Here at Xavier University, we take our mission very seriously—to form students intellectually, morally and spiritually, with rigor and compassion, toward lives of solidarity, service and success. And the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue has been, since its inception, instrumental in uncountable ways in helping us realize our Jesuit Catholic mission. Michael J. Graham, SJ, President, Xavier University
Over the last decade, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the contributions being made by the Brueggeman Center as a catalyst for bringing together leaders and resources in our community to confront the major challenges (and opportunities) our community faces. Drawing on the resources of Xavier University, the Center has helped bring together coalitions to identify and carry out actions to address such critical subjects as climate change, our growing refugee population and economic equity and social justice. The Center has become an invaluable resource and catalyst to broaden and deepen recognition of the issues we face and help bring together people for concerted actions and results. John Pepper, Retired CEO and Chairman, Proctor and Gamble; Honorary Co-Chair, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability (OES) and the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue (Brueggeman) have worked closely for many years to promote the sustainability of the Cincinnati region and address environmental equity issues. Brueggeman and OES have been core organizers for the annual Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit (MRSS), which is the most significant annual gathering of Cincinnati’s green community. Brueggeman has been instrumental in bringing nationally renowned thought leaders to Cincinnati to inspire and shape the local dialogue about our region’s future path. Brueggeman Center Director James Buchanan was appointed by Mayor Cranley to serve on the Green Cincinnati Steering Committee to guide development of the Green Cincinnati Plan. Through the MRSS, sustainability speakers, the Green Cincinnati Steering Committee, and other collaborations, Brueggeman has played a significant role in shaping Cincinnati’s shared vision for a City that stewards resources, succeeds economically, and provides for all of its residents. Larry Falkin, Director of Environment and Sustainability, City of Cincinnati
Jackie Congedo, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
I have had the privilege of working with the Brueggeman Center for over 20 years when it initially started as Brueggeman Center for Interfaith Dialogue and later broadened its scope under the leadership of James Buchanan. My initial contact was through the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, where I served as the founding Board Chair for 18 years after its opening in 1995. Brueggeman Center's outreach to the Greater Cincinnati community continues to serve as an invaluable collaborative resource for organizations and individuals of other faiths. In addition it works tirelessly to further the causes of other social justice and welfare entities with impact within and far beyond this community. Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati was fortunate to have the Brueggeman Center as an ally after the horrific attacks of 9/11. It provided us a platform to express our voice as Muslim Americans who felt doubly victimized by those attacks and were desperately seeking support and understanding. Since then, we have collaborated on numerous projects to promote interfaith cooperation, community harmony as well as education on topics of importance to our community, country and the planet. In the process, one of the main beneficiaries have been the wonderful young people, our future leaders, getting education at Xavier, one of the area's elite universities. This, in the end, may be the most impactful of the Center's broad-based multi-pronged work to bring about systemic positive change in an increasingly diverse and complex society, with its myriad of challenges.
The Center, James and Cynthia, have been a constant source of support to people committed to increasing the well-being of Cincinnati and the world. When we wanted to host a Neighborhood Economics Summit for a few hundred people, the Center was host, facilitator and administrative support for the gathering. Much of its success was due to their providing the space, the logistics, in dealing with all the complications of holding a conference. James’ way of asking questions and purpose are always useful. When we were talking about our neighborhood work, he suggested and later supported a measure to show that we were moving the needle in the quality of lives in these places. This was the initiation of what is now the Neighborhood Economic Vitality Index. It displays the gifts of people as opposed to the usual measures of needs and what is missing. In our current Jubilee Campaign, James and the Center are guiding the effort by collaboratively giving structure and clarity to responsibilities and the process for moving forward. The Center also has brought into the project some enormously talented people who are generously including this campaign in a larger gathering at Xavier. Years ago, when I was asked to be a visiting consultant to the Xavier Business School, James kindly hosted some conversations to help build connections. James and Cynthia have imagined a Center which is a powerful convening agent for the community. Always bringing unlikely partners together, setting the parameters, and marketing the events. Never ideological, always welcoming. Very unique for a University which has such a large footprint in the city. Peter Block, Author; Founder of Economics of Compassion Initiative; Partner, Designed Learning Consulting
The Center teams with the Foreign Policy Leadership Council (www.fplcohio.org) to present noted speakers on a range of international subjects for the greater Cincinnati community. Renowned speakers including Madeline Albright and Richard Clarke, ambassadors, senators, representatives and lesser known experts on a variety of foreign policy subjects have enriched the region’s understanding of world affairs over 15 years over a dinner discussion format. The Center and OMID USA (www.omid-usa.org) partner in an effort to bring solar-powered inventions To Colombia to assist its post-conflict efforts. Through green drip irrigation and cold-storage technology, the team partners with Colombia’s leading NGO and SENA (the University of the Poor in Valledupar) to raise the incomes of poor farmers. Joe Dehner, International Law, Frost, Brown and Todd, Co-Chair FPLC, Board, OMID
The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue has been a convening force for critical inquiry and discussion for many years. Working within the Xavier University campus, the greater Cincinnati area, and beyond, the Brueggeman Center models the power and practice of dialogue. At times, this involves bringing together like-intentioned people and organizations to work together to build understanding and effect change. Other times, the Center provides the opportunity for sharing differing viewpoints so that voices may be heard and all may learn. This culture of critical inquiry exposes students to the complexities of thoroughly understanding an issue from all sides. Students see how scholars and activists work with others, especially when ideological differences exist. They learn how to frame assertions and arguments from a foundation of logic and facts, especially when passions run high. In a world of intentionally divisive rhetoric, the Brueggeman Center actively creates a safe space where thoughtful disagreement is taught and encouraged as a way to bring people together. Scott Chadwick, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Xavier University 2011-2016, Currently Senior Advisor, American Achieves.
"Center for Dialogue" is more than a name; it is a sacred mission that engenders partnerships. One such partnership is represented by the Jewish Foundation Fellows project between the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue and the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. From 2012-2019 rabbinical students have been mentored by James Buchanan and among the projects they pursued were the co-creation of a website to host the interfaith activities in greater Cincinnati, the development of multi-faith study programs for young adults and sponsoring a coalition of religious leaders to learn about responding to domestic violence ad sexual abuse. The relationship between HUC-JIR and the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue has borne sweet fruit as rabbinical students have brought the skills they acquired from their learning experiences into their emerging rabbinates. "The holy is greater than the sum of its parts" is a true and telling statement based on the partnership between HUC-JIR and Xavier University's Brueggeman Center for Dialogue. We hope to continue to pursue shared, sacred meaning and spread learning, justice and peace throughout Cincinnati and beyond. Rabbi Jan Katsew, Director of Service Learning, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
When I served as the director of Ethics/Religion and Society (2015-2018), I had the privilege of partnering with the Brueggeman Center to host a number of events that addressed issues of race and racism in Cincinnati and America. Along with other University and community partners we hosted a talk by Ta-Nehisi Coates on race in America and a community Town Hall on the social and racial unrest in Cincinnati in 2001. These are difficult topics, no doubt. However, meaningful dialogue about these topics is much needed. Coates's talk was attended by over 3000 people and the Town Hall on 2001 was not only at capacity, it was also streamed online by local TV news and covered by various news outlets. Collaborating with James and Cynthia at the Brueggeman Center allowed these events to reach a broad audience and provoke much needed dialogue on issues of race and racism in our community. Dr. Gabe Gottlieb, Associate Professor, Philosophy and PIPG, Xavier University
Reelabilities (now Over the Rhine International Film Festival in Cincinnati) is a film festival that promotes the stories and artistic work of people with different abilities. The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue's sponsorship of the ReelAbilities Interfaith Breakfast brought together for the first time Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim leaders to talk about their experience of disability and pray for inclusion. Their presence combined with film clips from the festival sensitized all in attendance and validated the different abilities. Noel Jules-Dehner, Episcopal Priest and Documentary Film Maker
The African Professionals Network (APNET) has been very fortunate to consider the Brueggeman Center at Xavier University as a partner and advocate for the immigrant community. For years and on numerous occasions, Dr. James Buchanan and his staff have taken time out their busy schedules to listen to the needs of the African community and have provided resources/funding to support our programs. It is my hope that the Brueggeman Center continues to be a connector of resources; a place where all people can express their ideas/thought; a place people come to address the problems in our society through dialogue. On behalf of APNET leadership, we salute you for all your work and dedication to our community. Prince Ellis, President. African Professionals Network (APNET)
The Brueggeman Center is a model of community collaboration. I have had the pleasure of working with the Center and its staff during my tenure at two different institutions—the Taft Museum of Art and the Skirball Museum of Hebrew Union College-Jewish institute of Religion. In each instance James Buchanan and Cynthia Cummins have demonstrated what partnership really looks like, investing time and resources to projects that benefit not only the Center but the larger Cincinnati community. The efforts where we have intersected have largely been around interfaith projects. Often, institutions lend their names to community partnerships and it ends there. Not so with the Center. When there was real work to be done, I could count on professional, thorough, and passionate involvement from beginning to end. There has always been a spirit of camaraderie and an understanding that we are better together than separate. Abby S. Schwartz, Director, Skirball Museum, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion
The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue has been an incredible partner in the area of sustainability. The center and its director have worked closely with Xavier academic sustainability programs and Xavier’s Sustainability Committee to advance the study of sustainability on campus and beyond, as well as to enhance the sustainability of campus operations. Many of the student Brueggeman Fellows have been engaged in sustainability research abroad. The Center has partnered with Sustainability on a lecture series, free and open to the public, focused on the nexus between sustainability and equity. The center has also participated, and indeed spearheaded community effort to significantly increase our sustainability such as the Green Cincinnati Plan, the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit and helped launch the Cincinnati 2030 District project. In so many ways, the center has ably embodied the Jesuit, Catholic commitment to the welfare of both humanity and our environment. Dr. Nancy Bertaux, Professor, Economics and Chair of EOS Programs, Xavier University
James Buchanan, on behalf of the Brueggeman Center, has supported Neighborhood Grow in its foundation to foster collaboration in communities around the themes of "Beloved Community", and "Neighborhood Economics". James has provided leadership, mentorship and connections in our work to create sustainable local economies. His influence has been a great asset to Xavier University, and I would hope the values of collaboration will succeed him. I originally met James and Cynthia around the time of the "Neighborhood Economics" conference that was hosted at the Cintas Center in 2015. I have also had the pleasure of serving with James on the Taft Lecture Series committee at Christ Church Cathedral, and the Jubilee project. The Brueggeman Center has also had a major influence in the development of the Midwest Sustainability Summit, which has grown to become one of the major conferences on sustainability in the country. The center really exemplifies a model to serve as a conduit to fostering collaboration which is a great academic opportunity for Xavier's community and students. Derek Peebles, Director, Neighborhood Grow & Immediate Past President, The Economics of Compassion Initiative
I have had a longstanding relationship with the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, having worked, initially, very closely with its namesake and interreligious relations icon, Father Edward B. Brueggeman S.J., on numerous dialogic endeavors; then, having the privilege of serving on the Center’s founding board of advisors. Throughout my involvement up to the present, the Center’s work and contributions to the community have honored the memory of Fr. Brueggeman and adhered to the exemplary academic and ethical standards of Xavier University. The Center, under the leadership team of James Buchanan Ph.D. and Cynthia Cummins, has been a major player in providing community education and intellectual enlightenment on a range of critical issues. It has advanced interfaith relations immeasurably and, through its collaborative approach, furthered inclusion, equity and justice in a number of venues. With its small staff, the Center has had to work smarter to bring about the extraordinary community impact it has achieved. And it has! The Center sees a community need, whether it’s the resurgence of hate crimes, tribalism and divisiveness, then prompts us, partners with us, connects us, guides us, and, to the extent it can, helps to resource our efforts to address it. Recent examples are its leading role in the founding of the Cincinnati Regional Coalition Against Hate and in organizing our community’s historic Cincinnati Festival of Faiths. Without question, the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue is one of our region’s most valuable players in effectuating a compassionate community. Thank you, James, Cynthia and Fr. Graham! Robert C. “Chip” Harrod, Executive Director, Bridges of Faith Trialogue