Saint Mary's Forum To Explore Interfaith Dialogue

The Great Interfaith Conversation: Sharing Values for a Better World

What: The Great Interfaith Conversation: Sharing Values for a Better World is an interfaith forum that will feature Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim panelists who advocate for interfaith dialogue and will discuss the growing importance of inter-religious literacy. Presented by Saint Mary's Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism (CERP) and the Islamic Network Group (ING), this forum will explore issues surrounding religious intolerance globally and will promote religious understanding through an informative discourse about differences, commonalities and how each religion can engage in respectful conversation and cooperation with other faiths, while still holding to its own fundamental convictions.

The forum is the first in a series of Great(est) Conversation(s) in celebration of Saint Mary's Sesquicentennial year. The series takes its name from “The Great Conversation,” a name for the Saint Mary’s Collegiate Seminar program, a hallmark of the College’s curriculum in which students read and discuss the great books of the world.

The members of the panel for the Great Interfaith Conversation are:

Ameena Jandali  (Islam)
Jandali is the editor of all programmatic content for the Islamic Network Group. She oversees development of outreach materials for American Muslims as well as educational presentations and cultural competency seminars for interfaith speakers. She completed her graduate work in Near Eastern Studies from the UC Berkeley.
Sulochina Lulla, M.D.  (Hindu)
Dr. Lulla is a practicing physician with Kaiser Permanente and is a board member of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and a member of the ING speakers bureau on Hinduism. She received a Masters in Public Health from San Jose State and a medical degree from  Mysore University in India.|
Ken Maki  (Judaism)
Maki is a former chairperson of the East Bay Jewish Community Relations Council. He has worked extensively with ING as part of its interfaith speakers bureau for the past five years. Maki is also a computer consultant and owns his own IT firm.
Dianne Muller  (Christian)
The moderator for the panel, Muller works in the field of interfaith discourse. Raised Catholic, she completed her graduate work on interfaith dialogue at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley and received a certificate from the Center for Islamic Studies, also from the GTU. She was a panelist at the World Parliament of Religions in 2009, where she addressed the need for interfaith training among seminarians.
Audience members can participate in the Great Interfaith Conversation during a a question-and-answer session that follows the panel discussion.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where: Soda Center, Saint Mary's College of California, 1928 St. Mary's Road, Moraga, CA 94556

Cost: Free and open to the public

Background: The Great Interfaith Conversation: Sharing Values for a Better World is sponsored by Saint Mary's Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism (CERP). The center addresses issues in the public square by engaging religiously diverse perspectives to work toward a more inclusive political culture and solutions to public policy issues. The forum is also sponsored by the Islamic Network Group (ING). A nonprofit organization, ING's mission is to counter prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relations between American Muslims and other groups.  For more information on the interfaith forum, contact Prof. Barbara McGraw, director of Saint Mary's Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism. McGraw can be reached at 925-631-4061 or by email at


Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222 office
(925) 878-9535 cell

About SMC
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For nearly 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 3,800 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.