University of Pittsburgh
September 21, 2004

Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies Announces The Inauguration of Its Web Site

Pitt partnership draws on the collective strength of tristate organizations to enhance the region's understanding of Islam and the Islamic world
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies (CERIS)—a collaboration of academic, nonprofit, and religious organizations in the tristate area spearheaded by Pitt's University Center for International Studies (UCIS) and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh—announces the inauguration of its Web site,

"The CERIS Web site offers basic information about our organization and its members," explained Robert W. Matson, director of CERIS and professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. "Our new Events module is an outstanding resource for information on lectures, cultural events, conferences, and other activities related to Islamic studies occurring in our area."

Some of the events posted on the CERIS Web site include:

Sept. 23 Interfaith forum, "A Muslim-Chrisitan Dialog"

6 p.m., Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Adamson Wing, 136A Baker Hall

The forum is part of CMU's University Lecture Series. Ismat Mehdi, a Muslim,

and Andreas D'Sousa, a Christian, both from Hyderbad, India, will discuss how to

build relationships of understanding and mutual discovery between Christian and

Muslim neighbors. For more information, contact

Sept. 30 Lecture, "Islam Today"

511 William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland

This lecture, the final lecture in the three-part series "Understanding Islam," will

provide basic facts about Islam and Muslims; it also will address stereotypical

misconceptions about Islam. Sponsored by CERIS and Pitt's Islamic Studies

Group (ISG), the lecture will recap the major issues covered in the lecture

series. For more information, contact

Oct. 5 Lecture, "The Hysterical Road, from Sept. 11 to Fallujah"

4130 Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland

Internationally syndicated political columnist Rami G. Khouri, executive editor of

The Daily Star in Beirut, will discuss U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Sponsored by UCIS's Global Studies Program and the World Affairs

Council of Pittsburgh. For more information, call Elaine Linn at 412-624-4780.

According to Matson, the tristate's need for academic programs and educational resources on Islam and the Islamic world became abundantly clear following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. CERIS was formed to address both the area's demand for and its lack of resources on Islam and related topics. Drawing on the collective strengths of the region's institutions of higher education, CERIS offers students and the public high-quality programs relating to the many languages, literatures, and disciplines of Islamic studies.

"We recently added to the Web site a module with information on courses related to Islamic studies being offered in the region," explained Frances Leap, an associate professor of religious studies and theology at Seton Hill University and the school's CERIS representative. "We expect this part of the CERIS Web site to grow in the coming months. People interested in learning more about Islam and topics related to Islam will find out what resources are available in our region."

In its Resources module, the Web site already includes information on books, videos, and local organizations, as well as URL links to Web sites giving information about Islam. The Web site's Courses module provides information on local academic programs that incorporate Islamic studies themes.

Members of CERIS—in addition to the University of Pittsburgh, Pitt-Bradford, Pitt-Greensburg, and Pitt-Johnstown—include California University of Pennsylvania, Carlow College, Chatham College, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, Geneva College, the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, La Roche College, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, Saint Francis University, Saint Vincent College, Seton Hill University, Washington and Jefferson College, Waynesburg College, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and Youngstown State University. CERIS also is endorsed by the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education.