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Thanks to the generous support of Interfaith Youth Core, Simpson is hosting a day-long interfaith workshop for college students, faculty, and staff on Saturday, February 24. The training will be accessible for newcomers to interfaith dialogue as well as meaningful for those who are farther along the journey, and will be followed by a celebration of Des Moines’ religious diversity at Drake University on Sunday, February 25. Associate Professor of Religion Maeve Callan and Chaplain Mara Bailey have been organizing the event in collaboration with Drake Professor of Philosophy Tim Knepper and various good people as the Des Moines Area Religious Council.
The workshop begins with reflecting on how interfaith engagement intersects with our respective college mission statements and how we might develop strategies for enhancing interfaith awareness and engagement on campus, moving it from a niche to a norm. Our second session helps us strengthen our skills for negotiating challenging conversations relating to religion, when people feel passionately about conflicting values and concerns, so that we can more fully consider opposing viewpoints and work together to find common ground. After lunch, we will hear of the exciting developments at Drake University, where Tim and his students and colleagues wrote the book on religious diversity in the Des Moines area and where he has recently started an interfaith summer camp for teens. Tim and some of his students will explain the secrets of their success and then help participants reflect on how they might do something similar with their own local communities. The workshop culminates with college teams (i.e., students, faculty, and staff from a given college) developing an action plan to build on their assets on campus and in their local communities, so that they can strengthen interfaith awareness and positive engagement in meaningful ways. Teams will then present their plans to others at the workshop. Last but not least, we will finish with a celebratory dinner and a keynote address by Balpreet Kaur, an interfaith activist who received international acclaim as a college student when she demonstrated exceptional grace and integrity when explaining her Sikh customs in response to a callous comment on Reddit (for some of the story, see https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2012/sep/26/sikh-online-abuse-facial-hair ).
Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 9:00am to 5:00pm
Carver Science Center
200-298 W Clinton Ave, Indianola, IA 50125, USA