2012 was a year of change, growth, and expanding vision for the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace (ICMEP). An extremely successful fundraiser with Dr. Arum Gandhi, a large anonymous gift, and a large gift from the Happy Way Foundation were very encouraging. Our monthly programs for 2013 reflect this new financial reality – virtually each of the programs now brings speakers from all around the world speaking on Middle East peace and justice issues. Also, some of the monies donated by the Happy Way Foundation were designated to assist us in marketing our programs. Our goal of increasing attendance at our monthly programs to 120+ was achieved. In 2012 we began a relationship of underwriting with NIPR’s WBOI, PBS 39, and the Fort Wayne Cinema Center. In short, we have begun to plan bigger programs with wider impact, and dream bigger dreams about how we can have a positive impact in the community both now and into the future.
ICMEP’s Mission Statement was changed in 2012. The former mission statement: “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” was changed. While the focus remains the Middle East in its broadest understanding, the new mission statement allows us the ability to address peace and justice issues more broadly; it also reflects our support of fundraising and resource sharing efforts of other like-minded organizations. The new Mission Statement is: “We promote justice, peace, and human rights locally and globally through education, the arts, intercultural dialogue and resource sharing.”
ICMEP added a new board member in 2012: Rev. Dr. Fred Hasecke.
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 accepted the Punjabi Cultural Association Community Partnership Award, November 2012.
Dr. Spath also was invited by Mayor Thomas Henry to be a part of the planning team (with the mayor’s staff) of One City, Many Faiths: Prayers for the City, April 21, 2013.
Dr. Spath also led the first annual Medical Mission and Listening Tour – Audiology in Bethlehem, with HearCare Audiology of Fort Wayne, March 2012 (23 participants, two of whom were audiologists and one, a reporter for the Fort Wayne News Sentinel). Much of the rest of 2012 was spent in planning for a second audiology medical mission in March 2013, as well as Dr. Spath’s 7th “study and solidarity tour,” June 2013.
Dr. Spath, representing ICMEP, was also featured in the following:
- Indiana’s state-wide Branches Magazine, Centerfold Article, Nov.-Dec. 2012, “We Are Neighbors in a World House”
- Fort Wayne Speaks podcast, November 2012, “Dr. Michael Spath and Indiana Center for Middle East Peace: Bridgebuilder”
- Fort Wayne Reader, Cover Article, May 2102, “Areas of Confluence: Dr. Michael Spath and Indiana Center for Middle East Peace work to foster Interfaith Dialogue”
- Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Feature Article, March 8, 2012, “Michael Spath – Devoted to Courageous Work: Resident bridges religious divides”
- Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Feature Article, February 22, 2012, “Taking the Gift of Hearing to the Holy Land”
- In addition to his responsibilities teaching full-time in Religious Studies at IPFW, and serving as Theologian in Residence at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, Executive Director Dr. Michael Spath, representing ICMEP, gave the following community presentations
- Three Palestinian Gandhis – Zoughbi Zoughbi, Mitri Raheb, Elias Chacour, Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, December 2012
- Mosaic of Faith series: Islam – 3 weeks, Grace Episcopal Church, November 2012;
- My Neighbor is Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist – Religious and Cultural Diversity in Fort Wayne and Allen County, IPFW, October 2012
- Mosaic of Faith series: Judaism – 3 weeks, Grace Episcopal Church, September 2012
- In the Very Beginning: Religion Before Adam & Eve, Plymouth Church, September 2012; + The Hearing Smile: Changing the World Two Ears at a Time, First Presbyterian Church, June 2012
- Health Care for the Muslim Patient, IPFW, April 2012
Finally, ICMEP offered the following community events:
- Dr. Arun Gandhi – Gandhi’s Vision for a Just Peace in the Middle East, October 2012. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Isa and Betty Canavati, we hosted a cocktail party for our generous benefactors. Great thanks goes to the Planning Committee who organized all the events, including the silent auction, and whose efforts resulted in a very successful weekend.
- Daoud Nassar – The Tent of Nations: A Bethlehem Educational, Environmental Farm, November 2012. Thanks to our efforts, we assisted Daoud in raising $2000 for Tent of Nations ministries.
- Dr. David Waas (History, Manchester College) and Dr. James Toole (Political Science, IPFW) – President Obama and Present Middle East Challenges, December 2012
- Uniting the Children of Abraham Youth Retreat, October 2012
- L. Michael Spath – Room for Hope: Images of Hope & Suffering in Post-Nakhba Palestinian Art, September 2012
- A very successful collaboration between ICMEP and First Presbyterian Church Art Gallery. Special thanks to Ms. Suha Abbasi from the Muslim community in town who very generously provided the Middle Eastern sweets and treats for the evening. Including the sale of paintings, we assisted Bright Stars of Bethlehem in raising over $1500 for their ministries. Over 250 in attendance.
- Andrew Spath – “Esh-sha’b Yuriid” (The People Want): Syrian Society amid Uprising & Insurrection, June 2012
- Diyar Dance & Drama Group from Mitri Raheb’s International Center of Bethlehem, May 2012. A very successful collaboration with Plymouth Congregational Church and Bright Stars of Bethlehem in introducing Palestinian culture, music, and dance to our area. Thanks to our efforts, we assisted the Bright Stars of Bethlehem in raising $5000 for their ministries of support for the International Center of Bethlehem (Rev. Mitri Raheb). Over 330 in attendance.
- L. Michael Spath (with panel: Dr. Ron Caldwell, Luci Foltz, Terry Dougherty)– Building Hope on Desktops: The Mar Elias Educational Institutions, April 2012
- L. Michael Spath – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Peacemakers in Israel and Palestine, February 2012
- Susan Fox, The Little Women of Baghlan, January 2012.
Respectfully submitted on this 16th day of February 2013,
L. Michael Spath, D.Min., Ph.D.
Indiana Center for Middle East Peace