The Rumi Forum presented “Islamic Thought and the Making of Our Global Future: Challenges and Contributions” with George F. McLean, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
We move from a period in which “the freedom agenda” was supposed universal, self-understanding was national, and relations between peoples were implemented in terms of national self-interest. Now the hyphen returns to the term “inter-national,” which in turn is being replaced by “global”. We are challenged to think in terms not of a compilation of competing nations, but of the global whole. What is the role of Islamic thought and its proclamation of the one God in this transition? Specifically, what are the special difficulties endemic to the modern West in thinking globally? What resources does Islamic thought bring to this endeavor? What developments in Islamic thought could enable its contribution to be more effective in the realization of our common future?
Professor George F. McLean is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. He studied in Washington and Rome; was a research scholar in Paris, Cairo and Madras; founded the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) and serves as general editor of its 220 volume series: “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change” focused especially on the transitions in Eastern Europe, China and Islam (see www.crvp.org for full texts). Since the early 1990s Professor McLean has taught for a month in Qom, Iran and lectured at the al-Azhar University in Cairo; he delivered the Iqbal Lecture in Lahore, Pakistan and recently completed a series of conferences at 10 universities across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Moslem country. Last year at the RVP/Center for the Study of Culture and Values (CSCV) at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., he directed a month long seminar on living Islam faithfully in modern times. The 12 participating international Moslem scholars then founded the International Society for Islamic Philosophy (ISIP): President, G. Aavani, Tehran; Vice President, Osman Bakar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This seminar will be repeated this year and related to an in-depth study of the sacred and the secular (see www.crvp.org).
Stephen F. Schneck is director of the Life Cycle Institute at The Catholic University of America since 2005, Stephen Schneck comes from an academic career in political science. He has served as chair of the Department of Politics at The Catholic University of America for nine years and as associate professor in that department for thirteen years. A political philosopher by training, he is the author or editor of several academic books and is a well-known commentator and lecturer in the Washington area on topics of religion and politics.