Trudy Conway, Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Mary’s University, talking about her trip to Turkey with RumiForum:

Trudy Conway

I am Trudy Conway. I am a Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Mary’s University which is in Maryland. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel extensively in the Middle East. I was a professor with my husband at Shiraz University. My experience over the last thirty years; we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary soon; is a deepening spiralling into the Middle Eastern culture, and I feel that my life has been tremendously enriched by this. In many ways what RumiForum is about is what our marriage is about. So the trip has been wonderful, because it is affirmed at a communal level what I think we live in our marriage. I teach courses on intercultural dialog and the situation of the woman in the Middle East, and I also teach the courses concerning the virtues that are required for intercultural dialog.

I often; talking to my students; say only so much can be conveyed in books. So there should be a lot of films where at least Middle Eastern people are present in using their own voices. But I always say to them to open the Middle East requires that you have face-to-face interactions, and that they would come to know the virtues that define Middle Eastern culture, and I always emphasize for them the definitive virtue is hospitality. In many ways hospitality is at the essence of intercultural dialog because you view the other person as coming bearing gifts, and as exactly what Rumi says “What we go come into better understand ourselves and doing that come into understand the other better”. So in many ways this trip has been an embodiment of so much that we live and so much that I write on and teach. So it has been a delightful pleasure, and I also think it is a wonderful embodiment of liberal arts education. We see the kind of enrichment that comes in terms of understanding of our own commitments and values through learning about all these different disciplines. I don’t know it is that good fortune this week but the fact that we have such a diversity of disciplines and that we have been so enriched by these conversations. So I am very grateful for the opportunity for you to set up this; really an affirmative experience!”