News Release

Imam Yahya Hendi to Speak on Positive Interfaith Relationships

Buena Vista, Va.—Imam Yahya Hendi, a Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University and the founder and president of Clergy Beyond Borders and Imams for Universe, Dignity, Human Rights, and Dialogue, will speak at Southern Virginia University on Friday, November 8 as part of a series of intercollegiate, interfaith gatherings in the Rockbridge Area.

“Imam Hendi’s visit marks a number of firsts for Southern Virginia and the wider community,” said Dr. David Cox, Southern Virginia history professor and former minister of the Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington.

“Never before have we seen such an intercollegiate and interfaith extravaganza that also involves both Buena Vista and Lexington with such broad-based, community-wide sponsorship,” Cox continued.

Imam Hendi’s address, “For the Common Good of Humanity: Go! Set the World on Fire,” will provide perspective as he intends to spark conversation and understanding between those of different faith backgrounds to foster positive relationships.

“Imam Hendi is an expert in speaking to religiously-minded individuals that are not of his own tradition, and he does so in an enthusiastic, open, and generally inspiring manner,” said Dr. James Lambert, organizer of the event and chair of the University’s Humanities Department.

“Because students here understand the religious life, he will find a curious and receptive audience,” continued Lambert. “Our students are especially open to religious thinkers, and I sense this will be a great opportunity for them.”

The public event will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Main Hall Ballroom and also serves as the inaugural event for Southern Virginia University’s Arts & Sciences Lecture Series.

“The Arts and Sciences Lecture series is an attempt to highlight good work in any academic field in order to inspire students and faculty towards the ongoing pursuit of ideas and knowledge” explained Lambert.

The new series will invite two scholars each fall to speak on a topic of their choice, in addition to nominating a member of Southern Virginia’s faculty to speak on a topic in their field of expertise each spring.

Imam Hendi’s visit is part of his tour of the Rockbridge area that includes addresses and prayer services organized and sponsored by a collaboration between Rockbridge Interfaith, Lexington community clergy, and faculty from Washington and Lee, Virginia Military Institute and Southern Virginia University.

More information about Imam Hendi’s other upcoming events in the area is available online at