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Environmentalist and Islam experts to speak

This week, lectures at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh will serve to renew students’ sense of global awareness. Carnegie Mellon will welcome environmental activist and educator Eustace Conway, while Pitt will hear author Reza Aslan’s take on the Islamic Reformation and begin its “World Affairs for Beginners” lecture series.

This Thursday evening, naturalist Eustace Conway will speak about his experiences in nature and his enthusiasm for preserving our environment.

Conway’s passion for the outdoors has taken him on a remarkable journey. At age 18, he began living for what became 17 years in an Indian tipi. As an adult, he hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail and set the record for coast-to-coast horse travel.

In 1987, he founded Turtle Island Preserve, an environmental education center and 1000-acre wildlife preserve in North Carolina. The program works to get people in touch with nature and teaches them how to respect the environment.

Conway is also the subject of The Last American Man, a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert published in 2002. The author is a friend of Conway’s, and the book includes anecdotes gleaned from interviews with family members, some of which Conway will share in his lecture.

AB Lectures is sponsoring the event, which will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall).
This Wednesday evening, the University of Pittsburgh’s “World Affairs for Beginners Series” will hold its first event, “Peace in the Middle East.” The event will be held in the Cross-Cultural and Civic Leadership Lounge in the William Pitt Union at 9 p.m.

This Thursday, Reza Aslan, author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, will give a lecture titled “Welcome to the Islamic Revolution” at the University of Pittsburgh.

Born in Iran, Aslan is a research associate at the Uni-versity of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. He has been a member of the Friends’ Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C., and Harvard’s chapter of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, a UN organization whose aim is to solve religious conflicts around the world.

His latest novel is designed to transcend the cultural conflicts that surround the world view of Islam and show the beauty and complexity of this religion, one of the fastest growing in the world. Anticipating a Western-thinking audience, No god but God tackles the ambiguities of Islam from the western
perspective. Aslan explains how Allah differs from the God of Judaism and Christianity, and what would happen if Islam were founded on democratic values like that of the West.

The lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts Building Auditorium, with a book signing at 6:30 p.m.