12/8: Community Interfaith Dialogue

Moderator:Norma Hirsch
  • Norma Hirsch, Professor of Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University
  • Younes Ali Younes, imam of the Islamic Center of Des Moines
  • Ksenija Milinkovic, presbitera of St. Demetrius Serbian Orthodox Church
  • Ajahn Jackson and Ajahn Somphan, Wat Phothisomphan

Thursday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.
Iles Funeral Homes, Dunn’s Chapel
2121 Grand Ave, Des Moines

Among other questions, the panel seeks to explore beliefs about what happens after death and practices concerning what must be done before and after death. Representatives of three different local refugee communities will explore these beliefs and practices from the perspectives of their religious traditions: Vietnamese Buddhism, African Muslim, and Serbian Christian. The panelists will focus particularly on the tensions between traditional theologies and rituals of death, and the way in which death has increasingly become the domain of medicine and law.

Audio of the Panel:

Audio of the Q&A:

Interfaith and Multicultural Fair

tippet-picturesInterfaith and Multicultural Fair

November 15, 4 to 6 p.m., Parents Hall, Olmsted Center

The Iowa Interfaith and Multicultural Fair, scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. in Drake’s Olmsted Center, will feature representatives from 15 central Iowa faith communities—including three Jewish synagogues, three Christian churches, three Muslim mosques, two Hindu temples, two Buddhist temples, and two Sikh temples. The fair is sponsored by The Comparison Project at Drake University, the Drake Community Press, and the Des Moines Area Religious Council.

The fair will feature music, food, photography, information, and religious objects from each of the participating faith communities. Attendees will also have an opportunity to pre-order copies of a photo-illustrated, student-written book about “Religions of Des Moines,” which is being written and produced by The Comparison Project, the Drake Community Press, and local photographer Bob Blanchard. The book is expected to publish in spring 2017.


The Interfaith and Multicultural Fair will precede the 37th Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture with Krista Tippett, taking place at 7:00 p.m. at Drake University’s Knapp Center.

Tippett is host of On Being, a Peabody Award-winning public radio program and podcast that traces the mysteries of human existence. In addition to being one of the world’s leading journalists covering faith and religion, Tippett is also an advocate for civil discourse. Her latest initiative, the Civil Conversations Project, fosters a series of conversations, public events, and resources to help heal the divisions within our communities.

Prayers to Death and Dying: A Trivium of Sorts to a "Santa Muerte" Book of Devotions

Eduardo Garcia Villada

Associate Professor of Spanish, Drake University

Thursday, November 17, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University
In this presentation, Prof García interprets the texts of Santa Muerte prayers through the study of their grammar, logic, and rhetoric and in relation to social factors in contemporary Mexico. This presentation also examines Christian and Aztec/Mexican views on life, death, and dying along with the dynamics of conqueror-conquered.

Garcia Villada’s research interests are in the areas of Spanish language proficiency assessment, and Latin American cultural studies in computer-assisted language learning environments. He has published his research in CALICO Journal, Hispania, Journal of Latinos and Education, and Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.

Video of the Lecture