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International Higher Education Interfaith Leadership Forum 2016 participated in the International Higher Education Interfaith Leadership Forum (IHEILF) from 20-23 September 2016 in Washington, USA.
IHEILF brings together international representatives in higher education to focus on the development of interfaith leadership formation and share experiences and promising practices across countries. The programme effort honours religious pluralism, advances religious literacy, and fosters interreligious understanding and cooperation.
International Higher Education Interfaith Leadership Forum 2016 group picture
(Copyright Berkley Center 2016)
Dr Heidi Hadsell, President of the Hartford Seminary and Board Member, gave the opening remarks. 
The participants discussed topics such as the role of inter-religious cooperation in US diplomacy as well as higher education and peace building and dealing with the challenges of the refugee crisis. The University Engagement Toolkit: How Campuses Are Helping Refugees (PDF) was referred to throughout the event and participants were invited to consider how their own campuses are taking steps to help the situation.  
A number of sessions were held as part of the Sixth Annual President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Gathering (PICSCC). Executive Director Obiora Ike participated in the session ‘Creating Inclusive Programs: Secular Student Engagement in Interfaith (Programs)'. This workshop explored data related to secular student engagement and representation in interfaith programs, while offering concrete ideas and suggestions on how to find, include, and engage them on campus.
Our Indonesia Programme Executive and Board Member Siti Syamsiyatun attended the ‘Global Arts and Cultural Education as a Tool for Interfaith Peace building' workshop. The main point of the session was the concept of fostering social engagement and volunteerism by connecting public art platforms to social justice and peace initiatives.
Finally, Dicky Sofjan also from Indonesia discussed ‘Curricular Development for Multifaith Education and Intercultural Citizenship'. The workshop explored the fact that the university plays a formative role in teaching students how to value diversity in others with dignity and respect on campus and in the wider community. Dicky Sofjan says: "I was ecstatic to receive the invitation from the US Department of Education and the White House. I found myself in a crowd of experienced educators from around the world, who have been working in the interfaith field for many years. I was truly inspired by their personal stories and struggles as well as their passion and commitment to build a better world for future generations. I certainly hope I can maintain the connections from this invaluable network of talented individuals".
Heidi Hadsell during the opening remarks (Copyright Berkley Center 2016); Obiora Ike at the White House; Workshop with Siti Syamsiyatun (Copyright Berkley Center 2016); Workshop group photo with Dicky Sofjan (far left) and Obiora Ike (2nd from right)

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