January 6, 2005
05-003

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Dr. Ari Santas Professor and Acting Head Department of Philosophy 229-333-5949, Dr. Vrnda Chaitanya Louie A. Brown Visiting Scholar 229-333-5949

VSU's Philosophy Department to host Global Diversity PlanningConvention - New Photos from January 2005 Meeting

Valdosta State University's Philosophy Department will play host to a planning convention January 13-16 for a Global Diversity Coalition of religious and spiritual leaders scheduled to meet in Valdosta in January 2006. The inaugural session will be on Thursday, January 13th in the University Center's Magnolia Room from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Dr. Vrnda Chaitanya, VSU's Louie A. Brown Visiting Scholar, said the Global Diversity Coalition is being established to promote the United Nation's eight Millennium Development Goals. These goals include poverty reduction, primary education for all, reduction in child mortality rates, improvement in maternal health, empowerment of women and girls, finding a cure for HIV/AIDS and other diseases, environmental sustainability, and developing a global department for development.

Chaitanya said the Global Diversity Coalition will emphasize the pressing need for 'spiritualizing? the so-called secular arenas of world politics and socio-economic development. She said the Global Diversity Coalition will bring together like-minded leaders from mainstream and indigenous religious and spiritual traditions, academics, activists, artists, business-people, and representatives of non-governmental bodies. She said the hope is to initiate dialogues that can culminate in viable partnerships among different bodies based on the shared commitment to global equity, mutual respect, and peaceful co-existence.

The Planning Convention is scheduled to discuss collaborative initiatives, and arenas of partnerships for coalition and grass roots organizing, and innovative strategies for the equitable use of common resources, and for the development of sustainable solutions for global social problems. Some of the leaders scheduled to attend the Planning Convention are the following:

Rev. Dr. Hans Ucko (World Council of Churches, Geneva)
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp (Chief Rabbi of Netherlands, Amsterdam)
Rabbi Malka Drucker (Union for Progressive Judaism, Santa Fe)
Dena Merriam (Global Peace Initiative of Women, N.Y.)
Prof. Amir Al Islam (N.Y.)
Prof. Carol Locust (Indigenous Leader, Tucson, Ariz.)
Dr. Leela Fernandes (Rutgers University, N.J.)
Dr. Wande Abimbola (Yoruba Spokesperson, Nigeria)
Mr. Prosper Ndabishuriye (Youth Leader, Bujumbura, Burundi)
Rev. Chang Ji (Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan)
Rev. Guo Ming Fa shi (Taiwan)
Ms. Cathryn McNaugton (Peace Point Foundation England)
Mr. Bob Chastain (American Indian Movement Leader)
Mr. Virgil Ellison (American Indian Movement Leader)
Dr. Ekua Omosupe, (Professor, Watsonville, Calif.)
Revs. Arlene and Mervin Colver (Life Light University, Cable, Wis.)
Dr. Arife Hammerle (International Sufi Association)
Sister Joan Burke (Sisters of Notre Dame, DC)
Ms. Marcie Lipscombe (UN Commission on the Status of Women)
Dr. Victoria Rue (Catholic Deacon, Artist and Playwright)
Ms. Eileen Silon (New Age Healer and Seer)
Ms. Elaine Walters (Spiritual Interventions to Domestic Violence, Eugene, Ore.)
Ms. Elizabeth Araujo, Mayan Leader Guatemala

VSU faculty and staff are invited to the inaugural ceremony to meet and welcome the participants.

For more information about the Global Diversity Coalition Planning Convention please contact the VSU Philosophy Department at 229-333-5949. Additional information on the 2005 and 2006 conferences at VSU can be found by visiting the website at http://www.gdcmdg.org/index.html .

Photos:
1. http://www.valdosta.edu/news/site_photos/gdc_05/1.jpg
2. http://www.valdosta.edu/news/site_photos/gdc_05/2.jpg
3. http://www.valdosta.edu/news/site_photos/gdc_05/3.jpg