in Europe, a tradition in the making.


11.50 am – 12.10 pm Prof John Milbank, Rethinking religions’ public place


12.10 pm – 13.00 pm Open discussion on the various papers presented



13.15 - 14.45 pm Lunch



Thirds and fourth sessions



15.00 – 16.30 pm Discussion


16.30 – 17.00 pm Break


17.00 – 18.45 pm Discussion



Tuesday 23 June 2009



First Session



8.45– 9.00 am Introduction by Dr Roberto Fontolan, Oasis editor


9.00– 11.00 am Open discussion



10.00 – 11.30 am Break



Second Session


11.30 am – 12.30 pm Open discussion


12.30 pm – 12.45 pm Closing address by H.E. the Patriarch



13.15 pm Press conference by Card Angelo Scola and other international guests



Speakers who will open the committee’s proceedings:



Paolo Gomarasca is a Researcher in Moral Philosophy and teaches Institutions of Anthropology in the Faculty of Sociology at the Università Cattolica in Milan His latest book is Meticciato: convivenza o confusione? (Métissage: Coexistence or Confusion) (Marcianum Press, 2008).


Michel Cuypers is a Brother of Jesus. After living in Iran he moved to Egypt in 1989 where he is a member of Dominican Institute for Eastern Studies (DIES). His focus has been on the study of the Qur‘anic test.


Malika Zeghal is Associate Professor of the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion and Islamic Studies in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. She is particularly interested in Islamist movements and in the institutionalization of Islam in the Muslim world.


John Milbank is a Christian theologian and Professor in Religion, Politics and Ethics at the University of Nottingham.


Azzeddine Gaci heads the Islamic Regional Council of the Rhône-Alpes Region, France



For more information about Oasis, its resources (journal, newsletter, website, books, research and events) and committee, check out its website

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