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Spring 2003 | Volume 26, Number 2 | Campus
New Symposium Honors the Palestinian Heritage of Late Professor Wadad Saba

, a Palestinian Christian and beloved professor of music, voice and opera at Seattle Pacific University, had a vision for her Middle East homeland. Colleague and Professor of History Don Holsinger describes Saba’s hope for Israel and Palestine this way: “Two states peacefully existing side by side in mutual recognition, with liberty and justice for all residents of the Holy Land.”

Saba, who worked through Palestinian aid organizations to raise funds for the medical and educational needs of children in the West Bank, died of cancer in 2002. But her legacy lives on in the Wadad Saba Symposium, which drew capacity crowds in February, including many from Seattle’s Palestinian and Israeli communities.

The keynote address, “A Vision for Hope: Prospects for Palestinian-Israeli Peace,” was delivered by Jonathan Kuttab, Palestinian Christian, pacifist and human rights lawyer in Jerusalem. He spoke passionately of Palestinian lands being seized and of Palestinians imprisoned and tortured. “And yet, despite a life immersed in the painful conflict,” says Tim Dearborn, SPU dean of the chapel, “Kuttab spoke with a sense of humor and hope.”

Although he recognizes that the Christian community in America is not of one mind over either the cause or the resolution of the conflict, Dearborn describes the symposium as a success. “It brought together strong voices on behalf of a U.S. policy to ensure justice for the Palestinians and Israelis,” he says. “We heard the full range of views on the subject.”

Kuttab also spoke as part of a panel moderated by Holsinger. Panel members — with representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam — included Jim Wall, former editor of Christian Century; Magid Shihade, a Muslim Palestinian and graduate student at the University of Washington; Yaffa Moritz, an Israeli-American and co-founder of the organization Beyond Borders; and others.

Julie Mullins, a junior from Shawnee, Oklahoma, appreciated hearing from a spectrum of people on the topic. “It made me think about how true compassion, especially in the context of Christianity, is about looking to the interests of all people, about seeking truth beyond one’s natural or cultural boundaries.”

A check for $10,000 from the estate of Wadad Saba was presented at the symposium by Saba’s sister, Laila Salibi, to establish the Wadad Saba Scholarship Endowment for students majoring in vocal music.

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From the President
Cultivating hope in the face of chaos is vital today. "This is the time for a Christian university to dig down deep into its formative foundations … and decide quite clearly what bread we have to offer,” says President Philip Eaton.

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