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“333” – Bringing awareness and understanding of the Islamic doctrines and beliefs of the Ancient Manuscripts of Mali

"333" is a documentary film designed to increase worldwide awareness and understanding of the Ancient Manuscripts of Mali, and of the Islamic doctrines, beliefs and traditions that have governed the lives of the people of Mali for generations particularly the tradition of peaceful resolution of conflict through dialogue, tolerance and forgiveness.

Influenced by traditional West African thought, nearly one million Manuscripts of Islamic Doctrine were recorded from the 12th through 16th Centuries, and have been passed down from generation to generation. These documents span diverse topics, including astronomy, chemistry, healing, jurisprudence, legislation, mathematics, medicine, mysticism, women’s rights, children’s rights, animal rights, and most important, the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Produced by Michael Covitt and set amongst the colorful sights and sounds of Mali, ”333”explores the mystical city of Timbuktu. This once-flourishing and celebrated center of education and learning that existed in Timbuktu’s golden age is now a humbled region. But the art, culture and teachings that inspired and sustained that intellectual society have important lessons to teach modern society.

The Documentary focuses on Islamic scholars known as “The Ambassadors of Peace,” and chronicles their “Circle of Knowledge,” a daily meeting that has taken place for nearly one thousand years. In the effort to achieve a global understanding of the tenets offered by these Manuscripts, and their impact, "333" includes interviews with current “Ambassadors,” various scholars, as well as the men, women and children living in Mali today.

Farmingdale State College has now had two screenings of this film due to the interest created by the first screening. The film is truly inspirational, thought-provoking and beautifully produced. The Q and A session following the screenings, during which students, faculty and staff asked questions and made comments inspired by the film, was a testament to the fact that the film’s depiction of the people of Mali and their approach to life, the religion of Islam, and the diversity in modern society, changed minds and hearts across our campus.

Following are quotes about “333” from a variety of viewers:

“I thought that this film was just about the Manuscripts; but it is a tutorial for the entire United Nations.”
His Excellency Oumar Daou
Ambassador to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mali

"I would like to reiterate what a remarkable and valuable event you gave to Lehigh University on the occasion of your October 16, 2012, screening of the film 333 followed by your insightful Q&A with the attendees."

"It is my fervent belief that the students, faculty, and staff of any university will find educational value as well as much food for thought in your film and your perceptive, articulate commentary."

"With the rapidly changing and increasingly tragic events taking place in the nation of Mali, your film 333 is more important than ever."
Bill Whitney, Ph.D.
Executive Assistant to the President
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

"I would like to thank you so very much for screening your documentary 333 for students and faculty at St. Francis College. It is an excellent film and the topic could not be timelier."

"It is important that youngsters and educators the world over have the opportunity to view 333, as its message about the peaceful resolution of conflict through dialogue will provide a firm foundation for their lives, and that is urgently needed, everywhere."
Thomas J. Volpe
Chairman Emeritus
St. Francis College, New York, NY

"I attended the screening and it was eye-opening. It was an educational and informative film on tolerance and the Malian history and culture. Our campus Multicultural Committee is hosting a second screening due to its interest to students, faculty and staff that were not able to attend."
Dr. Lorraine Greenwald
Dean, International Education & Programs
Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, NY

“The film is powerful, timely and highly informative. More importantly, it has a message that could change hearts and minds.”
Paul Sechrist
President, Oklahoma City Community College
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma