Gathering Together. Building a Movement.

This moment in history feels defined by conflict and division. Across America, people are building walls between themselves and their neighbors, especially when it comes to religious and worldview differences. We’re seeing it on the news, online, and on campus.

If you’re not okay with that, the ILI is for you.

Every year, students come together at the ILI to experience the best our diverse society has to offer. They meet and make friends with diverse others and learn how to engage positively with those who hold entirely different truths. Most importantly, they gain the skills and the vision to do something powerful back on campus by advancing the movement for interfaith cooperation.

If you’re ready to change things, here’s what to expect at the ILI:

  • Learn to engage positively and respectfully with people who orient around religion differently, and how to find the common ground that can be a basis for working together to address important problems like hunger, homelessness, climate change, and many more.
  • Share your values, experiences, and stories through hands-on sessions and group activities. Meaningful dialogue with those of other traditions and worldviews can shatter stereotypes and help you understand the religious diversity around you in a whole new way.
  • Connect with rising leaders from across the country who share a passion for interfaith cooperation. Leave the ILI connected to a national network of interfaith leaders who are driving the movement.
  • Make a plan to advance interfaith cooperation with actions you can take right away. Students leave the ILI inspired and equipped to make it happen back on campus and in the “real world.”

Conflict might be the status quo, and changing the status quo is never easy; but with the right skills and support, you can tear down barriers and build bridges as an interfaith leader. Join us at the ILI, and start moving forward.

Learning Tracks & Schedule

Whether you’re totally new to interfaith work or a seasoned pro returning to the ILI, the experience offers exciting learning tracks for you. Read on for a detailed description of this year’s tracks.

Student Tracks (No Prerequisites)

Foundations of Interfaith Leadership
Every movement has its beginning and for participants ready to join the IFYC community, this is where you can start. This track is designed to help lay the foundation for your journey with interfaith leadership.
Storytelling for Interfaith Cooperation
Storytelling is one of the core skills of interfaith leadership. Not only does it build meaningful relationships as a method of dialogue but it helps build a social movement. In this track, students will explore their own faiths and traditions, identify opportunities for meaningful stories, and learn how to articulate them in authentic and powerful ways.

Advanced Student Tracks (Prerequisites)

Tackling Challenging Conversations
In every interfaith leader's journey we come to moments where the bridge between our differences seems insurmountable. In this advanced track, we explore concepts, skills, and methods for engaging in challenging conversations and examine best practices concerning difficult issues of religious diversity in the campus and civic environment.
Interfaith Beyond Graduation
Interfaith leadership does not end with graduation. In fact, the skills and knowledge you have gained as a student leader can prepare you to live out this vision in your lives after college.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read on for Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Who should attend the ILI from my campus?

IFYC recommends that campuses bring multiple students and educators to the ILI so that when you return to campus, you have a network already established to implement the skills gained. For this reason, we have removed the cap on delegation size. Furthermore, we recommend sending a diversity of students and educators from various faiths and traditions, majors, and time spent involved with interfaith cooperation. Additionally, the tracks have been designed to meet the needs of students new to interfaith work as well as advanced students. Please be in touch with your IFYC contact directly or email leadershipinstitute@ifyc.org if you have questions about this and strategies regarding who you should bring to an ILI from your campus.

What are some strategies for building a delegation to bring to the ILI?

Our 7 tracks are designed to provide skills for first and second year students through senior student leaders. IFYC recommends bringing a mix of promising potential leaders and already shining stars. Find representatives from different groups on campus to help spread the movement of interfaith work across campus and frame expectations to make sure that individuals selected to attend understand that they are expected to serve as interfaith leaders on campus upon their return and only bring those who are interested in making this commitment.

How do I attend the ILI and meet my observance needs?

The ILI is specially designed so that students and educators of all traditions can fully participate throughout the program. However, we understand that attending an interfaith event over the weekend can be challenging for a variety of reasons. In some ways, events during the work week and school week can be even more difficult to accommodate! No three days can work for everyone, but we do start the ILI on a Friday to ensure that participants who observe Shabbat can travel before Shabbat begins.

In order to provide an enriching and engaging event for all participants, IFYC is dedicated to providing the accommodations listed below and anything else that may not be listed to meet our participants’ needs. The following are available to all ILI participants:

  • Interfaith Room – Throughout the ILI, an interfaith room is available for prayer, meditation, reflection, and more. Participants are encouraged to use this shared space at any time during the ILI. The room is outfitted with prayer rugs and sheets for the floor, candles, kosher challah bread, kosher grape juice, a whiteboard, and markers. Due to the great diversity of traditions and practices represented, IFYC does not provide organized services or observances. Instead, we encourage participants to use the whiteboard and markers to organize their own DIY reflections and observances with fellow participants.
  • Break Times – The ILI is sprinkled with short breaks so that participants can take the time to meet their physical, spiritual, and mental needs. For example, on Friday there is a break between the opening lunch and the first training session when Muslim participants can break away for jumma service. Additionally, free times on Friday and Saturday may be used by Jewish participants to organize Shabbat observances in the interfaith room.
  • Area Places of Worship – IFYC staff are happy to connect participants with local places of worship or observance. Trainers will excuse any participants that choose to attend services during training times. For example, Christian participants may leave to attend mass or church on Sunday.
  • Meals – Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, zabiha/halal, and kosher certified meals are all available for participants to request. For Shabbat observant participants, you can request in advance a boxed dinner for Saturday night in your ILI registration at no additional cost. 

Please let us know if there's something not mentioned above that you need in order to be able to attend the ILI and participate in all activities, and we'll do our best to make it happen! Email leadershipinstitute@ifyc.org with any questions or concerns.

What kinds of things do we do at the ILI?

  • Meet and briefly talk with fellow participants from across the country in one of our favorite activities, Talk Better Together.
  • Hear from IFYC’s Founder and President, Eboo Patel, and ask him about important issues in interfaith cooperation.
  • Connect with folks around similar interests in a series of informal round table discussions based on topics that you all choose together.
  • Meet IFYC alumni, hear the stories of their own interfaith work as professionals, and talk to them about how interfaith leadership extends beyond graduation.
  • Practice engaging in healthy dialogue from topics that you choose during our Unconference.

What do I learn as an educator (campus professional staff, faculty, or graduate student) at the ILI?

In sessions geared specifically for educators, you will have the opportunity to connect with other educators from campuses across the country to learn how to serve as mentors and advisors to students and as capacity builders for structural change. You will connect with other higher education professionals who are passionate about interfaith work and share best practices on a variety of topics. Additionally, you will explore strategies and methods for transforming your campus into a model of interfaith cooperation, including measuring the impact and quality of interfaith programs. Lastly, you will engage in meaningful discussions on what it means to be an interfaith leader in a professional context.