In 2010, the United Nations designated the first week of February each year as "Interfaith Harmony Week.” The time is devoted to join individuals and communities of faith together in tolerance, peace, and mutual respect—honoring each faith’s deep commitment to the founding beliefs of “Love of God and Love of the Neighbor” or “Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor.” Each year, Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry hosts special events and private gatherings for this worldwide Interfaith Harmony Week. We recognize that harmony can only happen when we are unafraid to discuss the truly difficult and important issues of our day.
In 2014 , Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, Spehar-Halligan Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Collaboration in Interreligious Dialogue hosted the dinner conversation. In addition to his academic credentials, Rev. Dr. Kinnamon served as a past General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and worked closely with Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), on a variety of issues, including issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly as it pertains to American Jewish-Christian relations, which was the subject of his presentation and conversation. At the 2013 dinner, a panel comprising a rabbi, an imam and a minister discussed “What are the barriers to the harmony we seek?” Following their presentations, there was ample time for discussion of this crucial issue both with the panelists and at individual tables of guests.