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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to deliver Weil Lecture on American Citizenship

View the lecture online

Video from the 2011 Weil Lecture is now available online:click here to view it.


From UNC News Services

Imam Feisal Abdul RaufImam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has led an effort to build a controversial inter-faith cultural center in lower Manhattan, will deliver the 2011 Weil Lecture on American Citizenship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The free public talk, "Unfinished Dreams: America, Religion and Citizenship," is hosted by UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities and will be at 7:30 p.m. March 16 in Hill Hall. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets will be required (see details below). 

The biennial lecture, supported by private funds, is the featured event in a series of conversations on American citizenship in the coming weeks. Last fall, a faculty committee representing a range of disciplines invited Abdul Rauf to deliver the lecture. The committee has organized two panels that will lead up to the talk.

Abdul Rauf, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Kuwaiti-born imam, founded and chairs the Cordoba Movement, which seeks to improve understanding among people of all cultures and faiths.

Abdul Rauf promotes the Cordoba House, a center to encourage multi-faith understanding at Park51, the proposed cultural center located near the site of the World Trade Center tragedy. While Abdul Rauf plans to lead inter-faith activities at the center, he is neither speaking for Park51 nor raising funds for the center in his current appearances around the country. Besides UNC, he will speak at other universities, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

Abdul Rauf leads Masjid al-Farrah, a mosque at a different site in Manhattan. He also founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the first Muslim organization committed to bringing American Muslims and non-Muslims together through programs in academia, policy, current affairs and culture.

“The Weil Lecture brings people to campus to stimulate discussion about American citizenship,” said Bill Balthrop, Ph.D., interim institute director and professor of communication studies. “There is no doubt that Abdul Rauf will spark thoughtful conversations.”

In addition to the Weil lecture, the institute, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, hosted two free public panels on citizenship. A Feb. 22 panel addressed civil discourse; another, on March 1, discussed religious pluralism.

In 2003, Abdul Rauf led cultural awareness training for FBI employees in the bureau’s New York field office. In 2007 and twice in 2010, he traveled to the Middle East to talk about religious tolerance and Islam in America as part of a speaker program organized by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs.

His publications include the books “Islam: A Search for Meaning,” “Islam: A Sacred Law (What Every Muslim Should Know About the Shariah)” and “What’s Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West,” which the Christian Science Monitor rated among its five best books of 2004. It was re-released in 2005 as “What’s Right With Islam Is What’s Right With America.”

Students, faculty and staff with UNC One Cards were able to pick up lecture tickets beginning on Feb. 28 at the Memorial Hall Box Office, 140 E. Cameron Ave. – one ticket per One Card; two One Cards per person. Starting March 3, the remaining tickets were available to the general public to pick up in person at the box office – limit two tickets per person.

On March 16, the lecture will be broadcast live to an overflow location, the Hanes Art Center auditorium, where seats will be available to UNC students, faculty and staff as well as the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets will be required. Hanes is beside the Swain visitor parking lot off East Cameron Avenue and an alley leading off Franklin Street beside the Carolina Coffee Shop.

The Weil Lecture, founded in 1915 by brothers Henry and Solomon Weil of Goldsboro, has been given by speakers including presidents Taft and Carter; U.S. Senators J. William Fulbright, Nancy Kassebaum and John Kerry; Eleanor Roosevelt and the late Daniel Schorr, a CBS and National Public Radio correspondent.

Each succeeding Weil generation has continued a tradition of philanthropy and community involvement, leading in causes including women’s suffrage and civil rights and serving as UNC trustees. The Weil lecture is one of many contributions to the University by the Weil family.

The institute supports UNC faculty through programs on leadership and teaching, showcasing faculty work and seeking to form collaborative, interdisciplinary groups that promote intellectual exchange.

Ticket Information

Tickets are sold out. Please view our overflow venue information below:

Hill Hall Ticket Information—All tickets must be picked up in person from the Memorial Hall Box Office.

  • UNC One Card Holders (Students, Faculty, Staff): Free general seating tickets will be available starting Feb. 28. One ticket per One Card, limit two One Cards per person. You must present your One Card at the time of pick up.
  • General Public: Free general seating tickets will be available starting March 3, limit two tickets per person. Please call the box office first to ensure ticket availability.

Memorial Hall Box Office Information

Address: 140 East Cameron Avenue
Phone: (919) 843-3333
Website: http://memorialhall.unc.edu/
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday–Friday

Overflow Venue: Hanes Art Center Auditorium Information

On March 16, the lecture will be broadcast live to an overflow location, the Hanes Art Center auditorium, where seats will be available to UNC students, faculty and staff as well as the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets will be required. Hanes is beside the Swain visitor parking lot off East Cameron Avenue and an alley leading off Franklin Street beside the Carolina Coffee Shop.

Speaker Rules

The University respects the rights of speakers invited to campus to be heard and to complete their presentations, regardless of the content of their speech. The University also respects the right of individuals to protest and express their views.

The guidelines at this link apply to events hosted by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and follow University protocol for speaker events occurring inside University buildings.

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