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Religions, spirituality, ethics and social change

April 05, 20197:30 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:30 p.m. Free entrance until the cinema’s capacity is reached.
In English, with simultaneous translation into Spanish.

Within the framework of the Fifth Social Forum on Ethics and Spiritualities, historian and Princess of Asturias Award winner for the Social Sciences in 2017, Karen Armstrong, will be giving this conference, organized by Casa Árabe and the “Centro Persona y Justicia” Foundation.

The event will be presented by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe, and Esteban Velázquez Guerra, President of the “Centro Persona y Justicia” Foundation.

Facts have stubbornly demonstrated time and again that there is no positive, enduring social change without a change in culture, and that an important part of such cultural change lies in change within the religious or spiritual features of the respective cultures. These spiritualities may be religious or non-religious, atheistic or theistic, but they are the ultimate determiner in human decisions between solidarity or turning inward only towards one’s own interests. It is the most private yet decisive motivating factor existing in human behavior. When this cultural/spiritual/motivational component is oriented in a positive way towards solidarity, it can be an authentic—and positive—catalyst in historical events. This has been achieved to a certain degree by some personages in contemporary history (Gandhi, Simone Weil, Luther King, Monsignor Romero, Mother Teresa). In this arena, the historical and sociological works by Karen Armstrong about religions and her proposal for a great universal pact amongst religions and spiritualities, to promote the “compassion” that she attempts to summarize in her “Charter for Compassion,” may be decisive in the history of mankind and peoples as we head towards the ever desired horizon of universal peace and justice. Listening to Karen Armstrong and her proposal is not just an intellectual delight, but also an opportunity to join forces and become part of this great change in humanity, a change towards the best it holds within.

Conference information sheet

Karen Armstrong has authored many books on religion, including A History of God (published in Spain as Una historia de Dios, Ediciones Paidós); The Great Transformation (La gran transformación, Ediciones Paidós), The Battle for God (Los orígenes del fundamentalismo en el judaísmo, el cristianismo y el islam, Tusquets Editores), Muhammad (Mahoma, Tusquets Editores), Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths (Historia de Jerusalén, Ediciones Paidós), Buddha (Buda, Debate), etc. Her work has been translated into 43 different languages. Throughout her career, Karen Armstrong has addressed the members of the United States Congress on three occasions and has given various conferences to the political leaders at that country’s State Department. In 2006, then Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, invited her to join the High-Level Group of the new United Nations Alliance of Civilizations; in 2008, she was awarded with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal; in 2009, she received the TED Award and with that organization founded Charter for Compassion, which has become a global movement. From 2008 through 2016, she was a trustee of the British Museum; in 2013, she was awarded the first ever award bestowed by the British Al-Rodhan Academy for the improvement of intercultural relations, and in 2017, she received the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.
Religions, spirituality, ethics and social change

The “Centro Persona y Justicia” Foundation