About the Seminar
Cedar City residents will soon have an opportunity to learn more about Islam and the Muslim world during a free seminar hosted by St. Jude’s Episcopal Church.
The seminar, entitled “Understanding Islam and Our Muslim Neighbors,” will be led by Southern Utah University Provost Dr. Brad Cook and will feature three Thursday evening sessions held on October 19, 26, and November 6. The sessions will be presented in the St. Jude’s Parish Hall located at 200 West and Harding Avenue (70 North) at 6:30 p.m.
According to Dr. Cook, who holds a DPhil in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University, the seminar is intended help participants better understand Islam and its deep impact on world affairs both historically and today.
“It is important to understand what Muslims believe and also how their beliefs are carried out privately and publicly as individuals and as members of a larger community.” Dr. Cook said. "The focus of this seminar will be to better understand Islam as a religion and as a way of life."
Through presentations and conversations with practicing members of the faith, seminar participants will explore Muslim beliefs, practices, and history and their impact on Muslim life and society as well as on world events today. According to Dr. Cook, topics covered will include a general history of Islam, the Five Pillars of Islam, various sects of Islam, beliefs and customs surrounding the culture of Islam, and the radicalization of Islam.
According to The Rev. Dr. Lee Montgomery, Vicar of St. Jude’s, Islam is one of the three great monotheistic faiths that traces its ancestry to Abraham. He noted that there are many similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
“In light of the ever-increasing conflicts being played out in America as well as on the global stage, we must learn to understand and accept Muslims as our colleagues and neighbors.” The Rev. Montgomery said. “Differences in religious belief should never be allowed to create artificial barriers between us.”
The series of seminars is free to the public and refreshments will be served. For additional information please contact The Rev. Dr. Lee Montgomery at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church (435) 592-0034
About Dr. Cook
Dr. Cook has a deep-seated commitment to global awareness and international education. Prior to his SUU appointment, Cook served as the president of the Abu Dhabi Women's College, an institution serving nearly 3,000 Emerati female students in the United Arab Emirates. Prior to his time in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Cook served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah, where he academically re-positioned the institution for university status (now Utah Valley University). Nineteen academic programs and eight centers and institutes were established during his tenure there.
As a student, Cook completed with honors, his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at Stanford University. He also was a starting cornerback for the Stanford University football team. As an athlete he received many honors such as Kaplan Scholar Athlete, National Scholar Athlete: US Army Reserve, and First Team Academic in the All Pacific-Ten Conference. Cook continued his education at Stanford, eventually earning a Master of Arts in Social Science of Education. Upon completion of his Master's degree Cook took a position as the special assistant to the president at the American University in Cairo, marking the beginning of his higher educational and international career.
In 1995, Cook returned to the classroom as a student at the University of Oxford in Great Britain where he earned a doctorate degree in Middle East Studies as a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow at St. Antony's College. Upon completion of his doctorate degree, Cook returned once again to Utah and in 1997 he became an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations at Brigham Young University. There he taught many undergraduate and graduate courses related to international development and comparative education.
He has special research interests in Islamic educational theory, comparative religion and international and comparative education. Dr. Cook is active in his academic field, chairing and presenting regularly at international conferences and symposia as well as maintaining a consistent research and publication agenda. His publications can be found in a variety of academic journals.