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2/19/2014 8:36:00 AM
Oregon man to speak at Vatican peace conference
Gary Spanovich
Gary Spanovich

Gary Spanovich, executive director of Portland's Wholistic Peace Institute, has been invited to deliver a keynote speech at a Vatican conference on cultural diplomacy and religion. The symposium, set for March 31-April 3, will include more than 300 religious and spiritual leaders, leading politicians and diplomats, senior academics and other dignitaries from around the world. Organizer is Berlin-based Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

The symposium will explore the use and potential of inter-faith dialogue to promote discourse with the ultimate goal of global peace promotion and unity of faiths. The event will emphasize the necessity for global players to commit to open interfaith dialogue.

Spanovich will talk about how inter-faith dialogue can reconcile the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he calls the "tap root" of violence in the Middle East.
"If this conflict can be resolved then peace will flow out on the Middle East like water on a garden," Spanovich says. He holds out hope that the three Abrahamic faiths — Christian, Judaic and Muslim — can engage fruitfully.

Spanovich, an oblate at Mount Angel Abbey, has been working with the Dalai Lama since 2000. The institute works with Nobel Peace Prize laureates. This year, Spanovich is bringing former Polish president Lech Walesa back to Oregon.

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