It is a great honor and pleasure for me to announce the beginning of our Sharif International School on Theism: East and West. This summer school is the first year of the three consecutive years of the ten years of our intentions and ambitions to plan and organize these events. Sharif International School on Theism: East and West is a philosophical-theological event to be held from this moment, and will hopefully continue in the coming years. The three categories of “God”, “man” and “nature” are the focus of these schools. Our current first school is centered on God; Concepts, Proofs, Attributes, and Actions, which will be followed by our second school with the main themes of Mind-body problem, The problem of evil, Free will in 2022, and our third one on Natural kind, Laws of nature, and Teleology in 2023.

I am not here to undermine the significance of sharing ideas, international cooperation, and academic collaborations. Nevertheless, I do have a great willingness to emphasize that the goals mentioned above are all subordinated to the art of listening, the virtue of dialogue, and the value of learning, and on the top of these stands, the god’s exclusive gift bestowed to humankind, that is free-thinking and the freedom of thoughts. If we could provide an infrastructure to recognize and be committed to the intrinsic value and the requirements of this exceptional attribute of human beings, then the consequence will flourish and shine.

I thus think that if philosophizing or making and showing off the argumentations shouldn’t result in the enhancement of free thinking or improvement of tolerance and pluralism, let it consider it as the business, as a job, as a vocation, and even vacation. It is surely worth mentioning the saying from Imam Ali who tells us that there is silence and tolerance that signifies knowledge. Many have helped us make this event happen these days of the wild rise of the coronavirus pandemic. May God bless us to have you and our professors in person next year. You participants are among those who have given us your kindness and support. The distinguished professors from all over the world and our fellow Iranian professors are those whom I am indebted to them and I appreciate their warm acceptance and attendance. (Seyed Hassan Hosseini)