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University of Portland presents Choral Christmas Vespers Concert
University of Portland presents Choral Christmas Vespers Concert
University of Portland presents free Choral Christmas Vespers Concert, December 1 (Photo) - 11/21/18

The University of Portland's University Singers and Women’s Chorale will ring in the holiday season with a selection of traditional songs at the Choral Christmas Vespers Concert on December 1st, at 7:30 p.m., in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher on the University campus. Presented by the Department of Performing & Fine Arts, the University Singers will be directed by Dr. David De Lyser, associate professor of music, and professor Kathy Briggs will be conducting Bel Canto (women’s choir). The concert is free for members of the UP community and the general public, but requires tickets.

What: Choral Christmas Vespers Concert featuring the University Singers and Women’s Chorale

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 1, 2018

Where: Chapel of Christ The Teacher, University of Portland, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland

Admission: Free, but tickets are required and are available by calling 503.943.7228 or emailing rownke@up.edu">brownke@up.edu.

The concert will feature selections by several renowned composers, including Michael Praetorius, ?'riks Ešenvalds, Kim André Arnesen, Ola Gjeilo, Libby Larsen, Arvo Pärt, Randall Stroope, Zoltan Kodaly, Dan Forrest, René Clausen, Pavel Tchesnokov and others. The selections,  well-known and less familiar,  are spiritual and sacred to the theme of Advent and the Christmas season. Dr. De Lyser is especially excited about the rendition of Dan Forrest’s “Hallelujah,” as conducted by student conducting associate Natalie Werner. The participating students are excited to perform Ola Gjeilo’s ‘The Ground’ and Kim André Arnesen’s ‘His Light In Us’.

After many years of being held at St. Mary's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Portland, this annual concert returns to campus in order to make it more accessible for attendees. Despite the change of venue, the concert will follow a similar format to the previous Advent concerts. The music will be interspersed with scriptural readings and audience hymns and carols. Dr. De Lyser invites the UP community to attend and join the festivities: “It's a chance to step away from the books, hear amazing music in a beautiful and sacred setting, and reflect on the meaning and spirit of the Christmas season.”

2018 Opus Prize winner Dr. Rami Nashashibi of Chicago's Inner-City Muslim Action Network
2018 Opus Prize winner Dr. Rami Nashashibi of Chicago's Inner-City Muslim Action Network
Dr. Rami Nashashibi awarded 2018 Opus Prize for Chicago's Inner-City Muslim Action Network (Photo) - 11/15/18

South side community organizer was selected from three finalists to receive $1 million award for social entrepreneurship and faith-based filled community improvement.

Dr. Rami Nashashibi has been awarded the prestigious 2018 Opus Prize for his inspirational work as founder and director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago, Illinois. The award was announced Thursday night, November 15 during a ceremony hosted by the University of Portland and the Opus Prize Foundation at the Earle A. and Virginia H. Chiles Center on the University campus.

IMAN is a nonprofit organization that fosters health, wellness, and healing in some of the Chicago’s most challenged neighborhoods. The organization was founded in 1997 by Nashashibi and others directly affected by and deeply invested in social issues affecting communities of color living on Chicago’s South Side. The nonprofit’s endeavors include organizing for social change, cultivating the arts, and operating a holistic health center, corner grocery store initiative, and job-training program. Since its founding, IMAN has steadily grown and, in 2016, opened a second office in Atlanta to continue mobilizing a cross-section of people committed to their mission. More at www.imancentral.org/

“The million-dollar Opus Prize award will allow IMAN to significantly expand its Green Re-entry program which provides life coaching, healing and dynamic job-training in the construction trades for returning citizens and young men who are potential victims of neighborhood violence,” Nashashibi said. “It will also reinforce our team’s efforts to exemplify prophetic compassion and mercy for all of the IMAN family.”

“IMAN has spent nearly two decades as the lynchpin implementing grassroots programs serving vulnerable families in some of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods,” explained Don Neureuther, Executive Director of the Opus Prize Foundation. “Rami Nashashibi and his team exude ‘mercy,’ a Muslim virtue and tradition that embodies the values of the Opus Prize as they offer vulnerable families a ray of hope and inspire others through their work.” 

“IMAN’s holistic business model and spirit of inclusion of all ethnicities and faiths is a key to their success,” Neureuther added. “They identify a need and creatively respond to it, whether it’s a lack of housing and healthcare, poor nutrition, a dearth of arts opportunities, or providing a skill set through job training for at-risk young men. The working partnerships they establish with other neighborhood faith leaders is really impressive and intentional.”

About Dr. Rami Nashashibi
Dr. Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in 1997. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago and is a Visiting Professor of Sociology of Religion & Muslim Studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He has worked with several leading scholars in the area of globalization, African American studies and urban sociology and has contributed chapters to edited volumes by Manning Marabel and Saskia Sassen.

Nashashibi has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. He and his work with IMAN have been featured in many national and international media outlets and in 2009, Chicago Public Radio selected him as one of the “Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries”. In 2014, the Center for American Progress profiled Nashashibi as one of the “14 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2014” and he was named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He lives with his wife and three children on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

To arrange interviews with Dr. Rami Nashashibi or the two finalists, please contact the Opus Prize at info@opusprize.org

Two other Opus Prize finalists, Daniel and Avitha Victor of Agape Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai, India, and Rev. Daniel Panchot, CSC, and Jose Antonio Patron of Yancana Huasy in Lima, Peru were awarded $100,000 each.

The two finalists were also honored for their faith and dedication to those in need. Daniel and Avitha Victor are a married couple whose life’s work in Chennai, India is supporting and educating an array of teens and adults with special needs.  Through compassionate care, they develop a professional skill set and support system for each person, promoting personal confidence, independence and success. Many served by Agape learn computer skills by completing a one-year diploma course leading to employment as software engineers in Chennai’s IT corridor. Others have the opportunity to start their own small businesses. The Victors hope to eventually build their own facility, expanding the number of people they serve.

In 1981, a small group of Peruvians with motor disabilities sought help from Fr. Daniel Panchot, a Holy Cross priest working in Lima, Peru. With a call to serve as an ‘educator of the faith in mind and heart with a preference for people who are poor,’ Fr. Panchot established Yancana Huasy. Now directed by Jose Antonio Patron Quispe, Yancana Huasy is one of Peru’s leading NGOs, working to integrate children and families with special needs into public schools, faith communities and neighborhoods. They are primary advocates in ensuring the disabled have access to public transportation and facilities, and focus on training parents of children with disabilities to meet the physical and emotional needs of their child. Yancana Huasy’s staff—many who have worked there for more than 20 years—help parents understand that ‘it takes a special parent to care for a child with special needs.’

The Opus Prize is one of the world’s largest faith-based awards for social entrepreneurship. In the face of improbable odds, its laureates are creating change in their communities and demonstrating faith and creativity through their work. Their leadership and dedication is transforming the lives of people around the world.

The University of Portland was selected by the Opus Prize Foundation to administer this year’s award because of the school’s commitment to educating the hands and heart – in addition to the mind – of its students, many of whom are dedicated to service and social justice. The 21-month process to identify, nominate and review candidates was made possible by the involvement of University of Portland students, faculty, alumni and administration.

About the Opus Prize and the University of Portland
The Opus Prize is an annual celebration of individuals working anywhere in the world, whose faith-filled, entrepreneurial leadership helps people in need transform their lives. The Prize is awarded to the recipients’ organizations not only to expand their humanitarian efforts, but also to further inspire people to pursue service to others. Each year, the Prize partners with a Catholic university to identify worthy recipients, host the awards events, and involve committed students at every level of the process and celebration. More at www.opusprize.org.

The University of Portland was selected by the Opus Prize Foundation to administer this year’s award because of the school’s commitment to educating the hands and heart – in addition to the mind – of its students, many of whom are dedicated to service and social justice. The 21-month process to identify, nominate and review candidates was made possible by the involvement of University of Portland students, faculty, alumni and administration. More at www.up.edu/opusprize.

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