Program Archives


2007 – 2014

Hindu & The Cowboy Logo

The Hindu and the Cowboy

Inspired by true stories collected from individuals of many faith traditions and cultural experiences, the one-act play has nearly thirty productions to its credit. Representative audiences have included:

  • Harmony in a World of Difference
  • Penn Valley Community College
  • St. Paul School of Theology
  • Unity Temple
  • UMKC Graduate School of Social Work
  • Kauffman Scholars*
  • Hallmark Diversity Council
  • Notre Dame de Sion High School
  • Avila University
  • Interfaith Academy for Religious Leaders
  • An Interfaith Dialogue
  • Ottawa University
  • Peace Colloquy
  • In partnership with The Kansas City Public Library

* Special educational adaptation


Coleman Barks

Coleman Barks
This Day I Cannot Say . . . An Evening of Rumi’s Poetry

Coleman Barks, poet and translator, is widely credited for the phenomenal popularity of the 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi whose poems out sell all others in America today. Known for his free-flowing, everyday-English interpretations, Barks is a favorite of spiritual seekers throughout the land. Barks’s best-selling books include The Essential Rumi, The Soul of Rumi, and several others. His work with Rumi was the subject of a segment in Bill Moyers’s series, Language of Life, on PBS. He was also a featured poet and translator on Moyers’s PBS poetry special, Fooling with Words. He was formerly professor of poetry and creative writing at the University of
Georgia, Athens.


Bingo on the Boulevard Logo

Bingo on the Boulevard

Bingo on the Boulevard dramatizes stories from different ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds, and mental health conditions in addition to various cultural and faith traditions. Like The Hindu and the Cowboy, this one-act play is inspired by true stories gathered from Kansas Citians. In 2012, a full workshop reading of the new play was offered in partnership with The Kansas City Public Library at the Plaza Branch’s Truman Forum.


baumazizamartinColeman Barks

A panel discussion with Rabbi Laura Baum, Aziza Hasan & Robert Martin, moderated by Bill Tammeus

The Future of Faith: Religion in a Google World

Global events demonstrate the dramatic impact of today’s information technologies. What do  changing patterns of information access and interchange mean for the world’s faith traditions – established and emerging? Will they change the face of religious belief and practice? If so, how?

A panel, moderated by Bill Tammeus, author of Faith Matters Blog and former faith editor for The Kansas City Star, discussed these questions and more. Rabbi Laura Baum, Cincinnati-based social media expert and founder of; Aziza Hasan, Los Angeles-based interfaith coordinator for the Muslim Public Affairs Council; and Dr. Robert Martin, Dean of Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D. C.


Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler
Can We Talk? Religion and Civil Dialogue in America

Award-winning journalist and author, Bruce Feiler is known for his travels across five continents, exploring the parallels between religion, geography, and the isues of our time. His television mini-series for PBS, Walking the Bible, has been translated into 15 languages. He is a columnist for the New York Times and a featured commentator on NPR and CNN. He is also the author of five consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and The Council of Dads.


John Meachem

 Jon Meachem
Faith and Politics: From George Washington to Barack Obama

Author and former Newsweek editor, Mr. Meacham is a leading national commentator on the role of faith in America. Among his best-selling titles are American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, a historical portrait of the spiritual foundation of America. His in-depth understanding of politics, religion, history, and the media make him a frequent guest on programs such as NBC News, MSNBC, and Meet the Press.


Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel
Youth at the Crossroads: Interfaith Cooperation or Conflict?

Founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, Eboo Patel was named as one of five future policy leaders to watch by Harvard’s Kennedy School Review and one of ten young visionaries shaping Islam in America by Islamica Magazine. He is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, and is often featured on NPR, CNN, and in The Washington Post. Mr Patel was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Council of The White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Initiatives.


Akbar Ahmed & Judea Pearl

Akbar Ahmed and Judea Pearl
The Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding

After Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered in 2002, his family and friends came together to work toward a more humane world.  The Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding featuring Akbar Ahmed and Judea Pearl grew from Professors Pearl and Ahmed’s shared belief that reconciliation between Abrahamaic faiths can be achieved through frank and respectful dialogue. For these highly personal, yet public, national and international dialogues, Professors Ahmed and Pearl were awarded the first annual “Purpose Prize” in 2006, honoring people over age 60 who have taken on society’s biggest challenges.


Diana Eck

Dr. Diana Eck

The formation of the Kansas City Festival of Faiths was inspired by Diana Eck, founder and director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, in a 2005 guest lecture presented at Village Presbyterian Church.

Author of A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Became the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation, Dr. Eck has received numerous honors and awards. The Pluralism Project — funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation — involves students and professors at Harvard and in a dozen affiliate colleges and universities in research on America’s changing religious landscape.

Dr. Eck is a Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University.