AAC&U and Interfaith Youth Core Partner to Foster Interfaith Leadership and Cooperation in Higher Education
Washington, DC—April 30, 2018—Despite the increasing importance of questions of religious identity and diversity on the national and global stage, interfaith cooperation remains underdeveloped as an institutional priority on many college campuses. In response, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) are partnering to help colleges and universities make interfaith cooperation an institutional priority and establish models for increased curricular and cocurricular experiences that enable students to navigate deep differences across lines of religious belief and worldview.
A transformational grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will support a three-and-a-half year initiative to establish interfaith cooperation as a heightened priority among US colleges and universities and help them create campus-wide and cross-curricular interfaith programs. The grant will fund the development of a series of institutes, workshops, and other resources that support and enhance institutional efforts to broaden, deepen, and strengthen their commitments to interfaith teaching and learning.
“We are thrilled and grateful for this partnership and the transformational impact it represents,” said Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core. “The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ investment greatly strengthens institutions and scholars working to safeguard the value of positive engagement in a diverse democracy. This energy, channeled through AAC&U’s network and commitment to excellence, and using IFYC’s years of experience in the field, will help power a generational shift towards pluralism and away from polarization.”
The partnership between AAC&U and IFYC is built upon a shared commitment to ensuring that the next generation of leaders has the vision, knowledge, and skills necessary to transform experiences with diversity into engaged and productive pluralism. Through the Interfaith Leadership in Higher Education initiative, AAC&U and IFYC will promote the integration of interfaith understanding and engagement into locally and globally focused curricular and cocurricular experiences, support ongoing faculty and curricular development around interfaith cooperation, and establish best practices for engaging religious diversity in the global commons.
“At a time of increasing polarization in American society, finding commonality, grounded in the human experience, is more critical than ever,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “AAC&U is grateful to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for supporting our collaboration with the Interfaith Youth Core, aimed at facilitating conversations across religious differences.”
Under a new strategic vision announced in May 2017, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations fund projects in five key program areas: Private Higher Education; Interfaith Leadership and Religious Literacy; Public Educational Media; Environmental Engagement, Stewardship, and Solutions; and Palliative Care and End of Life. This cross-programmatic grant illustrates the Foundations’ deep commitment to playing a leading role in supporting projects that advance the understanding that religious diversity is essential to civil discourse within a democracy and that leaders in all walks of life are more effective through an appreciation for the religious views of others.
As part of this effort, AAC&U and IFYC will hold the inaugural Institute on Teaching and Learning for Campus-wide Interfaith Excellence July 17–20, 2018, at Boston University. The Institute is designed to prepare college and university leaders to transform their campuses into model environments for interfaith cooperation. Intended for administrators, faculty, and staff at private colleges and universities, campuses are invited to bring teams of five people to the Institute. Thanks to generous funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, all costs will be covered for accepted campus teams, including housing, travel, and tuition. In addition, teams will be eligible for grant support to implement their action plans back on campus. Applications are due April 30, 2018. For more information about the Institute, visit https://www.aacu.org/summerinstitutes/ifyc/2018.
For more information about the Interfaith Leadership in Higher Education initiative, visit https://www.aacu.org/interfaith.
AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.
AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. Information about AAC&U can be found at www.aacu.org.
Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is a national non-profit organization working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together. To realize this vision, IFYC partners with American colleges and universities, helping students and educators to explore, experience, and engage issues of religious and worldview diversity and difference up-close. Active since 2002, IFYC works with students, staff, administrators, and faculty at over 450 U.S. colleges and universities along with a growing network of alumni who are advancing interfaith cooperation across various areas of American life. Learn more at IFYC.org.