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Advisory Committee

SABAH ALWAN My particular areas of interests are in cultural diversity, political tolerance, and leadership ideology. I have teaching experience in adult learning programs, from PhD, executive MBA, MS, to undergraduate and weekend college. I have interacted in numerous lectures and international conferences on business and international affairs.

From 1996 to the present I have been inspiring student's thinking through teaching and collaborative learning. I am an Arab, Muslim, father, husband, always searching for and celebrating justice, peace and truth. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq which was a city of lights and magical nights but now has become a city of darkness and the unknown.

GARY BOELHOWER, Ph.D. is a member of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at The College of St. Scholastica where he has previously served as Chair of the TRS Dept., Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies, and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. Previous appointments at Marian College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin have included Chair of the Arts and Humanities Division, Dean of Lifelong Learning, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and founder and Executive Director of the Center for Spirituality and Leadership. He has consulted with educational, healthcare and business organizations on values integration, team processes, and conflict resolution. He has facilitated leadership development programs for executives on dialogue, personal renewal, and authentic leadership. Boelhower has published a dozen education texts and many professional articles. He has presented over 400 workshops and keynote addresses across the United States

RABBI AMY BERNSTEIN is the Rabbi of Temple Israel where she has served for the last nine years. She holds a master of arts degree in Hebrew Letters from and was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. At graduation exercises she was awarded the distinguished Becker Prize for best original Hebrew composition. She holds a bachelor of arts with a double major in English Literature and Cultural Anthropology from Northwestern University. Since living in Duluth, she has served as the President of the Arrowhead Interfaith Council, has taught several courses at St. Scholastica and McCabe Renewal Center and has lectured widely in the Northland. She lives with her partner, their daughter Eliana Fay, and two dogs in Pike Lake

C. NEAL KEYE (Ph.D. 2000 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is assistant professor of History, Politics, and Culture at the College of St. Scholastica and Program Director of the Oreck-Alpern Grant for the Study of Religion and Culture after 9/11. Before coming to St. Scholastica in 2001, he taught at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Religious Studies and for the Program in Social Theory and Cross-Cultural Studies. Professor Keye has held a fellowship in Public Ethics at the Institute of Arts & Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is currently Chair of the "Religion, Gender, and Sexuality" section for the Midwest region of The American Academy of Religion.

Professor Keye's teaching and research interests include modern and contemporary discourses on religion, culture, and history, method and theory in the study of religion, western intellectual history, modern philosophy and aesthetics, feminist theory and gender studies, the history and politics of colonialism, imperialism and globalization, with areas of specialization in modern Europe, India, and the Middle East. He is currently working on a revision of his doctoral dissertation for publication (Messengers of the Gods? Rethinking the Interpretive Turn in the Discourse of the Human Sciences after 9/11), and is working on an edited volume in consultation with Dr. Judith Farquhar (series editor at Duke University Press), Heirs of Twain? Genealogies of Resistance and Dissent in the Age of the War on Terror.

ELYSE CARTER VOSEN, Director of the Interreligious Forum, has invested the majority of her education and career in intercultural and interreligious matters. Her work in this area began with an undergraduate thesis on gender and music based on research within the Hasidic Jewish community in the Twin Cities. She graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN with a B.A. in Music, then earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology of Music from the University of Pennsylvania.

Her dissertation work again brought together gender, performance, and belief, this time within the context of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) youth culture. Her work as an Ojibwe language instructor depends upon continuous engagement with members of the area Anishinaabe community and demands frequent intercultural mediation, generally to help people of European-American descent understand indigenous ways of thinking and being.

At the College of St. Scholastica, she teaches a number of courses that consider the religious belief and practice in relationship to cultural performance, including Popular Music and Political Movements; Dance, Gender, and Culture; World Music, and Ethnicity and the Performing Arts. As a board member on the Arrowhead Interfaith Council and as a member of Temple Israel, she values her work with members of several religious communities to organize meaningful community events. Insights from these discussions and partnerships do a great deal to inform the work of the Interreligious Forum. Elyse and her husband David have two beautiful and curious daughters: Abigail, 4, and Zipporah, born this summer.


JIM PERLMAN has lived in Duluth with his family since 1988.He holds an MA in English from the University of Iowa and a BA in Writing from the University of Arizona. He is the founding publisher and editor of Holy Cow! Press, an independent literary press that has published 75 books since 1977. He and his family are members of Temple Israel in Duluth, where he has organized the annual Silver Memorial Interfaith Lecture series since 2001, whose featured guests include Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Marge Piercy, and storyteller Diane Wolkstein. He was a founding member of the Spirit Lake Poetry Series, served on the board of Lake Superior Writers for six years, and currently serves on the Arrowhead Interfaith Council and the Social Action committee at Temple Israel. He has edited and published two books: BROTHER SONGS: A Male Anthology of Poetry (1979) and WALT WHITMAN: The Measure of His Song (1981, rev. ed. 1998).

SR. SARAH SMEDMAN, O.S.B., Ph.D., holds a bachelor of arts in English from The College of St. Scholastica, a master of arts in English from The University of Minnesota, and a PH.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington, with concentrations in prose fiction and eighteenth-century British literature. Subsequently, she developed specialties in children's literature, young adult literature, and literature of the prairies. She has been a professor at The College of St. Scholastica, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Minnesota State University Moorhead, serving terms as department chair at CSS and at MSUM. At UNCC, she was Director of Graduate Studies in English and at MSUM, Coordinator of the Masters in Reading program. At UNCC she developed and taught the first course in Women in Literature and at MSUM, the first course in literature of the prairies. An active faculty member, she chaired/served continuously on various major university committees, such as Academic Policies, Faculty Search, Tenure and Promotion, and Graduate Studies. Equally active in professional organizations during her academic career, she served in many capacities, most notably as president of the International Children's Literature Association. The recipient of both teaching and research awards, she has published numerous conference papers and articles in refereed journals, particularly in the area of her major research interests-children's and young adult fiction and prairie literature. In 2003, she published Bridges for the Young: the Fiction of Katherine Paterson, which she coedited with a colleague from Missouri State University. After retiring from academia, she returned in November 2004, to Duluth and the Monastery, where currently she is the Director of Continuing Education and Life Development and, again, serves on several Committees.