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August 31, 2023

SVSU lecturer will discuss how public academic institutions can foster interfaith dialogue

“Religious Identity & University Discourse” Thursday, September 21

Woman in yellow headscarf

As part of its longstanding Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series, Saginaw Valley State University will host speaker Najeeba Syeed, J.D., on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the lecture. 

Syeed will discuss how public academic institutions can foster interfaith dialogue, religious inclusion and religious literacy.

Dr. Waheed Akbar, who created the Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series, said, “Over the years, I have followed and watched Dr. Najeeba Syeed’s career and her work. She is the ideal speaker to present at the Raana Akbar lecture Series on Islam and Culture at SVSU. She is nationally known as a leader in interfaith work and mediation work on diversity, equity and violence prevention. I felt she would be an ideal candidate to bring her perspective to our lecture series and to the Great Lakes Bay Region. I am truly excited to be able to invite her to share her views and work with us.”

Syeed is the El-Hibri endowed chair and executive director of the Interfaith Institute at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. She has been a professor, expert practitioner and public speaker for the last two decades in the fields of conflict resolution, interfaith studies, mediation, education, deliberative democracy, and social, gender and racial equity.

She has published widely on conflict resolution and social justice. Syeed has provided  mediation services to a variety of public, private and governmental institutions, including the White House.

In 2021, Professor Syeed served as chief of staff to Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman, the first Asian American woman elected to council. She has also led a number of organizations focused on peacebuilding, justice and conflict resolution. Syeed holds a juris doctor degree from Indiana University School of Law.

The Dr. Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series was created in 2011 by Waheed Akbar in memory of his wife, Dr. Raana Akbar, a former SVSU Board of Control member, physician and community leader. 

This lecture is presented with support from the William and Julia Edwards Lecture in Philosophy and Religion and the Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists Endowment.

The Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists program was established at SVSU through an endowment from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to enrich our regional cultural and intellectual opportunities.

The William and Julia Edwards Lecture, made possible through a gift from the couple and supported by the William J. and Julia M. Edwards Foundation, is a forum where recognized scholars in religion and philosophy are invited to share their work with the SVSU campus community.