Interfaith Youth Core Leadership

The weekend of October 22nd, OWU Hillel President Caroline Miller took a ride with University Chaplain Jon Powers to the Washington, D.C.  This was not a spontaneous site-seeing trip.  This trip required advanced background checks by the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security.  The pair’s final destination: The Interfaith Youth Core‘s Interfaith Leadership Institute at the White House.

The IFYC was founded about 10 years ago by Eboo Patel, President of Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith Based Neighborhood Partnerships.  The non-profit program runs workshops and provides advice for national and international initiatives to foster inter-religious understanding and tolerance.  The conference in Washington was part of the group’s Campus Partnership program.

Caroline and the Chaplain were part of a select few (200 students and 100 faculty and staff representing all 50 states and 131 schools) invited to participate in this conference. The underlying premise; religion is a powerful force that can unite and divide people.  The goal; to start a nationwide effort to make interfaith dialogue, respect, and collaboration the norm through the IFYC’s Better Together initiative.  (Read more about it in The Washington Post.)

In her application essay, Caroline described her past experiences with interfaith dialogue as strained, but she remained optimistic.

“Since coming to Ohio Wesleyan, a very diverse campus indeed with about a full quarter of our small student body being international, my eyes have seen people of all backgrounds becoming friends, my lips have tasted delicious foreign foods and my ears have heard a lot of discomfort to those unaware of the beauty of interfaith discussion…

While our campus is extremely diverse in its ethnic and religious denominations, there is not much interaction amongst them…

This theme of interfaith cooperation has not just become a fascination, it has become a way of life … People are scared of what they don’t know. By fostering these types of open and safe dialogues we can remove the fear and replace it with faith.”

Caroline and other student leaders at OWU will be promoting Interfaith activity and conversation throughout the school year.  Look for more news about a speaker in January and a campus-wide celebration of diversity, akin to the Love Day on the Jay, this spring.

IN THE NEXT OWUJEW POST: Challah for Hunger, a Hillel/Interfaith Initiative coming soon to OWU!  For information on this concept, go to

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