Lesson One

In this first lesson we define interfaith leadership and give an overview of the structure, topics, and tactics of the entire course.

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1.1: Defining Interfaith Leadership

This module defines interfaith leadership, cites historical examples of interfaith cooperation, and highlights the civic relevance of interfaith leadership for today’s world.

1.2: What is Interfaith?

The term “interfaith” is defined and students are introduced to the various ways it has been applied in different contexts. This module explores how IFYC’s model of civic interfaith cooperation differs from other understandings of the term.

1.3: Course Structure

Eboo Patel, founder and president of IFYC, will summarize the ideas shared in this first lesson and walk students through the upcoming seven lessons. This module lays out a map of the course, and points to some of the larger cumulative learning outcomes that students will achieve upon completion of the course.

 Lesson Two

In this lesson, students will be introduced to some of the primary concepts and social theories that support the interfaith movement in the United States today. By reviewing these concepts early in the course, students are equipped to better understand the world around them through the lens of interfaith cooperation, and to begin putting their own interfaith leadership skills into practice.

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2.1: Interfaith in American Democracy

This module takes a closer look at the particular opportunities and challenges of interfaith leadership in a religiously diverse democracy such as the United States.

2.2: Models of Religious Diversity

This module lays the groundwork for understanding the potential influence of interfaith leadership in today’s world. We clarify the difference between diversity and pluralism, and discuss common responses to increasing diversity, including positive, negative, and apathetic. We also share a three-step process for transforming diversity into pluralism – the ultimate goal of interfaith leadership.

2.3: Exploring Social Capital

Students will learn about the important theory of social capital, and how our relationships and networks can be leveraged to increase pluralism and work towards the common good. We distinguish between bridged and bonded social capital, and offer real-world examples of bridged social capital averting violence between religious groups.

2.4: Key Concepts Summary

Eboo Patel will summarize the big ideas of this lesson and invite students to consider how they fit into the larger course.

 Lesson Three

This lesson explores Interfaith Leadership as both an identity category and an individual commitment. Students are encouraged to begin to see themselves as interfaith leaders, and to identify some of the experiences, teachings, and relationships from their own lives that compel them to work towards pluralism and interfaith cooperation.

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3.1: What Makes an Interfaith Leader?

In this module, students will be encouraged to explore leadership in various forms, and will learn some of the common types of personal experience that inspire others to take up interfaith work.

3.2: Interfaith Experiences in the Field

Through a series of interviews, young professionals in different fields reflect on the experiences that drew them to interfaith work and inspired them to identify as interfaith leaders.

3.3: The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool for motivating social change. This video teaches students how to transform personal stories into inspiring public narratives that convey purpose, cast a vision and encourage interfaith cooperation.

3.4: Identity of an Interfaith Leader Summary

Offering a brief review of this lesson’s content, Eboo Patel invites students to reflect on the importance of developing and sharing a vision of pluralism and cooperation to establish oneself as an interfaith leader.

 Lesson Four

Developing religious literacy is one of the most daunting aspects of interfaith leadership. This lesson shares methods for cultivating appreciative knowledge of other religious beliefs, practices, and worldviews. Additionally, it demonstrates how increased appreciative knowledge drives positive relationships and attitudes.

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4.1: Becoming Aware of Religious Diversity

In this module, students are introduced to the three primary areas of knowledge necessary for interfaith leadership, and are given a chance to hone their awareness of the religious diversity all around them.

4.2: What is Appreciative Knowledge?

We define appreciative knowledge of other religious traditions as substantive knowledge and positive inclinations. In this lesson we distinguish between appreciative knowledge and religious literacy, and provide ways for students to develop their appreciative knowledge about other religious and ethical traditions.

4.3: Appreciative Knowledge in the Field

Through a series of short interviews, students will hear from young professionals in different fields about how they were able to build their own appreciative knowledge of other religious and ethical traditions, and how that knowledge has aided them in their life and work.

4.4: The Interfaith Triangle

This module explores how attitudes about other religious and ethical traditions, knowledge of those traditions, and relationships with others of those traditions interact and influence one another. This three-way influence is known as the interfaith triangle and is exemplified in the principle known as My Pal Al.

4.5: Appreciative Knowledge Summary

Following a brief review of this lesson, Eboo Patel reflects on developing a radar screen for religious diversity and cultivating appreciative knowledge about other religious traditions as two critical components of interfaith leadership.

 Lesson Five

Although the current interfaith movement is relatively young, there is a rich history of both national and global interfaith cooperation. Highlighting key historical moments of interfaith engagement, this lesson offers examples of successes and failures that today’s interfaith leaders can learn from.

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5.1: Why Does This History Matter?

This video identifies ways that historical examples of interfaith cooperation can help interfaith leaders combat the false notion that religious difference inherently leads to violence and tension.

5.2: Interfaith Cooperation in United States History

This lesson looks at the history of the United States, citing several instances of interfaith bridge-building and cooperation. These examples extend from the early European settlers through the 1960s and into today.

5.3: Who are your Interfaith Heroes?

Through a series of short interviews, young professionals in different fields share stories of their own interfaith role models, contributing to students’ knowledge of historical examples of interfaith cooperation and identifying ways in which these precedents have been useful to their own interfaith leadership.

5.4: Historical Interfaith Cooperation Summary and Reflection

This final module summarizes the key ideas presented in this lesson and elaborates on how this rich history of cooperation set the stage for today’s interfaith movement.

 Lesson Six

This lesson invites students to consider stories, figures, and experiences from their own traditions that support their interfaith work. We encourage students to use these elements to develop their own ethic or theology of interfaith cooperation.

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6.1: What is an Ethic or Theology of Interfaith Cooperation?

The third area of knowledge for interfaith leadership is what we call an ethic or theology of interfaith cooperation. This personal ethic, derived from the texts, figures, history, and art of one’s own tradition, is explained in detail in this lesson. We will also identify how this ethic or theology can and should be used by interfaith leaders in different contexts.

6.2: Ethics of Interfaith Cooperation from the Field

In this series of interviews, young professionals share their ethics and theologies of interfaith cooperation and reflect on how they use them in their own interfaith leadership.

6.3: Building Relationships Across Difference

Facilitating dialogue is one of the most important and difficult skills of interfaith leadership. This module introduces methods to successfully facilitate dialogue, create safe space, and move discussion into action.

6.4: Ethics and Theologies of Interfaith Cooperation Summary and Reflection

This summative module reviews the concept and purpose of ethics and theologies of interfaith cooperation and reflects on how effective dialogue facilitation helps build relationships and grow interfaith cooperation.

 Lesson Seven

This lesson examines opportunities and challenges present in the current interfaith movement. It teaches skills for planning and executing successful interfaith events and explores ways to grow and support this rising movement.

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7.1: Interfaith Cooperation in the United States Today

This video explores the many instances of interfaith cooperation and leadership taking place across the United States today. We will discuss common challenges and current trends in interfaith work.

7.2: Interfaith Leadership in the Field

In this series of short interviews, a diverse group of young professionals discuss their role in the interfaith movement and how they use interfaith leadership in their professional and personal lives.

7.3: Creating Spaces for Interfaith Cooperation

This video explores how to successfully create spaces and opportunities for interfaith cooperation. It includes best practices for creating and assessing interfaith-friendly projects.

7.4: The Interfaith Movement Now Summary and Reflection

In this video, students are invited to reflect on how their own interfaith leadership could contribute to the growing interfaith movement.

 Lesson Eight

This final lesson draws together the core ideas presented throughout the course and highlights key strategies and approaches for putting these concepts into action in order to move our society toward the vision of pluralism.

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8.1: Why Does Interfaith Leadership Matter?

This video reviews the key ideas presented in the course thus far and introduces the concept of the five civic goods of pluralism.

8.2: Putting Interfaith Leadership into Practice

Using the case study method, this video asks students to put the skills and knowledge covered in this course into practice, placing themselves in various roles and exploring how interfaith leadership could help them navigate tensions and disagreement in a campus context.

8.3: The Civic Goods of Pluralism

Looking at the long-term impact of interfaith leadership, this module explores five measurable outcomes or civic goods of increased pluralism on society. We discuss why having measurable outcomes is integral to effective leadership and encourage students to identify other possible civic outcomes resulting from pluralism growth in their communities.

8.4: The Time for Interfaith Leaders

In this final module, Eboo Patel offers real world examples of the need and impact of interfaith leadership, bringing together the big ideas of this course in an inspirational send-off for students.