Faculty from the University of Uyo in southern Nigeria invited the Dialogue Institute to its campus, May 8-12, 2017, to help launch the new Centre for Deep Dialogue and Critical Thinking.
Dialogue Institute (DI) Founder and President Leonard Swidler was scheduled to participate and offer the keynote address as part of the official unveiling of the new center, but was unable to make the trip at the last minute; former DI Board member and chair Uli Kortsch presented the address in his stead. In cooperation with Dr. Effiong Udo and Dr. Donatus Ukpong from the University of Uyo, he—along with current Board member William Cullinan and DI program associate Olabisi Animashaun—also helped lead several days of dialogue training for nearly 50 members of the University community and other area clergy and students. William also offered a lecture on dialogue and Buddhism for the gathering.
Professor Swidler will remain an ongoing consultant to the new center. Inspired by his legacy of scholarship and activism, the University of Uyo initiated the vision for this unique partnership—beginning when Dr. Udo, a lecturer in the Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, visited DI staff in Philadelphia in April of 2016. The DI and the University of Uyo are committed to support logistical and management details appropriate to the successful operation of the new center. In line with a mutual interest to expand academic and scholarly programs that promote dialogue, the two institutions will continue to work together toward a shared mission to reduce religious violence and increase understanding and tolerance among religions of the world.
"We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration with the Dialogue Institute so that our future plans and activities around and beyond Nigeria will be a success," said Dr. Udo.