Women’s Leadership in Interfaith Affairs:Inter-Religious Dynamics in the Civic Space
The Shirley Sugerman Interfaith Forum was established in 1991 and endowed by Dr. Shirley Sugerman G ’70, Drew trustee emerita, and other donors. The forum provides a venue for interdisciplinary exchanges between and among scholars, teachers, religious leaders, and members of the larger community interested in exploring issues of interfaith understanding, the diversity of religiously-based ethical perspectives, and the political, social, and cultural conflicts caused by the clash of religious traditions.
The CEO of Tanenbaum, a secular, non-sectarian nonprofit that systematically dismantles religious violence and hatred through Peacemakers in armed conflicts and by tackling religious bullying of students, harassment in workplaces and disparate health treatment for people based on their beliefs. Internationally in demand as a speaker, Ms. Dubensky trains and leads workshops on all Tanenbaum programs. She has presented at the United Nations, the Interfaith Kosovo 2nd Annual Conference, the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom, among many others. As an attorney, Ms. Dubensky served as a national consultant for the Council of Jewish Federations (now Jewish Federations of North America). She also created the Legal Department at the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York and served as its first general counsel for over 10 years.
Sarah currently serves as senior adviser to community affairs for the Office of the Mayor, City of New York. Previously, Ms. Sayeed served as Director of Community Partnerships, at the Interfaith Center of New York. She is a board member of Women in Islam, Inc., a social justice and human rights volunteer organization dedicated to the empowerment of women through knowledge and practice of Islam. In this capacity, she helped author the booklet, “Women-Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Reclaiming Our Heritage, and a survey report Women and the American Mosque. Sayeed earned a degree in Sociology and Near East Studies from Princeton University and an MA and PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a certificate in Reconciliation Leadership through the Institute for Global Leadership.
She has worked in women’s and human rights organizations for almost three decades. She is co-founder and active board member of the 14-year old front-line women’s human rights organization, Women for Afghan Women. Ms. Viswanath is also co-founder and board member of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, living and building a Hinduism that prioritizes social justice, and upholding the Hindu principles of ekatva (oneness), ahimsa (non-violence) and sadhana (faith in action). She is a frequent writer for the Huffington Post and has been honored for her work on numerous occasions.