From August 3-5, 2018, over 400 students and educators from across the United States gathered in Chicago to advance their interfaith leadership skills and bridge the deep divisions we're facing in America, starting on their campus.


What happened at the ILI?

2018 ILI Schedule 


10:00am – 12:00pm: Registration and Check-In

11:00am: Information Session for First Time Attendees (optional)
The ILI has a lot to offer you. From skills in the training room to networking opportunities, IFYC staff and coaches want to make sure you have your questions answered before everything gets underway.

12:00pm: Opening Lunch with Eboo Patel, Founder and President of IFYC
Join us as we kick off the ILI with a conversation with IFYC staffers Carr Harkrader and Bri Crumbley before our President and Founder Eboo Patel shares insights on the interfaith movement.

1:30pm – 3:00pm: Training Session 1

3:00pm – 3:30pm: Break

3:30pm – 5:30pm: Training Session 2

5:30pm – 7:30pm: Dinner and Dialogue with Simran Jeet Singh and Whitney Kimball Coe
During dinner, we’ll announce our 2018 winners for the Mike Hammer and Rising Star Interfaith Leadership Awards.​ Then, IFYC staffer Jenan Mohajir will moderate a conversation between Simran Jeet Singh, Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, and Whitney Kimball Coe, Director of National Programs for the Center for Rural Strategies.


8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast

9:00am – 10:00am: Storytelling Sessions
Participants will have the opportunity to see and hear storytelling in action from IFYC Coaches and Alumni. Storytellers will discuss their faith and worldview identities, theology or ethic of interfaith cooperation, and personal interfaith journeys before answering participant questions.

10:00am – 10:30am: Break

10:30am – 12:00pm: Training Session 3

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm – 2:30pm: Training Session 4

2:30pm – 3:00pm: Break

3:00 – 5:00pm: Unconference
IFYC is turning the conversation over to you! Tables will be assigned topics based on your suggestions. You choose where you want to sit and discuss the work being done on your campus and how your interfaith leadership skills can drive social change.

4:00 – 5:00pm: Program Showcases
Participants can stay in their Unconference conversations or head to breakout rooms for our program showcases. These showcases will provide a chance to learn more about the Coach program and student leadership opportunities, IFYC Alumni Network, multiple grant opportunities, and research findings from IDEALS and VIEWS.

5:00pm: Night on the Town (Dinner on your own)


7:30am – 8:30am: Breakfast

8:30am – 10:00am: Training Session 5

10:00am – 10:30am: Break

10:30am – 12:00pm: Training Session 6

12:00pm – 1:30pm: Closing Lunch
Before heading back to campus, participants are invited to hear reflections from the ILI, sign up for our student network, and strategize on next steps.

Learn About Our Keynote Speakers

Whitney Kimball Coe

- Whitney Kimball Coe / director of national programs for the center for rural strategies read more read less
Whitney Kimball Coe / director of national programs for the center for rural strategies

Whitney Kimball Coe is director of National Programs for the Center for Rural Strategies. She began working with the Center as a consultant to the Community Philanthropy Initiative and now focuses on national strategies for strengthening and amplifying the work of rural advocates and stakeholders. Coe also directs the work of the National Rural Assembly, an event which brings together rural leaders and advocates from every region with national public- interest organizations, funders, and policymakers in ways that inform public policy and private investment in rural people and places.  In 2017, she was a featured speaker at the inaugural summit of the Obama Foundation and a guest on the radio program On Being with Krista Tippett. Her focus on building civic courage in communities is directly tied to a practice of participation in her hometown of Athens, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband Matt and daughters, Lucy and Susannah. Coe has a MA in Appalachian studies from Appalachian State University in North Carolina and an undergraduate degree in religion and philosophy from Queens University of Charlotte.

Eboo Patel

- Eboo Patel / Interfaith Youth Core read more read less
Eboo Patel / Interfaith Youth Core

Eboo Patel is a leading voice in the movement for interfaith cooperation and the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a national nonprofit working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. He is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and the recent Interfaith Leadership: A Primer. Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. He is a regular contributor to the public conversation around religion in America and a frequent speaker on the topic of religious pluralism. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. For over fifteen years, Eboo has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help realize a future where religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division.

Simran Jeet Singh

- Simran Jeet Singh / educator, writer, activist, and scholar read more read less
Simran Jeet Singh / educator, writer, activist, and scholar

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an educator, writer, activist, and scholar who currently serves as the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition and Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellow for Religion in International Affairs at New York University’s Center for Religion and Media. He is the author of “Covering Sikhs,” a guidebook produced with Religion News Foundation and the Sikh Coalition to help journalists accurately report on the Sikh community.

Simran also serves as a Truman National Security Fellow, a term-member for the Council on Foreign Relations, a board member for the Religion News Association, and an Honorary Fellow at the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Birmingham (UK). He serves as a chaplain at New York University and on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Interfaith Advisory Committee for the State of New York.

Simran earned graduate degrees in religion from Columbia University and Harvard University, and an undergraduate degree from Trinity University, where he taught courses on Islam and Sikhi from 2015-2017. He also helped teach courses on Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic traditions at Columbia University, and he received Columbia’s prestigious Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2013.

Simran is currently working on two major book projects for adult audiences (in addition to a children’s book!). The first looks at the life of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh tradition. The second examines the experiences of Sikhs in America through the lens of discrimination, resilience, and community power. His recent work is situated at the intersection of racism, cultural illiteracy, and Islamophobia.

Simran leverages his expertise on these issues to write and speak regularly on issues such as diversity, equity, justice, cultural literacy, and representation. His public engagement includes writing opinion and feature pieces for various platforms and serving as an expert source for reporters. His work has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, but he says the highlight of his career was appearing on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has received awards for this work, such as the Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award from Auburn Seminary (2016) and the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Award from Harvard Divinity School (2018).

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Simran is a diehard Spurs fan and avid marathon runner. He currently lives with his partner and two daughters in Manhattan, New York. His wife, Dr. Gunisha Kaur, teaches and works as an anesthesiologist specializing in global health at Weill Cornell Medical College. He also enjoys spending way too much time on Twitter, where you can follow him as @SikhProf.