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September 29, 2001

UW-RF Sponsors Public Forum on Islam on Oct. 9

"Understanding Islam" is the topic for discussion at a public forum sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences at UW-River Falls and scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the River Room of Rodli Commons. The session will be led by Steven Derfler, who will address the nature of Islam, sectarianism in Islam, and Islamıs relationship with Judaism and Christianity.

Derfler is an international educational consultant, public speaker, archaeologist, historian, researcher, teacher and writer who for nearly 25 years has traced the development of Western religions from their roots in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean countries. He brings insight to current political and social events, bridging the past with the future to promote greater understanding between people from different faiths and walks of life.

Derfler has been a part-time lecturer for political science and history courses at UW-RF, and is currently teaching an outreach course there on the subject of ancient Near East. He also operates a private, nonprofit educational organization, Educational Resources Incorporated, whose mission is to promote understanding and tolerance between different ethnic and religious groups through innovative, interdisciplinary programming.

At UW-RF, the response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 9 has been to bring students, faculty and staff together to talk through the trauma. The forums and gatherings have given them a chance to discuss what happened and why, and how the events will change the way they do business and live their lives.

The public is invited to the forum. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion following the presentation. For more information, call the Deanıs Office for the College of Arts and Sciences at 715/425-3366.

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