Middle East Conversation 2020

The Middle East Consultation is an annual event that has gathered participants from around the MENA region and the world since 2004 to explore issues of faith by presenting insightful analysis and facilitating meaningful discussions. Due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new global realities of distancing and travel restrictions, this year’s consultation (originally scheduled for June 15-19) has been reimagined and a new type of MEC 2020 has taken shape: Middle East Conversation. We look forward to having you join us for monthly online webinars as we embark on an innovative MEC 2020!
Purpose of MEC 2020: To lend MENA voices to global discourses on urgent matters of faith and witness.

In a moment of global pandemic fraught with health crises, economic fallout and widespread disruption, ABTS seeks to engage the global Church on topics of weight and relevance. Middle East Conversation 2020 will facilitate discussions of biblical faith by bringing together MENA and global perspectives to illuminate our understanding of the challenges and opportunities of this unique time. By presenting thoughtful analysis and stirring constructive debate, MEC 2020 will contribute to elevating ongoing global discourses on important matters of faith and witness.

Our First Webinar!

Join us on June 18 at 4:00-5:30 pm Beirut Time (GMT+3) as ABTS facilitates our first webinar discussion on:

A Dynamic Pause: Reflections on Simplicity, Purpose, and
Transformation in this Time of Pandemic.

Contributors include:
Martin Accad
Chief Academic Officer and Director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary
Rima Nasrallah
Professor of Practical Theology at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut
Gary Nelson
President of Tyndale University, Toronto

The webinar will be moderated by Abed Zieneldien and feature English and Arabic language translation services.

Webinar Context
Life has been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. The scale of the pandemic is unlike any crisis in recent memory in terms of threat to human life and disruption to economies, institutions and livelihoods. As the realities of social distancing and restrictions continue to alter functions at all levels, we have accepted that there is no “business as usual” these days, and the pre-COVID-19 version of usual may never return. Rapid adaptation has helped many types of operations to continue (largely via increased online interactions and “gatherings”). But the fact remains that plans, activities and programs at all levels have had to effectively pause as the concern for personal and public health trumps the desire for optimal productivity. This is truly a profound historical moment; the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a rare opportunity to pause and reflect on the nature of the world we have fashioned and the lifestyles we have forged. We should not miss this chance to welcome honest reflection on the complexities of faithful living in the 21st Century.

One of the most intriguing aspects of COVID-19 is the global magnitude of the problem as populations around the world have adjusted to homebound, seemingly simpler ways of life. But life has not been idle during this period. Each context faces its own unique set of challenges and opportunities, and within the Middle East the situation is heaping additional burden on vulnerable communities and families already reeling from ongoing social, political and economic crises. Even so, this moment is valuable for gaining insights about how we operate in the world as kingdom-minded pilgrims seeking to maintain faithfulness during seasons of pandemic and beyond.
Registration for the first webinar will be open on June 1st - Stay tuned!

For questions, please contact MEC@abtslebanon.org.