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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

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Doris Duke’s Shangri La
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer

I recently attended a retreat put on by the Social Science Research Council titled “Islam and Muslims in World Contexts.” Though the title may seem a little dry, Tom Asher at the SSRC pulled together a great group of about 20 professors, researchers, journalists, and grant-makers to discuss how coverage of Islam is changing in an ever-changing media landscape. The retreat spanned two days with much discussion. But I’ll bet you’re wondering what this has to do with Shangri La.

In 1925, twelve-year-old Doris Duke was the sole heiress to a sizable chunk of her father’s, James Buchanan Duke, estate. In 1935, Ms. Duke was married and while on honeymoon throughout the Islamic world acquired a large collection of Islamic art. Two years later she built her private retreat on the island of Oahu, just east of Diamond Head.

Doris Duke would continue to collect artifacts throughout her life before she died in 1993. Shangri La now houses the collection and is open to the public. So what a fantastic setting to hold our retreat!

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