The Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW) Iowa Outreach Program is presented by the Civilizations Exchange & Cooperation Foundation in partnership with Abdelkader Education Project (AEP).

Religious Diplomacy in a Time of Division & Polarization

When: Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Where: Sussman Theater (Olmsted Building), Des Moines

What: Drake University Lecture from Imam Mohamed Bashar Arafat about “Religious Diplomacy in a Time of Division & Polarization”.

With domestic challenges facing American society today, the escalating tone of division in a rapidly diverse America could and should be addressed constantly through “Religious Diplomacy and The Art of Outreach.” This diverse environment mandates that clergy and community leaders receive constant training to successfully interact with various communities. Combining Theology, Spirituality, and Diplomacy has not been easy, but it is feasible.

Imam Bashar’s lecture will address how, despite domestic challenges facing American society today, the nature of religious freedom in America and the progressive interfaith movement is giving the new generation the hope that they will be able to deal with the problems that are beginning to arise.

We are pleased to engage with the Des Moines community that is actively employed in a wide varitety of intercultural and inter-global activities.

Lunch and Learn with Imam Bashar

When: Friday, October 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Where: Turner Jazz Center, Des Moines

What: Lunch & Learn with Imam Bashar

To Register:

┬áLearn about the intercultural and inter-religious experiences and programming of Imam Mohamed Bashar Arafat, especially as he and Iowa’s own Abdelkader Education Project prepare for a virtual Better Understanding for a Better World Conference in Iowa October 21-23.

Hosted by the Principal Center for Global Citizenship and the Comparison Project, Drake University welcomes community members to a lunch and learn with Imam Mohamed Bashar Arafat. Lunch will be provided for all attendees and masks will be required while not eating.

This free event will be held in the Patty and Fred Turner Jazz Center. Please register (which garuntees your free lunch!) at

Imam Bashar, imam of masques and professor at universities in the D.C. area for the last 32 years, founded Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation in 2000, which has provided religious and cultural training and support to YES students and host families of the U.S. Department of State’s sponsored exchange programs since 2004. He is also convener of 39 Better Understanding for a Better World, high school youth leadership and interfaith conferences in the U.S. and abroad since 2006, international speaker on “Islam in America” throug the U.S. Department of State in 44 countries since 2005, and founder of Al Basheer Seminary, Interfaith Center, and Institute, which in partnership with CECF, offers two to three-week International Observer Programs to train delegations of religious and community leaders and educators in the U.S. through U.S. Embassies worldwide.

Additional Opportunities

8:30 am visit to the Des Moines Jewish Federation, 33158 Ute Avenue – Director Bob Goldberg will offer a tour, leaders from the Jewish community will be present.

10:30 am visit to AlRazi Academy, Muslim day school 1119 5th Street, West Des Moines – Principal Ihsan Yaseen will offer a tour.

12:00-1:00 pm Lunch and Learn with Imam Bashar (see above)

1:15 pm Jumu’ah Friday Prayers at Islamic Center of Des Moines 6201 Franklin Ave. Join the Community for Friday Prayers. Women please wear long pants/dress, long sleeves, bring a scarf to cover hair. Men please wear long pants/sleeves. Be prepared to remove your shoes at the entrance.

6:00 Shabbat Service at Temple B’nai Jeshurun 5101 Grand Ave. Join the community for Shabbat worship. The Imam has been invited to speak at the service.


For more information and/or questions, please contact the Civilizations Exchange & Cooperation Foundation at, +1 202-230-3984, or by visiting their website at

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