Discover Your Island

A&M-Corpus Christi Co-Hosts Light of Unity Festival, Shows Connection with Spirituality and Health Care

October 30, 2017

lightsofunityfestival-450x321.jpg

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – During the difficult times of natural disasters and political unrest, more than 100 Corpus Christi community members came together for the Light of Unity Festival. This interfaith and intercultural event was hosted by the Health Science Association (HSA) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Bahá’í Community of Corpus Christi on Oct. 22 in the University Center. The Light of Unity Festival played a role in students interacting with the diverse Coastal Bend community.

Dr. Sherdeana Owens, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the HSA faculty advisor, believes students must be aware of the cultural, ethnic, religious and political diversity in the community to be effective in their future roles. She encouraged the HSA students to co-host the Light of Unity Festival as they will one day be the community’s healthcare managers, health educators and long-term care administrators.

“The Light of Unity Festival was an effort to learn about a specific religious group and to emphasize the importance of open communications and unity in the community,” said Owens. “Our students will be advocates for the community and offer recommendations to policymakers. To do this, they have to understand who they serve.”

HSA is a professional student organization and part of the American College of Healthcare Executives Higher Education Network. They promote community involvement and provide knowledge that is essential for future healthcare professionals. In the past, the HSA and the Health Science program at A&M-Corpus Christi have made efforts to understand other religious and cultural groups like the Bahá’í Community of Corpus Christi.

During the festival, Farhood “Fred” Kasiri gave a keynote address on Bahá’í beliefs, the role of spirituality in health and the importance of unity among all peoples, religions and nations. Dr. Susan Dyess, Associate Dean of the CONHS at A&M-Corpus Christi; Joe Miller, Director of Community Outreach at A&M-Corpus Christi and The Honorable Ben Molina, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Corpus Christi, also spoke at the event. The Mayor of Corpus Christi designated the weekend as “Birth of Baha’u’llah Days” to recognize the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith.

“We hope the students understood the role of open communication among diverse groups in a community and the essential task of understanding each other,” said Owens. “Beliefs affect whether people seek care, what limitations might be in place or the emphasis on prayer in addition to treatment. Unity allows us to work together for the betterment of all.”