Mermiack College, a Catholic College near Boston will award its third biennial prize for Jewish-Muslim dialogue to Dr. Yousef Waleed Meri, visiting professor in the Department of Studies of Islam in the Contemporary World at the University of Jordan in Amman. Goldziher (1850-1921) was a Jewish scholar who established Islamic Studies as an academic discipline in European universities.
Professor Meri has taught at the Institute of Ismacili Studies, London, and was a research fellow at St. Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge, where he organized academic conferences for the Woolf Institute, broaching questions of Jewish and Muslim identities and interactions. He was a Fellow and Special Scholar in Residence at the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan, where he worked on and was an original signatory to “A Common Word,” an interfaith document of strategic importance. He crosses the often impenetrable boundaries between Jew and Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian, by the exercise of good sense, scholarly commitment, and deep respect for others. His work is a sign of hope for a world so often torn by political and religious strife.
The two finalists for the prize are Dr. Ingrid Mattson, London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; and Dr. Edward Kessler MBE, Founder and Executive Director of the Woolf Institute and Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge.
The prize worth $25,000 will be presented to Dr. Meri at an award dinner in November 2014 at Merrimack College. Prior to the dinner, students of the College will attend a symposium with Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Imam Khalid Latif of New York University entitled “Can a Jew and a Muslim Be Friends?”