Luther Lecture

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Luther Lecture - Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb

The 42nd annual Luther Lecture took place on Monday, October 1, 2018 at Luther College at the University of Regina. Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb delivered a lecture entitled "Faith in the Face of Empire: A Palestinian Christian Perspective."

View Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb's full lecture here.

Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, is a Palestinian Pastor, Founder and President of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, and co-recipient of the 2015 Olof Palme Prize. As a Pastor in the Lutheran church, Raheb sends a clear message to the young generation of Palestinians: “We want you to live, not die, for Palestine.” In a Bethlehem confined on three sides by the walls of the occupying Israeli power, and with Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture that he founded and his innovative artistic education in film, art, and drama, Raheb has made it possible for young people to investigate their Palestinian identity, to nurture beauty, and to invest in a culture of life as tools for a creative resistance against suffocating confinement and towards nation building.

Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb was born in Bethlehem in 1962. He received his theological education in Germany, including a doctoral degree from the Philipps Universität of Marburg, and has been the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem since 1988.

The most widely published Palestinian theologian to date, Dr. Raheb has authored 16 books and numerous articles in English, German and Arabic. He is perhaps best known for his books I am a Palestinian Christian (published in German in 1994 and in English in 1995), Bethlehem Besieged (2004) – detailing the turmoil and terror of living under the Israeli siege of Bethlehem in 2002 – and, most recently, Faith in the Face of Empire: the Bible Through Palestinian Eyes (2014). He was also one of the drafters of the Kairos Palestine document issued to the churches of the world in 2009. In his writings he strives to formulate a contextual theology for Palestinians within their history and in light of the reality of Israeli occupation.

Dr. Raheb is, however, no mere armchair theologian. In order to promote change and awareness in Palestinian civil society, he founded the International Center of Bethlehem (Dar Annadwa Adduwalia) in 1995. Located in a renovated building, the Center includes a cultural and conference center, with a theater, media center, restaurant, guest house and meeting spaces. The Dar al-Kalima Health and Wellness Center, housing health clinics and fitness facilities, was added in 2003.

In the field of education, Dr. Raheb spearheaded the foundation of Dar al-Kalima school, with its emphasis on participatory learning, critical thinking and creativity, in 1998. Dar al-Kalima Academy (now Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture) followed in 2003, and today offers programs in visual and performance arts and tourism studies.

Dr. Raheb is widely travelled, having lectured in more than 20 countries, and has received numerous awards and recognitions, as well as his share of criticism. His awards include the Wittenburg Award from the Luther Institute in Washington, D.C. (2003), the German Peace Award of Aachen (2007) and The German Media Prize (2012). Most recently, he, together with Israeli journalist Gideon Levi, were awarded the Swedish Olof Palme Prize (2016) for “their courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence”.

Currently, Dr. Raheb is the President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, as well as President of the Diyar Consortium, responsible for administering the International Center and various educational, culture and health institutions and initiatives in Bethlehem. He is married to Najwa and is the father of two daughters: Dana and Tala.

The Luther Lecture was established by Luther College at the University of Regina in 1977 with the purpose of making a distinctive and stimulating contribution to the life of the University and the general community. Annually, a distinguished scholar or leader of note is invited to give a public talk on matters of spiritual and social importance.

The 2018 Luther Lecture is provided in part through a generous grant from the members of Faith Life Financial, the James Kurtz Memorial Trust Fund, and Canadian Lutheran World Relief.