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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT:   Polly Burks

FAU Public Programs Address How We Got Here

            BOCA RATON, FL (March 13, 2009) – The University Galleries at Florida Atlantic University are presenting two free public programs in association with the current “Designing Intelligence: Continuing the Intelligent Design Project” exhibition, which runs through Saturday, April 4 in the Schmidt Gallery on the Boca Raton campus. The first program presents a panel of community religious leaders who will discuss the origins of life, and the second is a storytelling event about birth.  

            On Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in PA 101 (a lecture hall next to the Schmidt Center Gallery), the symposium entitled “ Who We Are and How We Came to Be: Perspectives on Our Origin” will present a panel made up of a Native-American educator, a Jewish Rabbi, a doctor of philosophy speaking on the Christian perspective, a vodou preistess, a Muslim imam, and Hindu and Buddhist educators. The symposium will be introduced by Robert McCarthy, assistant professor in FAU’s department of anthropology, and will be moderated by FAU professor of philosophy Simon Glynn.

The Native American perspective will be presented by Everett Osceola, a member of the Seminole Indian tribe who serves as an educator for the Ah-tah-thi-ki museum in Clewiston, Florida. Osceola has spoken on the Seminole culture throughout the United States and Europe.

Rabbi David Steinhardt will provide the Jewish Perspective. He is the Senior Rabbi at B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, one of the leading conservative synagogues in the nation. He has a master’s degree in Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

The Christian perspective will be provided by Dr. Paul Copan, the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach. He is the author of several books, including Creation Out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical and Scientific Exploration, and he is the editor of  The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary.

The voodoo priestess on the panel is Margaret Mitchell Armand of Plantation. She is a licensed psychotherapist, and a community activist and arts advocate who has authored articles that combine her scientific and religious perspectives.

Imam Radwan Kouatli is founder of the Love God Institute and is representing the Islamic Center of Boca Raton. Since 1997, he has served as imam with several congregations, and has delivered lectures and sermons in universities, mosques and other places of worship.

The Hindu perspective will come from Smeeta Vimal Patel, a volunteer educator at Volunteer at South Florida Hindu Temple, also in South West Ranches. She is a CPA, mother of three, and a business owner.

Finally, Carlos Montero, senior Dharma teacher and director of the South Florida Zen Group, South West Ranches, will provide the Buddhist perspective. He works as a chemistry high school teacher in Miami Dade County Public Schools. Montero founded the South Florida Zen Group in 2000 to bring Zen meditation to the South Florida community

            The other public program is “Birth: A Storytelling Event,” which will be presented on Thursday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in the Schmidt Center Gallery . Students from Dr. Caryn S. Neile’s Social Drama Workshop at FAU, as well as her storytelling classes, will perform their own interpretations of creation stories from various cultures, including Native American and Asian.   The blend of stories is intended to demonstrate varying perspectives on birth, creation and the creative process.

The “Designing Intelligence?” exhibition and related public programs are made possible in part by funding from the State of Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Palm Beach County Cultural Council; R.A. Ritter Foundation; and contributions from generous individuals. The University Galleries are open free to the public Tuesday – Friday, 1 – 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 1 – 5 p.m. Groups and classes are welcome during public hours and at other times by appointment. For more information, call 561-297-2966 or visit


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