The Indiana Center for Middle East Peace (ICMEP) has as its Mission: “to promote critical awareness of issues that impact a just peace in the Middle East and to facilitate intercultural and interreligious encounters locally and globally.”
ICMEP is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We have no paid staff, no permanent home and rely solely on volunteer support for time, talent and resources to achieve our mission. To that end, we host a variety of educational programs throughout the year, have a web site that lists resources for those who are interested in reading Middle East media and books about the Middle East and participate as a group and as individuals in opportunities for education and study throughout the area.
Representing ICMEP, Executive Director Dr. Michael Spath is a National Board member of Pilgrims of Ibillin, the US-based support organization for Archbishop Elias Chacour, and the Mar Elias Educational Institutions in the Galilee, as well as an Area Representative for Bright Stars of Bethlehem, the US-based support organization for Rev. Mitri Raheb, and the ministries of the Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem.
Representing ICMEP, Executive Director Dr. Michael Spath, gave the following community presentations
- Inter-religious Dialogue in Fort Wayne and Allen County, Crime Victim Care of Allen County, Fort Wayne, IN – 2/4
- Peacemaking and Conflict Mediation in the Christian Tradition, Heartland Church, Fort Wayne, IN – 7/17
- The Sands of Eternity: Heaven on Earth, Sand Mandalas in Tibetan Buddhism – 10/13 Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN
- Meet Me In St. Louis: Manifest Destiny, Imagined Geographies, & 1904 World’s Fair – 11/2, Anthropology Club, IPFW
- Why Do People Suffer – An Interreligious Conversation – 11/9 Canterbury School
- Dalia Eshkenazi Landau (from Jerusalem) and The Open House of Ramle – 11/27, Plymouth Congregational Church
2011 was a particularly active year for ICMEP, offering the following programs.
In January, ICMEP hosted Jewish, Christian, and Muslim teens from the Re-Uniting the Children of Abraham retreat of the previous October; they reported on their retreat experience, what they learned about each other’s faiths and what they learned about themselves in the dialogue.
In February, in partnership with First Presbyterian Church, ICMEP hosted popular Manchester College professor of history, Dr. David Waas, speaking about the Arab Spring throughout the Middle East, Contemporary Issues in the Middle East.
In March, ICMEP partnered with Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County, IPFW Campus Ministry (Rev. Ben Gates) and evangelical partner, Heartland Community Church (Rev. Ron Allen), to host from Great Britain, author of the seminal work on Christian Zionism, Dr. Stephen Sizer, who gave two presentations on The Bible, Christians, the Holy Land: the Dangers of Christian Zionism – one on the campus at IPFW and a community presentation at Heartland Community Church. Dr. Sizer also gave a historical overview of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to Dr. Spath’s IPFW Religion and Culture class.
In April, partnering with the Women’s Studies Program at IPFW, ICMEP sponsored a very exciting dramatic presentation for the entire community on the IPFW campus, Afghan Women Write, based upon writings of young women from the School of Leadership Afghanistan. Featuring three local actors, Women’s Studies faculty, and two young Afghan women authors, under the direction of a local theater director (Kate Black), the audience learned about the lives and hopes and obstacles and dreams of Afghan women in their context.
In May, ICMEP was pleased to host, in partnership with Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County, from Jerusalem, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, who discussed their work as the “rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel.” Rabbi Ascherman addressed a gathering of pastors as well as gave a community presentation while in Fort Wayne.
September was a particularly busy month for ICMEP. In partnership with Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County, Lifebridge Community Church, and STAR 88.3, ICMEP sponsored Forgotten People Conference: Hunger, AIDS, and Christians in the Holy Land. Featured speakers for the conference were:
Dr. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World, Washington DC
Ms. Lynne Hybels, Willowcreek Community Church, Chicago, IL
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, International Center of Bethlehem, Palestine
Princess Kasune Zulu, World Vision International AIDS activist, Zambia
ICMEP also hosted, in partnership with Plymouth Congregational Church UCC (Rev. John Gardner), Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, International Center of Bethlehem, who spoke on the topic of “The Role of the Arts in Creating a Culture of Hope in Palestine.”
ICMEP also hosted area representatives from all around the country of the Bright Stars of Bethlehem, the US-based support organization for the ministries of the Diyar Consortium. ICMEP also raised $38,000 for a “Fort Wayne Room” at the Dar Annadwa Fine Arts College in Bethlehem.
Finally in September, ICMEP sponsored, with CONFLUENCE: Northeast Indiana Interfaith Alliance and IPFW Office of Diversity and Multi-Cultural Affairs, a Unity Walk in celebration of UN’s International Day of Peace. The event was held at IPFW and featured representatives (especially children) from nine religions in the community.
October was also a very busy month for ICMEP. With generous financial support from Plymouth Congregational Church UCC, sponsored the second Reuniting the Children of Abraham retreat, with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim teens. Dr. David Jolliff, Dr. Sherwin Kepes, and Ms. Amani El-Hefni served as camp counselors and facilitators.
Because of its emphasis on intercultural and interreligious dialogue, ICMEP was also one of the hosts of a very exciting visit of Tibetan Buddhist monks from Dehra Dun, India, whose primary US sponsor was the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, IN, whose director, Arjia Rinpoche was also present. The monks created a sand mandala at the Sand Mandala in the main lobby of the downtown Allen County Public Library, which was viewed by more than a thousand people. And Arjia Rinpoche also spoke at the Allen County Public library on the subject of his new book, Surviving the Dragon.
In October, ICMEP also hosted Ambassador Edmund Hull and IPFW Professor Dr. James Lutz to speak on the topic, Al-Qaeda, the US, & War on Terror. Both are respected authors on the topic of terrorism, with Ambassador Hull having recently served in Yemen and within the US State Department as one of the government’s most highly respected resources on the subject.
In November, in partnership with Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, ICMEP hosted two members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Peggy Gish and Rev. Jan Long, speaking on the topic, Christian Peacemaker Teams Witness for Justice in Middle East. CPT member, Cliff Kindy, also participated.
In November, the Tibetan Buddhist monks returned to Fort Wayne, and ICMEP, along with various departments at IPFW, and Plymouth Congregational Church UCC, sponsored public presentations by Arjia Rinpoche (from the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, IN) and a cultural program by the monks. Programs were held both on the IPFW campus and at Plymouth Congregational Church UCC.
In December, ICMEP held its annual fundraiser, with its featured speaker, Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, from The Open House of Ramle, in Israel, and one of the main characters of Sandy Tolan’s internationally-acclaimed and award-winning The Lemon Tree. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Jerry and Diane Mackel, we hosted a cocktail party for our benefactors. Great thanks goes to the Planning Committee for events, who organized all the events, including the auction, and whose efforts resulted in a very successful weekend.
Dalia Eshkenazi Landau was also the featured speaker for the final ICMEP-sponsored event of the year (along with CONFLUENCE: Northeast Indiana Interfaith Alliance and a dozen local peace, justice, congregations, and human rights organizations) event of the year, the fourth annual Interfaith Prayer for Human Rights, in n celebration of UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Representatives of nine religions in the community participated.
L. Michael Spath, Executive Director
2011 Financial Report
79 Donors for 2011
Auction income 2011 = $6,215.00
Dinner Gross 2011 = $10,090.00
Dinner and Reception expenses including Honorariums 2011 = $5,303.59
Individual Donations for 2011 = $3,789.75
Total Donations for 2011 = $14,001.16
Speaker Fees and Expenses = $7,656.00
Geneva Center, RAC Expenses = $2,038.50
Checkbook & Bank ending balance 30 December 2011 = $16,049.95
Accounts Receivable = $3,791.03
Accounts Payable = $2,105.16
Investments $64.21 x 5 = $321.05, 30 December 2011
30 December 2011 Total Funds available = $13,944.79
John E. Detraz, Vice President / Treasurer