At this event, the authors and editor of Dialogue Theories, Frances Sleap, Dr Omer Sener and Prof Paul Weller*, will be giving an overview of the book, sharing some insights from their research into diverse dialogue theorists, and commenting on their hopes for the further development of academic exploration of dialogue. Reviewers from different fields will offer their responses to and assessments of the book and there will be time for questions and comments from the floor.
Dialogue Theories aims to advance theoretical and practical engagement with dialogue by introducing the work of ten individuals who have made important and insightful contributions to thought in this area. The thinkers, deliberately drawn from diverse intellectual and cultural backgrounds, include quantum physicist David Bohm, Jewish philosopher, theologian and educationalist Martin Buber, social theorist Jürgen Habermas and Islamic scholar and peace advocate Fethullah Gülen. As well as introducing the key ideas of each thinker, the book discusses the relation of those ideas to practice, discussing a wide range of practical dialogue organisations and projects. Written in an accessible style and assuming no background knowledge, the book aims to inform and inspire anyone with an interest in the meaning, value and potential of dialogue.
*Prof Weller, the book’s editor, will be taking part when available but will not be able to attend every event
Biography of Frances Sleap
Frances Sleap studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford, graduating with first class honours. A master’s degree in the Study of Religions gave her the opportunity to explore religions other than Christianity, feeding her interest in interfaith and intercultural relations. Since joining the Dialogue Society in spring 2010 she has worked on a range of publications, including the Community Dialogue Manuals and a booklet on ‘Making Dialogue Effective’. Frances’s current work includes coordinating the Dialogue Society Success School for young people and contributing to the Dialogue School for students following the MA in Dialogue Studies.
Biography of Omer Sener
Dr Omer Sener is a researcher and freelance writer who holds a BA in American Literature and a PhD in Cultural Studies and Literary Criticism. His research interests include ethnicity, Asian American literature, and cultural narratives. He is particularly interested in intercultural dialogue and dialogue as an academic concept across disciplines. As a Research Fellow at the Dialogue Society, he has so far worked on a number of academic publications, such as Debating Multiculturalism I, and written articles on the theory and practice of dialogue on the Dialogue Society website.
Biography of Paul Weller
Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, where he is Head of Research and Commercial Development in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences. He is a Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford and a founder and Trustee of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby (http:// www.multifaithcentre.org). He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Dialogue Society and a Trustee of the Interreligiöse Arbeitsstelle in Germany (http://www. interrel.de). He was a founder member of the Joppa Group of Baptist Christians engaged in inter-faith dialogue and is currently a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s Inter-Faith Working Group. On a European level he has been a consultant to Belieforama (http://www.belieforama.eu), a community of practice based around the development of a prize-winning training programme in religious diversity and anti-discrimination.
Biography of Phil Henry
Phil has a first class honours degree in Religious Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Derby; he completed a PhD at Liverpool in Religious Studies, writing on Buddhist social movements. He has a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
He is Director of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby, where he has been in post since April 2009. His background is in Religious Studies and the Sociology of Religion. He is a Sociologist at the University of Derby where he also teaches part time. He is a researcher and member of the Society Religion and Belief Research Centre at the University. His latest publication is the book of his thesis Adaptation and Developments in Western Buddhism: Socially Engaged Buddhism in the UK published by Bloomsbury Academic in August 2013. He is currently writing on interfaith youth work and Interactionist perspectives, Higher Education Sector attitudes to the PREVENT Violent Extremism policy in the UK and Eastern European Roma experiences of settlement in the UK since 2005.