As questions of Jewish/ Muslim/Christian relationships and nation-building heat up around the globe, the Edward B. Brueggeman center for dialogue is quietly building an international reputation as a clearinghouse for greater understanding. Most recently, the center has come to the attention of the U.S. State Department, which, on six occasions during the past year, sent groups of Muslim clerics, political workers and educators from a wide range of countries to the center for frank, direct dialogue.
“One of the biggest issues in these sessions is this belief that if you have an election, you have a democracy,” says James Buchanan, director for the center. “We try to convince them that democracy is not about the winners. Democracy is about the losers. It’s about extending rights to the minorities. It’s about our fear of the tyranny of the majority.”
Feedback has been positive. The groups have expressed appreciation for both the openness of the discussions and the idea that the center takes them—and their issues—seriously.