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Speaker Series Connects Tech Students to World Religions

Throughout the spring semester, students of WVU Tech’s World Religions course will meet with featured speakers from a wide range of religions for a series of lectures and discussions covering Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Unitarian Universalism.

During the convocations, attendees will discuss topics ranging from a specific religion’s practices and sacred texts to principal beliefs about birth, death and the afterlife.

“The world religions course is meant to bring education and awareness about the diversity in religion. Many students, and people in general, are not exposed to this diversity,” said WVU Tech sociology professor and World Religions course instructor Dr. Janis Rezek. “It promotes acceptance of this diversity.”

The convocation are designed for World Religions students, but are open to members of the WVU Tech community interested in attending the lectures.

The convocation series begins on Monday, February 1, with speaker Dr. Ravi Isaiah, Director of the Pastoral Care Department at CAMC. Born in India, Dr. Isaiah moved to the United States in 1973. He holds a degree in psychology, a masters in divinity and a Ph.D. in counseling. Isaiah will be discussing Christianity.

The following Monday, February 8, WVU Tech’s chair of the Computer Science and Information Systems department, Dr. Ranjith Munasinghe, will discuss Buddhism. Munasinghe earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wyoming, has worked internationally as an engineering and has been a professor at WVU Tech since 1992.

The February 15 convocation will feature Dr. Sameh Asal, who will discuss Islam. Lead of the Islamic Association of West Virginia, Asal earned his Ph.D. in Islamic studies at an international Islamic university in Cairo, Egypt. Prior to coming to West Virginia, Asal served as Imam of the Islamic Association of Raleigh in North Carolina, where he participated in community outreach and promoted interfaith relationships with Christian and Jewish faith leaders.

Speakers are chosen for their unique experience and educational perspective on their religion.

“I take care to always have professional, educated speakers who come at the religion from an academic viewpoint,” said Rezek. “They offer a perspective that I could not offer and that a text book could not offer.”

All convocations begin at 6 p.m. in COBE 117.

More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. WVU Tech students and community members interested in attending the convocations should keep an eye on the WVU Tech calendar.