Drew Students attend Interfaith Leadership Institute in Atlanta January 2016
A part of a student leadership mentoring program, CRCC sponsored 10 students in attending Interfaith Leadership Institute in Atlanta. The students learned a tremendous amount at the ILI, about themselves, each other, and their relationship with their own faith tradition. At the same time the experience served to galvanize the group to work as a team.
Sophomore Doyin Adeyemi said, “I learned a great deal about what it means to be an interfaith leader while embracing my Christian identity. I left the conference with assurance and confidence in who I am and what role I play as an interfaith leader. The lessons I took from this conference are lessons that will stick with me forever. It was definitely an experience that left me transformed in more than one way.” Junior and Student Government President Jonathan Van Dongen, echoed some of these same sentiments saying, “This was particularly insightful for the affirmation of my own faith and skills in mediation and conflict resolution”
“What I found at the conference is that there are many people of religious and non-religious backgrounds who are willing to work together to promote open, honest, and healthy interfaith dialogue on college campuses all across the nation”, said sophomore Amelia Breckenridge.
And sophomore Nilab Nusrat, who comes to Drew University from Afghanistan describes her experience saying, “During the conference I not only learned about different beliefs and methods toward building peace bridges among people from different backgrounds but also grow as a interfaith leader. I always wanted to be an interfaith leader but unfortunately couldn’t express it freely because I was afraid of being targeted for islamophobia. This conference give me the courage and confidant to express myself freely and also to stand up in solidarity with the people from other religious background that are being targeted.”
While the experience served to galvanize the group to work as a team. The students are currently developing and implementing action plans that grow directly out of this experience (e.g. the students are organizing a series of events around faith and environmental justice, engaging multiple student groups). Future leadership development programs include social media and grant-writing workshops.