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Release: Oct. 2, 2000

Croatian author, theologian gives October Geneva Lecture Series Lecture

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Croatian author and theologian Miroslav Volf will visit the University of Iowa as the guest speaker for the Geneva Lecture Series at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 at the Becker Communications Studies Building. The talk, "Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation," is free and open to the public.

As a young man in Communist Yugoslavia, Volf saw firsthand the ethnic frictions that turned bloody after the breakup of the country.

"An important factor in the war was the drive for pure identities -- hence the term ethnic cleansing. Persons belonging to the other ethnic groups would be swept away like dirt so that one could have a 'clean' ethnic house. Since we live in a world that is inhabited by many groups, the desire for pure identities leads inescapably to violence and bloodshed," he says.

Volf began searching for a resolution to the tension that existed in him between the "natural instinct to fight for your rights" and the teaching of his Pentecostal parents "that the enemy is there to be loved."

His quest took the form of theological reflection, which soon caught the attention of the academic world. Volf, 44, began a new teaching position as Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale University in 1998 following seven years of teaching at Fuller Seminary. He maintains ties to his homeland by serving as visiting professor of systematic theology on the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Osijek, Croatia, his alma mater. After studying at Osijek, Volf attended Fuller Seminary and the University of Tubingen in Germany where he received his doctoral and postdoctoral degrees under renowned theologian Jurgen Moltman.

The Geneva Lecture Series has been bringing speakers to the UI and Iowa City to speak on a wide range of topics from a Judeo-Christian perspective since 1976. Volf's visit is co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, UI Center for Human Rights and nearly 20 UI religious organizations and churches in Iowa City.

For more information, contact Jason Chen, Convenor, Geneva Lecture Committee, (319) 341-0007.