ILI Experience

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Learn more about the ILI

The Interfaith Leadership Institute (ILI) is the largest gathering of students and educators with a commitment to American religious pluralism. Over the course of three days, participants learn skills to help them bridge divides, develop plans to take back to their campuses, and meet peers from around the country, forging friendships across lines of religious and worldview differences. See below for what happened at the 2019 ILI.

2020 ILI Main Site

What Happened at the 2019 ILI

Keynote Speech: IFYC Founder & President, Eboo Patel

IFYC Founder & President addresses the 2019 ILI sharing the hope he feels from seeing so many young leaders and educators ready to make interfaith cooperation a norm on their campuses.

Engaging Religious Difference in Divided Times Panel Conversation

During Friday's panel, Eboo Patel moderated a conversation between Alia Bilal, Director of Community Relations at IMAN, Emma Green, Staff Writer at the Atlantic, and Montse Alvarado, VP and Executive Director at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The panel spoke about their professional and personal experiences of engaging religious diversity in America.

Faces of Interfaith Leadership: An Unexpected Friendship

IFYC alum and current staff person, Hannah Minks, talks with friend and fellow IFYC alum, Usra Ghazi about how they grapple with their different faith and political worldviews.

Faces of Interfaith Leadership: Let Evangelicals Surprise You

IFYC alumnus, Kevin Singer shares his experiences of interfaith work as an Evangelical Christian, his excitement at seeing fellow, young Evangelical leaders continuing this work and hope that people will allow themselves to be surprised by their Evangelical peers.

Photo Gallery


2020 ILI Keynote Speakers

Jen Bailey

Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jen Bailey is an ordained minister, public...

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Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jen Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a Womanist-led organization equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment. Jen comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combating intergenerational poverty. Rev. Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves locally on the staff of Greater Bethel A.ME. Church in Nashville, Tennessee. 

An Ashoka Fellow, Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, Aspen Ideas Scholar, On Being Fellow and Truman Scholar, Jennifer earned degrees from Tufts University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School where she was awarded the Wilbur F. Tillett Prize for accomplishments in the study of theology. She writes regularly for a number of publications including On Being, Sojourners, and the Huffington Post. Rev. Bailey sits on the boards of Open Table Nashville, World Faith, and the Healing Trust. She enjoys good food, dancing like no one is watching, and road trip adventures with her husband, psychotherapist and religious studies scholar Ira Helderman

Rabbi Sarah Bassin

Rabbi Sarah Bassin, Associate Rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, is a pluralist at her core, believing that we always have something to learn from those who are different than us – whether religiously, culturally, politically, or even...

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Rabbi Sarah Bassin, Associate Rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, is a pluralist at her core, believing that we always have something to learn from those who are different than us – whether religiously, culturally, politically, or even Jewishly. With this passion to engage difference, Rabbi Bassin has reinvigorated Emanuel’s young professionals community and work in social justice.

Prior to joining Temple Emanuel, Rabbi Bassin served as the inaugural executive director at NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. Under her leadership, NewGround was named one of the 50 most innovative and inspiring organizations in the Jewish community by Slingshot magazine, and its interfaith teen program was recognized by Governor Jerry Brown as California’s faith-based organization of the year in 2013. She is an alumna of the prestigious Joshua Venture Fellowship for Jewish entrepreneurs. Rabbi Bassin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Religion and History from Lafayette College. In addition to rabbinic ordination, she received a certificate in Jewish non-profit management at Hebrew Union College.

Rabbi Bassin currently serves on the board of Upstart, NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. She is proud to teach in the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College.

https://onbeing.org/programs/sarah-bassin-and-abdullah-antepli-holy-envy-feb2018/

Greg Jao

Greg Jao serves InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA as the Senior Assistant to the President and as Director of External Relations. In this role, he leads InterVarsity’s efforts to partner with other ministries, churches, and networks; shapes...

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Greg Jao serves InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA as the Senior Assistant to the President and as Director of External Relations. In this role, he leads InterVarsity’s efforts to partner with other ministries, churches, and networks; shapes InterVarsity’s leadership communications; and guides InterVarsity’s response to situations where the ministry’s presence is challenged by campus administrators.

Greg is the author of Your Mind’s Mission (an Urbana Onward book), The Kingdom of God (a LifeGuide Bible Study), and a contributing author to Following Jesus without Dishonoring Your Parents (a discipleship book for Asian Americans) (all IVP), Educating about Religious Diversity and Interfaith Engagement: A Handbook for Student Affairs (Stylus), Telling the Truth (a book on postmodern evangelism published by Zondervan), and Voices of Conflict & Voices of Hope (a two-volume study of American teenagers) (Adama Books). A second-generation Chinese American, he helped develop The Daniel Project, a leadership acceleration program for Asian American InterVarsity staff. He has served on the curricula teams for subsequent Daniel Projects serving African Americans, Latinos, and Fraternity/Sorority ministry staff. He frequently speaks on campus, in churches, and at conferences. Among InterVarsity alumni, Greg is best known as the emcee for the Urbana Student Mission Conferences in 03, 06, 09, and 12.

Prior to his ministry with InterVarsity, Greg worked as an employee benefits attorney in Chicago.

Academic Background: Greg is a graduate of The University of Chicago (B.A. English, 1990) and The Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1994).

Family: Greg is married to Jennifer (Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Disease) at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital), and they have two daughters: Madeleine and Kirsten.

If you want more random information: He’s also a character in the Star Trek novel, The Kobayashi Maru.

Willow Wilson

Willow Wilson is an author of exceptional talent and courage. Her writing tackles, across multiple genres, the most pressing issues of our time including religious intolerance and gender politics.

An American convert to Islam, Willow...

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Willow Wilson is an author of exceptional talent and courage. Her writing tackles, across multiple genres, the most pressing issues of our time including religious intolerance and gender politics.

An American convert to Islam, Willow lives today in both Egypt and the United States. Her articles, graphic novels and books reflect her extraordinary cross-cultural experiences with remarkable originality and insight. She is the author of three books, multiple graphic novels, and three comic book series, including the groundbreaking Ms. Marvel. In a field typically dominated by male novelists Willow stands out no less than the strong female characters she creates. Her first novel, Alif the Unseen, was a contender for the Orange Prize and was awarded the World Fantasy Prize. Her comic book series Ms. Marvel, called “pitch perfect” by the New York Times, won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. In 2018, Willow became the new ongoing writer of DC’s Wonder Woman series.

Willow was the first westerner to be granted a private interview with Sheikh Ali Gomaa, and her articles about the Middle East and modern Islam have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic and the Canada National Post. Her memoir about life in Egypt during the waning years of the Mubarak regime, The Butterfly Mosque, has served as a common read for communities and campuses across the country. Willow’s latest novel, The Bird King, a fantastical journey set at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, was released in 2019 and met with high praise.