This meeting took place  November 30-December 3, in Oslo, Norway. this was a continuation of the Abrahamic meeting that has been organized over more than ten years by Peace Research Institute of Oslo and the Catholic University of America through the active role of Professors Breger, Destro and Iravani.

this meeting brought together scholars from Iran, Europe, and the US, to discuss ” Religious Violence: Causes and Remedies”.



The meeting was hosted at Schlaining Castle in Stadtschlaining, Austria, from 26 to 28 November 2017, by the Austrian Chairmanship of the OSCE, the Swedish Institute Alexandria, the Institute for Islamic Strategic Affairs (IISA) and the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR). It was a follow-up meeting to the meetings in Alexandria in April and in Istanbul in July this year hosted by the Swedish Institute Alexandria and the Institute for Islamic Strategic Affairs (IISA).

The previous seminars and this expert consultation meeting address the lack of mechanisms for dialogue in the MENA region amid multiple existential crises.

Dr. Iravani had opportunity to share his ideas and concerns and learn from other scholars 

Dr. Iravani attended a round table workshop, Perspectives on the Role of Religion in Diplomacy, Foreign Policy and International Affairs, on the 17-19 November 2017. This workshop was hosted by SwedAlex, the Swedish Institute Alexandria in collaboration with Forward Thinking. 

The meeting brought together high-level parliamentarians and political leaders, government officials and experts in the field from diverse perspectives from Europe, the Gulf, Middle East and North Africa (Gulf-MENA).  

This workshop aimed to build on a report that was produced in March 2017 by the Helsinki Policy Forum and to which Dr. Iravani contributed, “Discussion Papers: Religious Literacy, Foreign Policy & Diplomacy” –  a copy of which that can be accessed on this website:

It was an opportunity to facilitate a discussion around religious literacy and diplomacy; to explore perspectives on the accommodation of religious and non-religious worldviews in society; and aims to raise awareness and increase understanding of these issues in order to inform policy-making.





Dr. Akhlaq presented a paper at annual conference of American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, 2016 in order to discuss how misunderstanding still run among Islamic and the Western intellectual about each other.  This paper addresses two vital issues: how this misunderstanding are strange to the roots of Islamic culture and the Western Enlightenment; and how this ignorance leads to the tragedy like Charlie Hebdo Shooting. The presentation appeared later on the “The Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies” (Villanova University Villanova, PA) Spring 2017, VOLUME 40, 3 entitled “The Source of the Problem: Both Islam and the West Have Forgotten Their Roots (A Philosophical Study of the Charlie Hebdo Shooting) 


Dr. AKhlaq from CSIME contributed to a recently book called “Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy.” This book, published in UK by Equinox eBooks Publishing, 2017, tries to examine the role of Islamic Gnosticism in promoting diversity and mutual respect among different faithful with vary background. Dr. Akhlaq’s paper entitled “Looking Inside the Heart: The Universal Appeal of God and Humanity as Reflected in Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Fusus al-Hikam and Maulana Rumi’s Mathnawi Manawi.” This study illustrates both Rumi and Ibn Rabi’s perspectives on religious pluralism.


Dr. Akhlaq co-edited a 793 pages volume with Prof. John Hogan on the relation between secular approach and the religious/sacred approaches among many different cultures, philosophies, and religion. It is called, “The Secular and The Sacred: Complementary and/or Conflictual?” Two articles of this volume on Hermeneutic in Islamic Sharia and rationality in Islamic Culture are authored by Dr. Akhlaq.

Lectures and Public Presentations:

Dr. Akhlaq represented the CSIME’s view in a very welcomed op-ed published on Huffington-Post entitled “Easter Hope: Imam in a Catholic Seminary.” This paper suggests the experiences of an Imam living a couple of years among Christian priests and brothers. It highlights how religious leaders from different background can learn from each other and enrich their faith.


Approaching new education year, hundreds of students from Islamic countries came to the USA to grow up in an inter-faith context and become young leaders of tolerance and co-existence. For their official invitation, on August 9th 2017, Dr. Akhlaq, representing CSIME, gave them a lecture explaining how Islamic practices happen in the USA. The lecture was equipped with PowerPoint Slide Show and followed by Q and A.


Representing the CSIME, Dr. Akhlaq participated in a lunch invitation on May 10th, 2017 with several alumni of inter-faith program from nine different countries in Washington DC.  Students represented multiple faith backgrounds with a shared belief of the importance of interfaith and peace-building work in their local communities. Dr. Akhlaq listened to their ongoing projects and suggested them how to overcome obstacles.


Dr. Akhlaq represented CSIME in the Annual Meeting of Modern Language Association of America in Philadelphia. Dr. Akhlaq gave a speech on Crisis of Refugee and how to deal with students and scholars suffering in this crisis.


Last February Dr. Akhlaq represented CSIME in a live panel broadcasting for students around the world on inter-faith dialogue.   40 alumni from interfaith program from 24 countries around the world participated in a live interfaith panel discussion with Rev. Linda Olson-Peebles, Minister of Faith in Action at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Dr. Paul L. Heck, Founding Director of The Study of Religions across Civilizations (SORAC), &  Imam Sayed Hassan Hussaini Akhlaq, Adviser for the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East in Washington D.C.  Dr. Akhlaq first answered many question for the host and participants on the issue. They were very welcome.



For the last months, Dr. Akhlaq from CSIME is participating in an intellectual and cultural TV Show called “Farhang va Andishah.”  The program airs internationally from Toronto, Canada, for the Farsi speaking audiences from Afghanistan and Iran.  The show attempts to expend the rational analysis on Islamic and Farsi culture and promote tolerance and mutual respect among various communities.


The International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms was held in Tehran on 3-5 July 2017. The International Conference was hosted by the Department of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the cooperation of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, UN Environment and the UN Development Programme, in collaboration with other relevant UN entities.

Mr. David Laylin, board member of the CSIME, attended this conference and spoke about  Helmand/Hirmand/Hamoun challenge and also about the importance of Iranian and US scientists exchanging scientific information about matters like land and water management.

for more information please see

International Conference on “Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics”

4th International Conference on “Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics” (ECOTHEE), was held by Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), June 1-5, 2015. 

Dr. Seyyed Masoud Noori, Research Director of the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East (CSIME), with his researcher colleague, Ms. Maryam Torabi, presented an article at the conference. The proceedings of this conference have recently been published. See Dr. Noori and Ms. Torabi’s article in the attachment.

Dr. Iravani attended the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa for the second time, which was held in Jordan on 19-21 May 2017.

At a pivotal time for the region, the meeting gathered top leaders from government, business, civil society, and the faith community to support a comprehensive and progressive vision for prosperity and peace.

Under the theme “Enabling Generational Transformation”, the programme focused on shaping the unprecedented reform momentum in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Levant and North Africa, as well as looking at the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the region’s key industries. Given Jordan’s unique diplomatic role, the meeting also held high-level dialogues on the humanitarian and security imperatives. The programme also included a special session on rebuilding a multicultural and flourishing Iraq, specifically including representatives from a wide range of Iraqi communities. Meeting convened over 1,000 participants from over 50 countries.

CSIME played a crucial role in bringing highly respected Iraqis to the meeting for the first time which gave them a chance to talk directly to the world leaders and business community about the current situation in Iraq and their hopes and wishes for the future. 

On the Occasion of Imam Husayn (p.b.u.h.) Birthday and the Muhammadan Lights on Sha’bān,

The two secretariats- general of Al-Husayn and Al-Abbas Holy Shrines held The Thirtieth International Spring Martyrdom Carnivalin in  Karbala, where tenth of people from all around the world attended. Dr. Iravani was there for the second time.

During his visit to Karbal and Najaf, he met with Grand Ayatollah Hakim and many other scholars.

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The 65th Annual National Prayer Breakfast was held in Washington, DC on the first Thursday of February 2017. Over 3,500 attendees from all around the world including President of the United States, Member of Congress, and other national leaders gathered, to reaffirm the trust in God and recognize the reconciling power of prayer with others throughout the world.

Since 2003, Dr. Iravani has been invited to this very important gathering and actively has been engaged.

He was privileged to talk at one of the dinner reception of NPB.

Dr. Iravani along with hundreds of national and international friends of Doug, attended the Celebration of Life Service for Doug Coe which was held on March 3rd, at McLean Bible Church, which was a powerful tribute to a life well-lived, a Lord well-served and a friend and mentor who helped us all better understand how to love unconditionally.

Doug Coe visited Iran in 2003 and was a key player in building bridges between Islam and Christianity and US-Iran relation through Ibrahimic Dialogue. Here is what Iravani wrote about him:

In death, they find peace for obeying God, Isaiah 57:2
They (of the people of the Book) believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works; they are in the ranks of the righteous. Quran 3:114
My family and I are morning the loss of our dear friend and bother Doug Coe, who passed away today. I am sure that many people all around the world are going to miss him and be deeply sad and sorry. He was a true servant of God who loved people unconditionally. I have hardly seen in my life someone like him to be so generous to give his best valuable assets, i.e. his friends, without any hesitation to others. I am blessed to have many trusted friends, brothers and sisters all around the world because of him. Although most of his works remain unknown to us (because when he used to give to the needy, did not let his left hand know what his right hand was doing), but even little known to us are countless. He was blessed because he was a peacemaker. He not only brought peace among individuals and families but between leaders and nations all around the worlds.
My family and I would like to offer our sincere condolences to his wife, children and the rest of family and friends at this moment of mourning.
May the comfort of God help them during this difficult time and bless his soul.

 “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”

Thousands of international leaders from all around the world attending the World Economic Forum. The Annual Meeting programme was built with the vision of engaging leaders to deliver on a sustainable and equitable future for all, according to the founder Professor Schwab.

“It has been an inspiring event for me, I have been able to experience, discover, exchange, give and take” says Iravani right before his departure to Davos. “My main goal as a religious figure is to tell the business and political communities that they should take religion and faith leaders and communities more seriously in a positive way. They are and can be a source of peace, harmony, and success. Through, their valuable assets, we can have a better world that is healthier and cleaner. I will emphasis on my all talks and meetings about the importance of restoring trust and fostering cooperation among religious and faith institutions with world Economic and political leaders”. Iravani added.

Dr. Iravain attended the WEF for the fourth time. In addition to private meetings with World leaders, businessmen, philanthropists, scholars, and faith leaders he contributed to 8 different panels and sessions (private and public) as follows:

  • Session on “What Is it to Be Human in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?” at “Open Forum”

The Open Forum exists since 2003 and provides an opportunity for the local Swiss community and global public to join the Annual Meeting conversation and engage with leading experts and decision-makers on some of today’s most pressing issues.

It can be watched at:

  • Leaders of Hope and Faith: Creating the Conditions for Change
  • Responsive and Responsible Leadership in a Multipolar World
  • Restoring Stability in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Multilateral Meeting Prof. Schwab and Religious Leaders
  • Values of a Leader
  • Davos Insights: Addressing Identity through Positive Narratives
  • No Small Hands, Ne Great Walls, Waves of change, crisis & uncertainty- A MENA prospective