Recently, Loras College received a generous $5,000 grant from the Interfaith Youth Core of Chicago to support the development of an Interfaith Leadership Certification program. The certification will be portfolio-based, allowing students to develop skills and expertise in engaging religious plurality within the context of their majors. The portfolio will demonstrate a student’s aptitude for problem solving religious diversity issues in a professional context, provide a testimony of their rationale for interfaith engagement, provide a collection of artifacts, and show an example of engagement with pluralism. Included in the certificate requirements will be community/workplace engagement, service and a pre-professional workshop. The program will build on Loras’ already strong interfaith curricula, an extracurricular organization and community partnerships. The Interfaith Leadership Certification program will be developed by faculty members John Eby, Ph.D., associate professor of history, and John Waldmeir, Ph.D., professor of religious studies, during the 2016-2017 academic year.
The Interfaith Youth Core grant is funded with support from the Teagle Foundation. The Interfaith Youth Core believes that by creating positive, meaningful relationships across differences, and fostering appreciative knowledge of other traditions, attitudes improve, knowledge increases, and more relationships occur. They also believe that American college students, supported by their campuses, can be the interfaith leaders needed to make religion a bridge and not a barrier. This is the third grant Loras has received from this organization.