On Wednesday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared in Gaston Hall as part of the Common Word Between US and You: A Global Agenda for Change Conference. The gathering at Georgetown, intended to encourage dialogue and promote peace between Muslims and Christians, comes after similar events at Yale Theological Seminary and Cambridge University in 2008.
Blair appeared as part of the World Leaders Forum alongside former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (and former Georgetown Professor) Anwar Ibrahim, former Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik , and the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina Mustafa Cedric. Riz Khan, host of the Al-Jazzera program that bears his name, moderated the discussion.
Each of the panelists gave a short speech, punctuated by good-humored jokes from the moderator Khan.
“I want to say how humble I feel in the presence of so many holy people. I think I’ve been brought along to balance it out a little,” Blair said.
Gaston Hall was filled to capacity at the start of the event, with mostly conference participants on the floor and students in the balcony seating.
All of the participants emphasized that peace and understanding between Christians and Muslims would be critical to achieving harmony in the twenty-first century.
“The way forward involves the pursuit of working together—Christians, Muslims, and Jews—in a universal community of the human race, a harmonious and enriching experience of living together among people of diverse religions and cultures,” Anwar Ibrahim said.