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!
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!
A Campus Visit with Regent Karim El-Hibri ’06
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.
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.”
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
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.
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 https://