COA Offers Talk on Reducing Religious Conflicts

Posted Feb. 26, 2013, at 1:14 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 6:11 p.m. to 6:11 p.m.

Location: College of the Atlantic - McCormick Lecture Hall, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine

For more information: John Visvader; 207-288-5015;

Can dialog reduce conflict? That is the question human rights advocate Steve Wessler asks frequently as he seeks to make connections between opposing groups in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, and the United States. At 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, he will talk to College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum on “Restoring Hope: Reducing Inter-Religious Conflict in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, and the US.” The talk will be in the college’s McCormick Lecture Hall.

Wessler will discuss both the challenges and the benefits of using dialogue to reduce inter-religious bias, strife, and violence. His presentation will rely on his ongoing work between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, between ethnic Albanian Muslims and ethnic Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo, and between Christians and Muslims in the US.

For 21 years, Wessler has been working as a human rights advocate and educator. He started and directed the hate crimes enforcement effort in the Maine Office of the Attorney General, and founded and led the Center for Preventing Hate, a Portland-based NGO. He now works on his own on a wide range of human rights issues in Maine, across the US, and in Europe. Wessler is currently teaching a course at COA titled Religious Intolerance in the United States.

For more information about Wessler’s talk at COA on March 5 at 4:10 p.m. in McCormick Lecture Hall, contact John Visvader at, or 207-288-5105.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit