How can students and teachers in institutions of higher education contribute to interfaith understanding through practical cooperation?
For this challenge, US-President Obama launched the "President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge" five years ago. On the invitation of President Obama the first "International Higher Education Interfaith Leadership Forum" (IHEILF) was held from 9-11 September 2015 at the White House in Washington D.C.. It was organised together with Georgetown University and Howard University with 50 participants from all continents including Board members and the Executive Direcotr of Globethics.net.
Over 400 colleges in the USA are already participating in the "President's Challenge", especially with projects involving practical community services provided by students from different religions in order to strengthen cooperation, mutual respect and understanding. Education and interfaith cooperation of young adults is an alternative to terrorism and to military response and a constructive answer to the 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks.
Globethics.net was strongly represented by the three Board members Professor Heidi Hadsell, President of Hartford Seminary USA (as implementing partner of the event), Professor Siti Syamsiyatun, Director of the interfaith PhD Programme at ICRS in Indonesia, Professor Parichart Suwanbubbha, Director of the Center for Peace at Mahidol University in Thailand, and Professor Christoph Stückelberger, Executive Director of Globethics.net.
Members of the Globethics.net team at the White House for the International Higher Education Interfaith
Leadership Forum, 9-11 September 2015, Washington D.C., USA
From left to Right (photo on the right): Ms. Heidi Hadsell (USA), Ms. Siti Syamsiyatun (Indonesia),
Ms. Parichart Suwanbubbha (Thailand), Mr. Christoph Stückelberger (Switzerland)
When Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jews and non-faith-based students care together for elderly people, for the environment, for refugees, through music, dance and open dialogue they show that compassion and caring is part of their faith. At the same time they learn to respect the faith conviction of others. The Forum brought together not only manifold initiatives in the US but also others worldwide that were presented and discussed.
The US government is supporting the challenge programme through 14 governmental departments under the leadership of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships". Globethics.net strengthened its partnerships with a number of institutions on this topic during the Forum.
Of the over 140,000 registered participants of Globethics.net over 50,000 are students and 35,000 teachers. They are all invited to contribute to this effort of dialogue and joint interfaith action!
Globethics.net invites you to report your interfaith experiences, challenges and actions in and outside your institution of higher education so that we can learn from each other. We can then put a selection online. Send a short description and photos if appropriate of your experiences and actions along with your contact details to email@example.com . For specific requests or proposals on interfaith partnerships contact the Executive Director Christoph Stückelberger firstname.lastname@example.org.