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2023 Interfaith Symposium

Najeeba speakingAugsburg hosted its first Interfaith Spring Symposium in March 2023. The topic was “Interfaith Leadership and Healing During Times of Crisis.”  El-Hibri Chair and Executive Director of the Interfaith Institute at Augsburg, Najeeba Syeed, gave the keynote lecture.

Trauma and Multi-Faith Engagement

decorative image of a head with various symptoms

What is Trauma-Informed Care?

Trauma-Informed Care understands and considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and…

Guiding principles of trauma informed care:

“The Five Guiding Principles are; safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment. Ensuring that the physical and emotional safety of an individual is addressed is the first important step to providing Trauma-Informed Care. Next, the individual needs to know that the provider is trustworthy. Trustworthiness can be evident in the establishment and consistency of boundaries and the clarity of what is expected in regards to tasks. Additionally, the more choices an individual has and the more control they have over their service experience through a collaborative effort with service providers, the more likely the individual will participate in services and the more effective the services may be. Finally, focusing on an individual’s strengths and empowering them to build on those strengths while developing stronger coping skills provides a healthy foundation for individuals to fall back on if and when they stop receiving services.”

Grief is one of the greatest acts of love we show for our beloveds. I have spent much of my career working with communities who have experienced violence, and the stewarding of the emotional and spiritual lives of those who are left behind is a sacred act of care and witness. I’ve recently written about what it means to be a professor in times of trauma. In this essay I will reflect on doing work with students in times of trauma. 


The Ones Left Standing: Guilt of Survivors 

This emotional state often comes up in the work I do on campus-based engagement around spirituality and faith, and the questions raised are theological: Why was I meant to survive this tragedy? How can I continue and carry on the legacy of my beloveds *and* the spiritual lineages of those who have passed? 

These questions raise spiritual and ethical considerations when working with students. It becomes important to draw on the empowerment component of trauma-informed care. We can ensure that our mental health services on campus are aware of the profound existential issues some of our students face that are related to the trauma and loss of an individual, and we can also talk about what it means to carry the responsibility of a spiritual or religious community. 

What are mechanisms for students to build memories that honor the histories of their communities? What are ways they can develop agency to share the joy, teachings, wisdom and rituals they were connected to? Grief here is not just individual, it is collective. It is an act that cries out to the universe, “I am here still standing on this Earth, how do I draw on all that is precious to me to keep that presence alive in my heart and continue to build threads of knowledge so that we may not just survive, but one day, flourish?”


Communities of Compassion: Living Together, Living Separately 

Very often we measure the success of interfaith engagement by how much time people spend together. This is indeed a beautiful concept and measure of our work which is grounded in human contact theory and ethics of relational enterprise. We are better when we are in dialogue. 

While this is often the case, there are moments in which communities are entrenched in modes of trauma, and we need to take into account two areas of trauma-informed care. First, safety is determined by the person themselves. If they are in need of a space that is unique to them at the moment and rituals that are shepherded by their own spiritual leaders and a private environment for their care, then we must respect their needs and definitions of what is effective for them. 

Drawing on this concept of self-defined safety, we can think about a collaborative process within campuses that recognizes that each community may have unique needs, and within each community there may be different grief processes. Inherent in this is developing a communal approach to program design and content. The collaborative mandate of trauma informed care beckons us to work directly with, not on behalf of, students and communities. 

Perhaps it is the quiet meeting of students across divides privately before a large public event is considered that is the more effective engagement. Success should not be measured by the display or performance of how activities are done.

I share all of this because we want to avoid doing work that re-traumatizes students. How do we provide processes that are collaborative, and recognize another trauma-informed care principle, trust? Are we building collaborative based engagement before a crisis? Do we only see a student population or demographic after harm? Were we taking time to know that community before harm ensued?  Are we inviting everyone to the table?

Trust takes time, it takes care, and it takes intentional, sustained, committed building. Sometimes it takes placing the ego on the side, opting out of high profile events and thinking about relationships over public recognition. 

Being humble in times of trauma teaches us so much. Are we listening?


Chris Stedman Joining the Interfaith Institute as 2023-2024 Research Fellow

The Interfaith Institute is thrilled to welcome nationally-recognized interfaith advocate, humanist community builder and researcher, and Augsburg alum Chris Stedman ‘08 to the institute as our inaugural Research Fellow.  Chris will be focusing his research on the religiously unaffiliated and religious indifference. His work is a vital contribution to understanding the current state of diverse belief systems of students in higher education and younger generations across society, particularly the widely misunderstood religiously unaffiliated population. He will be sharing his research with the larger campus community and beyond at the end of his Fellowship. 

Chris Stedman is a writer, professor, and activist who teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University. He is the author of IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives (2020, with a second edition released in August 2022) and Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious (2012), described in a ten-year retrospective by the Center for Religion and Media at NYU as “excellent and much-discussed.” He is also the writer and host of the podcast Unread, which was named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by the Guardian, Vulture, HuffPost, Mashable, the CBC, and others. In addition, Chris has written popular essays for outlets including the Atlantic, Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, VICE, and the Washington Post, as well as for publications like The Journal for College and Character and Interfaith Voices, and contributed essays to collections such as Everyday Humanism and Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism.

At Augsburg, Chris teaches on the search for meaning. He was previously a fellow at Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship and served as an Interfaith Fellow with the Institute. As the Institute’s Research Fellow, Chris is currently studying the religiously unaffiliated and religious indifference, an effort for which he was also awarded a Director’s Residency at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. As an Augsburg student, he graduated in 2008 with a degree in Religion and minors in English and Social Work.

Previously the founding director of the Yale Humanist Community and a fellow at Yale University, he also served as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University, a content developer and trainer for Interfaith America (formerly Interfaith Youth Core), and as the founding director of State of Formation at the Journal for Inter-Religious Dialogue. In 2018, Augsburg selected Stedman for their annual First Decade Award, which recognizes alumni “who have made significant progress in their professional achievements and contributions to the community” ten years after graduating.

High Holy Days

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday, September 15 and lasts through sundown Sunday, September 17. Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Sunday, September 24 and lasts until Monday night, September 25. Lesser known holidays Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah are also part of this holiday season. Sukkot begins at sundown on Friday, September 29 and the non-work holiday lasts until sundown on Sunday, October 1. Sukkot continues (as a working holiday) until sundown on Friday, October 6. Shmini Atzeret begins that same night, Friday, October 6, and the following night begins Simchat Torah, which lasts until sundown on Sunday, October 8, both as non-work holidays. During these days, please be thoughtful of those who observe them by not scheduling meetings, conference calls, or deadlines. For teachers, please do not schedule tests, presentations, or other mandatory activities. And remember that many Jewish households host family and/or other guests for these holidays. For those who celebrate Christmas, imagine if everyone wanted something from you between the mornings of December 24th and December 26th while you had multiple things cooking, preparations to be in services, and family and friends coming over. Be thoughtful, kind, and inclusive. And greetings: “Happy New Year” is appropriate to say on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. “Have an easy/meaningful fast” is appropriate to say on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement when Jews traditionally fast for 25 hours. Or to avoid mentioning fasting (which not everyone can do) you can say “Have a meaningful holiday” instead. “Happy holiday” is appropriate for Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah, and really most Jewish holidays. Thank you!!” (Credit: Ronald Weber)


Augsburg Religious Holiday Policy:


Building a Hate-Free Minnesota 

This was such a busy #Interfaith summer Augsburg University, at the Interfaith Institute. A peek at some of our work!

In July, we co-hosted Interfaith Institute Augsburg University, a statewide summit on hate crimes prevention with our state wide partner Minnesota Multifaith Network and our national partner Shoulder to Shoulder. We were delighted that over 50 faith, community, philanthropy, academic, and government leaders joined us. The First Lady of Minnesota Gwen Waltz opened the summit (you can see from the pics she stayed and listened to the discussion), followed by Dr. Anantanand Rambachan who set the tone, we heard from Rev Jim Bear Jacobs who invoked storytelling and reminded us interfaith spaces need a deep understanding of Native communities and histories. We were blessed to have Rev Cassandra Lawrence of Shoulder to Shoulder lead us through a mapping exercise and asset analysis of hate prevention resources. 

Our director Najeeba Syeed led the group through a discussion of action steps and we were blessed to hear from Dr. Jen Kilps of  Minnesota Multi-Faith Network who shared the history of recent hate crimes activities.

Out of this convening on our campus grew a renewal of ties for Augsburg to Islamic Resource Group. Imam Tamim Saidi, who gave a closing blessing, is now joining us in Augsburg classes to help increase our students’ literacy on Islam. Rabbi Adam Spilker will be enriching our students’ understanding of Judaism in our classes. 

We are so thankful for all who joined us and for the new friends and allies that were made. 

Our director wrote about the rural implications for rural Minnesota here based on her own research as well:

Our director Professor Syeed will be presenting on the issue of rural interfaith work with Dr. Jen Kilps next week for a statewide network of rural Minnesota communities. There is a hunger for this type of research across the nation. 

We are excited to be enriching our classrooms with the resources we’ve discovered and will continue to build these partnerships!


Muslim Women and Interfaith Spaces: Pluralism as a Daily Practice

Line drawing of a woman wearing a hijab.Last week I attended Interfaith America’s Leadership Summit. One of the elements that struck me as I walked into the hall of hundreds of undergraduate students was the number of Muslim women who were in attendance, and I had the pleasure of speaking with them throughout the weekend. 

Embodied religious pluralism 

My own story in interfaith engagement started at 18 when I left for college in 1991. I was the only Muslim woman in my incoming class at my Quaker college and my story made it into the annals of American history, told by Diana Ek in her book, “A New Religious America.” She describes how my classmates fasted with me for my first Ramadan away from my family. Later on in 2000, I was the first Muslim professor hired by a particular Methodist  seminary, and now I am the first Muslim woman who was granted tenure and full professorship at another university, Lutheran in origin. My life has been one of firsts entering into spaces, what I have called in my writing elsewhere being “an embodied interruption.” 

I’ve written about what it means to be the first encounter with Islam many Christian students had, my body the first text they read of my tradition. I continued this trend of being one of a few,  later in a secular government space as an executive, the only Muslim woman who held a position of that particular rank. So it was a beautiful thing to see so many young Muslim women at this interfaith conference last week, so much changed since my own college years! And I am thankful to many Muslim women who broke barriers before I did, across the country so that I could occupy the spaces I have in my own life. 

Muslim women like myself are walking fonts of experience and expertise, in the very lived sense of that word of pluralism. I often talk about it as “embodied religious pluralism,” linked very much to Muslim women and our experiences of constantly being in spaces of difference. What is often seen as irreconcilable by others is inherently contained in our own bodies, and we learn how to create the capacity to exist with others, internally coalesce these identities and make them functional as whole. 

This type of experiential learning is powerful, we can all benefit from hearing the stories of how different Muslim women embody the very real challenges of religious identity and practice with complex social, political and educational contexts. It is not a one size fits all type of pluralism, nor is it dogmatic. It is pragmatic, lived out everyday and material in a very real sense. It is pluralism as a daily practice.

Storytelling and hearing more from a variety of Muslim women helps us see how pluralisms can be nuanced, deeply embedded in context, and how communities can learn from each other.

Interfaith leadership opportunities 

For many women, interfaith spaces are vital for their leadership and development. If one comes from a tradition without formal clergy, or where women are not ordained as clergy, then interfaith spaces allow for informal leadership opportunities that strengthen capacities to lead communities, collaborate across faith communities and solve dire problems of our time. 

Interfaith spaces can encourage women to lead and learn across religious lines. One of my favorite scholarly dialogues was between Orthodox Jewish women and Muslim women over a decade ago. We discussed topics ranging from our texts but also from our experiences figuring out how to be both within our own communities, preserve religious identities with the challenges of modernity and how scholarship on mutual concerns could benefit both our communities. 

In the context of higher education, it was a beautiful thing to see institutions play a hospitable role to Muslim women. I spoke with one young Muslim woman at the Interfaith America conference who went to a Catholic university and felt so supported by the institution and went on to lead on her campus. She is now on the road to being an interfaith professional, and I was really touched by the fact that this interfaith experience of being at a Catholic university strengthened her commitment to her own faith, and also her deep desire to continue to do interfaith service work to benefit all communities. 

Sometimes the issues may be specific to one’s perspective as a woman, and it is also powerful when in fact the concern is more universal. All of these young women at this conference were exercising their skills as interfaith leaders, and they just happened to be women. This excites me greatly because it means that they feel safe, are thriving and participating in building both their own communities and a joint reality that is kinder for all. 

Thankful to see how we move towards more just, equitable and inclusive futures and so  happy to see this happen in my own lifetime! 

Najeeba Syeed

El-Hibri Endowed Chair and Executive Director of Interfaith Institute


Reflections on Statewide Summit on Hate Prevention

Map of Minnesota with organizations throughout the stateMulti-Faith Relations in Rural Settings

This past week the Interfaith Institute collaborated with the Minnesota Multi-Faith Network and Shoulder to Shoulder campaign to organize and host a statewide summit on hate prevention and I wanted to share a few reflections based on my years of engagement on multi-faith relations around the country. We will continue to offer our learnings as we do our work, this is just a taste of what we have been thinking about at the Institute this week. 

Centering the National Discourse 

I’ve written about “casserole” hospitality, an ethic of care demonstrated in the Heartland of the country found in communities of various traditions who welcome new members into their midst. It may be in church, the casserole may be an Eid baklava dish offered by a Muslim neighbor to a new friend. It may have many iterations depending on the cultural context and religious practice of a community. What I mean to emphasize is that regions of the country have their own unique modalities and methods of welcoming, and opening doors. The center of this country has many rich examples to draw upon. 

Small towns and sparsely populated regions of the country can be and are home to some of the most innovative multi-faith programs and organic sets of relationships. Smaller communities  create interdependence of resources of all types. Very often, when I am at the national tables I am invited to, the norm that is being discussed is an assumption of a diversity of communities that are present in large urban settings. 

I’ve been struck by the relationships that exist between religious communities of vast difference in what is often called fly-over country. My experience has been that these are not regions to fly over, but to learn from. 

When I first came to the US, in the 1970s my father landed in Bloomington, Indiana for his doctorate program. In those years, as immigrants we had little to no access to zabiha markets where we could find meat that was permissible to eat. My father heard that my school bus driver, Mrs. Anderson, had a farm and he proceeded to speak to her about going  out to her farm and we found her open to our form of Muslim ritual slaughter of animals on her farm.  

It is a small example, let me share another from the same region I learned about when I went to a Quaker college. The headquarters of the Islamic Society of America was in Plainfield, Indiana. The campus minister at my college in North Carolina recalled how his extended family in Indiana would reach out to support Muslims when the sign for the organization had been shot at in the 80s. These are a few of the many stories of the central part of this country in which solidarity and just  pure necessity created deep and lasting multi-faith relations. What I mean to say is this is not new. 

Scholars like Edward Curtis have documented the multi-racial, multi-religious histories of communities in Indiana and beyond. We can celebrate the work of recent organizations and efforts, while recognizing it is often built on the contributions of many communities and leaders who preceded us and that multi-faith relations are not new to this region and date back even  hundreds of years. A national picture of interfaith should and must include these examples. 

Diversity and its Multi Dimensional  Presence 

If you look at the map above, we find that there are groups of people doing multi-faith work across the state of Minnesota. It may not always be by faith based actors or congregations who lead these efforts. In one conversation I had at the summit last week, I was struck by how community development organizations are harnessing opportunities to do multi-faith engagement  without utilizing the terminology or traditional venues often associated with interfaith work. 

Civic engagement opportunities for religious pluralism are and can be created by non faith actors. Universities like ours, local and municipal government, Rotary clubs and other types of service organizations can be sites for conversations on religious literacy and education about local interfaith histories. I love the example of the Abdel Kader project ( which among other things has used the fact that Iowa has a city named Elkader after a major Muslim historical figure  to develop materials on religious pluralism and practices. The very name of a city has inspired a deep connection of a small town in Iowa with a global view and vision for interfaith peace and solidarity. 

In our summit last week we discussed the idea of invisible diversity. When one walks into a room, religious diversity may not be apparent if one judges it by their own experiences and standards. We live in a moment when many Americans also join new communities besides their religious communities of origin through conversion, marriage or other means. You cannot assume the  religious identity of someone based on  how they present to you in person without learning more about someone’s stories. 

I also noted that in many communities there are  religious identities that span a wide spectrum of different communities beyond the Abrahamic. Shamanism, Buddhism, Hinduism all find homes in rural and small towns across the state in addition to the Abrahamic religions. It important to recognize the complex definition of religion and the presence of a wide array of religions and spiritual practices across the Heartland. 

Many faith communities may not have the symmetry of a congregational home or bricks and mortar space that some of us are used to. For example, in some communities which are newer or in a minority status, religious instruction may happen in someone’s home, not in a large building downtown.  People may congregate at a coffee house that serves the local community and engage in spiritual formation. 

We cannot assume our city or town is not diverse just because communities may not look like what is viewed as a common calculus of a religious entity. It takes work to know one another, time, patience and understanding that religion and spirituality look different and we can learn so much just by listening and hearing how people construct their own communities before assuming they will look like our own. 

We will continue to share more about what we are learning from our work across the state and we are so honored to have you join us on this journey!

Najeeba Syeed, El-Hibri Endowed Chair and Executive Director

Dr. Thea Gomelauri joining Interfaith Institute as a Senior Fellow

Thea GomelauriThe Augsburg University Interfaith Institute is delighted to announce that Dr. Thea Gomelauri will be joining the Institute as a Senior Fellow. The fellowship is a key anchor in the partnership between Oxford Interfaith Forum  and the Institute. Our Executive  Director, Najeeba Syeed has also been appointed to a senior fellowship at the Oxford Interfaith  Forum. We look forward to a joint collaboration across the globe on issues of peace, justice, intercultural and interfaith education and furthering interreligious learning. 

Dr Thea Gomelauri is a Member of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Interfaith Forum. She has a vast experience in research, teaching, and consultancy in different international, and intercultural contexts. Thea held Academic Fellowships with the Central European University, Open Society Institute, World Bank Institute, and the University of Oxford. She is a recipient of multiple research and teaching grants, including HM King Abdullah II of Jordan World Interfaith Harmony Award for Religious Education, Curriculum Development Grant at Interfaith Youth Core, USA,  Robert S. McNamara Research Fellowship at the World Bank Institute in Washington DC, USA, International OSI Policy Fellowship at the Open Society Institute in Budapest, Hungary, Curriculum Development Fellowship at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and European Commission Tempus Program in Berlin, Germany. At different times, she worked on research and consultancy assignments with the EBRD, UNDP, and UNHCR in troubled and war-torn regions of the world.

Thea is a member of the Jewish-Muslim Research Network, the Bible and Religions of the Ancient Near East Collective, and the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies. She has presented papers at the International Conference of Patristic Studies, and the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, and the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies. Her research interests include: Comparative Religious Studies; Biblical Exegesis; Reception History of the Bible; Manuscripts and Material Culture. She has contributed chapters on David’s Children in Art in the Oxford Handbook on King David (OUP, 2024), Reimagining Abishag: Retelling her Story in the Routledge Handbook of the Hebrew Bible in contemporary Fiction and Poetry (Routledge, 2024), and Paul of Thebes in Georgian Manuscript and Ecclesiastical Culture in The Lives of St Paul the First Hermit (Brill, 2024). Currently, she is working on The Lailashi Codex: The Crown of the Georgian Jewry.

For more information and a publication list, please, visit:

As another academic year comes to a successful close our work continues to grow.

Here is a letter from Executive Director and El-Hibri Chair, Najeeba, highlighting the Institute’s ongoing commitment to Interfaith at Augsburg.

Dear Friends of the Interfaith Institute, We are excited to be in touch with you as we close out our academic year in 2023! It has been a very full year. We have built collaborations with campus partners, offered programming that has touched the lives of Augsburg students, and helped our faculty and staff respond effectively to concerns related to religious diversity. We have been at the table to help convene solutions to concerns on the opioid crisis, participated in national gatherings on how spirituality can heal our nation and helped to spread the model of interfaith engagement we are building at Augsburg. We have a full year of programming planned for next year! We’re happy to share with you what we have been doing for the past two months. Please enjoy our latest updates!

Goodbye to our 2023 Interfaith Scholars!

2023 Interfaith Scholars
2023 Interfaith Scholars

Interfaith Scholars is a specialized course dedicated to teaching students about religious diversity, interfaith peace-building, and leadership skills. The course concludes with the Sending to celebrate Augsburg’s commitment to shaping interfaith leaders and the accomplishments of graduating Interfaith Scholars.

This year’s Interfaith Sending was a success. The evening featured a world map that marked the many places across the globe connected to Augsburg’s community and readings selected by students from Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Secular traditions. Link to readings. Next year we are excited to host the Interfaith Scholars course again. Executive Director and El-Hibri Chair, Najeeba Syeed, will be the instructor for the course. Select class sessions will be opened to the whole campus so students and staff can benefit from interfaith panels and programs connected to the course throughout the year.  We expect it will be a fantastic year of interfaith learning and growth!

Ceremony attendees light the world map with candles
Ceremony attendees light the world map with candles

A Campus Visit with Regent Karim El-Hibri ’06

Karim El-Hibri, Najeeba Syeed & President Pribbenow
Karim El-Hibri, Najeeba Syeed & President Pribbenow

We were honored to host Karim El-Hibri ’06, he met with Najeeba Syeed, El-Hibri Endowed Chair and executive director of the Institute. We are so grateful to Karim and his family for making our work possible on interfaith peacebuilding and healing on campus, in communities, and across our country.

Spiritual and Mental Health

Our interfaith scholars hosted a discussion on spirituality and mental health with fellow students and a local counselor. This semester we have been finding an increased interest in interfaith activities and mental health. The staff of the Center for Wellness and Counseling and the Interfaith Institute met this semester to plan programming for next year. We will be focusing on recovery and interfaith concerns and look forward to collaborating with Campus Ministries on addressing these topics as well.

Interfaith scholars hosting a discussion on Spirituality and Mental Health
Interfaith scholars hosting a discussion on Spirituality and Mental Health





On October 12, we will be hosting an event open to the public on Busshō Lahn’s new book on the intersection of spirituality and mental health, Singing and Dancing are the Voice of the Law: A Commentary on Hakuin’s “Song of Zazen.”

Singing and Dancing are the Voice of the Law: A Commentary on Hakuin's “Song of Zazen.”
Singing and Dancing are the Voice of the Law: A Commentary on Hakuin’s “Song of Zazen.”

Our executive director has authored an article on religiously competent models of community-based intervention in recovery. This publication will be available for healthcare practitioners as a resource. Najeeba is working with the Institute Coordinating Committee members, nursing faculty Katie Clark, and social work faculty Ankita Deka on research related to opioid use and intervention in Muslim communities. This groundbreaking research led by Dr. Deka is some of the first that has been published on this topic.

Community Health and Healing Dialogue

Event Presenters: Multi-Faith Workshop banner featuring presenters, Michael Le Buhn Jr., Najeeba Syeed, Simran Jeet Singh, Jen Kilps, and Jane Ulring
Event Presenters: Multi-Faith Workshop banner featuring presenters, Michael Le Buhn Jr., Najeeba Syeed, Simran Jeet Singh, Jen Kilps, and Jane Ulring

We are pleased to announce that we have received a grant from Interfaith America that will expand our Interfaith Scholars programming to give students the opportunity to serve in the Healthcare Commons, a program led by Dr. Katie Clark. Our executive director will be teaching students in the Interfaith Scholars course, next year we have students from Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and other backgrounds who will be working on issues our unhoused neighbors face in the Twin Cities under the guidance of Dr. Clark and Professor Syeed.

On May 10, our executive director lectured on forgiveness and multifaith engagement for the Minnesota Multi-faith network.

National Engagement

We are excited to be poised to have a seat at the table at a number of new national initiatives addressing interfaith issues and collaborations.

Our executive director will be presenting two sessions at Interfaith America’s 2023 Interfaith Leadership Summit, the largest gathering of higher education professionals and students in the country in August. We look forward to sharing our Augsburg interfaith model with campuses around the nation!


Our executive director will be joining the Powering Pluralism Summitt 2023 held by the Aspen Institute in DC, she is a member of the Powering Pluralism network and was selected as a member of their cohort of interfaith leaders in 2020.


Our executive director will be joining colleagues from Notre Dame Law School and the Emory University School of Law, Center for the Study of Religion and Democracy to present on democracy and faith at the 2023 Parliament of World Religions, the largest interfaith conference on the globe, held in August.

Read more here about the program

Celebrating Another Year of Interfaith at Augsburg


Every Spring Augsburg holds a ceremony called the Interfaith Sending to honor graduating Interfaith Scholars. 

Interfaith Scholars is a specialized course dedicated to teaching students about religious diversity, interfaith peacebuilding, and leadership skills. The course concludes with the Sending to celebrate Augsburg’s commitment to shaping interfaith leaders and the accomplishments of graduating Interfaith Scholars 

This year’s Interfaith Sending was a success. The evening featured a world map that marked the many places across the globe connected to Augsburg’s community and readings selected by students from Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Secular traditions. ( Download Ceremony Readings)

Interfaith and Campus Ministry Team
Ceremony attendees light the world map with candles
Interfaith Scholars read sacred texts and wisdom passages from their traditions

It was a meaningful gathering; a reminder that we are each rooted in cultural and spiritual identities and that our identities are gifts to one another and the communities we participate in.

Thank you to this group of Interfaith Scholars and leaders who will go forth from Augsburg rooted in who they are to share their perspectives, convictions, and gifts with others and create a more caring world.

Congratulations to all the graduating Interfaith Scholars! 

Each senior was gifted a Blessing Blanket at the ceremony by Augsburg Campus Ministry
Graduating Interfaith Scholars with course instructors

Next year we are excited to host the Interfaith Scholars course again. Executive Director and El-Hibri Chair, Najeeba Syeed, will be the instructor for the course. Select class sessions will be opened to the whole campus so students and staff can benefit from interfaith panels and programs connected to the course throughout the year.  We expect it will be a fantastic year of interfaith learning and growth!