Campus pastor and 3 students to attend White House Interfaith Initiative Oct. 22-24

Oct. 19, 2010

Luther College Pastor Amy Zalk Larson and students Matt Lind, Aida Dominguez Ortiz and N'sira Kourouma have been selected to attend the first White House Interfaith Initiative Oct. 22-24 in Washington, D.C.

The Interfaith Initiative is an assembly of 150 college students and campus mentors who will lead interfaith and community service initiatives for their colleges and universities.

Lind, a sophomore from Wausau, Wis., is president of the Luther College Interfaith Student Association. He is the son of Beth and Richard Lind of Wausau and a 2009 graduate of Wausau West High School.

Dominguez Ortiz, is a senior from Tlaxcala, Mexico. She is the daughter of Noe Dominguez and Maria Ortiz Portillo of Tlaxcala, and a graduate of the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West.

N'sira Kourouma is a sophomore from New Haven, Conn. She is a graduate of James Hillhouse High School.

Pastor Larson has served as campus pastor since 2005. She holds the bachelor of arts degree in religion from Luther and the master's degree of divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.

The White House Interfaith Initiative is facilitated by the Interfaith Youth Corps, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that unites young people from different religious traditions by empowering them to work together to serve others.

IFYC will deliver leadership training sessions hosted by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The training is designed to give 100 student leaders the skills needed to lead interfaith and community service initiatives on campus, including IFYC's "Better Together" campaign.

IFYC will conduct simultaneous training sessions with 50 campus staff mentors to equip them to advance interfaith cooperation and service on campus and support student leadership for the campaign.

The IFYC Interfaith Leadership Institute had originally intended to accept and train 150 participants, but because of the large number of applications the White House agreed to host two consecutive Leadership Institutes: Oct. 22-24 and Oct. 24-26. Both sessions will consist of the same structure and training components, including the session at the White House. 

IFYC's Interfaith Leadership Institute will conduct three training sessions titled:

  • Speak Out!—to respond to issues of religious prejudice or conflict on campus and in the news. Participants will learn how to conduct a media campaign that spotlights the importance of interfaith cooperation. 
  • Mobilize!—to organize interfaith action that affects the whole campus community, including tips for recruiting, event planning, and dialogue facilitation.
  • Sustain!—to train new student leaders and embed interfaith cooperation into the fabric of campus life to ensure their work carries on into the future.

The institute will train campus staff to:

  • Build awareness for interfaith cooperation on a campuswide basis
  • Engage religious diversity on campus in a positive way
  • Expand existing or start new interfaith programs on campus
  • Support student leaders at the vanguard of interfaith programming on campus

For more information about the IFYC conference, visit http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/news/index.php/2010/09/white-house-hosts-ifyc-interfaith-leadership-institute/.