InterFaith Alliance Meets Eboo Patel
Student leaders from our InterFaith Alliance met Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, at the IFYC June 2014 Leadership Institute at New York University. Eboo is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He is the author of two books, “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation,” and “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America.”
Iqra Iftikhar ’14, Joe LaTorre ’15, Maria Haseeb ’16 and Javaria Haseeb ’17 arrived at NYU’s Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership and dove into speedfaithing, workshops, event design challenges, leadership inventory, storytelling, networking and dialogue skills development. IFYC’s “Better Together” campaign helps students build interfaith cooperation through social action projects developed and led by students where they create safe space to share values and engage across difference.
Joe, Maria and Javaria will return to our campus with two interfaith student programs already under development. Our Merrimack team submitted plans for “Fast Better Together” and “Pray Better Together” which they hope to implement in the 2014-15 academic year.
The InterFaith Alliance was formed in fall of 2012 and became an official student organization in spring of 2013. The Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations provides mentoring and support, in addition to scholarships to leadership training programs such as this one at NYU. Recent graduate Iqra Iftikhar was one of the founders and served as the first president of the InterFaith Alliance. She graduated with a degree in Health Science and minors in Biology and Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. Iqra will take her training to Tufts Medical School in the fall where she will pursue a Masters in Public Health.
Joe LaTorre is a Psychology major with a concentration in Clinical Psychology; his minor is Religious Studies with a concentration in Eastern Religions. Maria is majoring in Health Science with a minor in Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations, and her younger sister Javaria is majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Physics. Javaria has been doing service work with the InterFaith Alliance since high school.
All of our Merrimack students approached this experience with enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, intelligence and creativity. They met students from colleges and universities around the country, as well as young adult leaders who are alumni of the IFYC program, all passionate about making a difference on their campuses and around the world. We are very proud of how well they represented Merrimack!
Founded in 2002, IFYC has trained thousands of young adults to become leaders on their campuses in fostering interfaith cooperation and understanding. IFYC builds the global interfaith youth movement through these trainings across the country, through social media and through their “Better Together” campaign, which all nurture a network of interfaith leaders on American college campuses.
Our new student club, the InterFaith Alliance, is taking an active role in trying to establish a permanent, accessible space which would be open for prayer and meditation for students and our campus community regardless of faith tradition or religious belief.
We honored four student leaders from the Class of 2014 for their interfaith and intercultural work at our third annual “Feast of Faiths” student dialogue dinner on February 11, 2014.