The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Pictures from the Day of Interfaith Youth Service 24 April , 2013

Filed under: Blog Post,Pictures — Michelle Earhart @ 11:56 am
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For this year’s Day of Interfaith Youth Service, World Faith teamed up with local students to volunteer with Harlem Grown. If you’re in NY, volunteer hours are every Saturday until June, 10-4– swing by and get your hands dirty doing something fun!

(You don’t actually have to get your hands dirty- there are gloves.)

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Animating Interfaith Culture for 5000 Teenagers a Year 10 October , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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by Tina Petrova

Scarboro Missions in Toronto has a long history of promoting the Golden Rule as a universal ethic. The jewel in the crown of their interfaith ministry may be a workshop called “Animating the Golden Rule with World Religions,” offered to hundreds of young people every week. The workshop opens a compelling, appreciative door into religion and spirituality in its full diversity. It introduces teen-agers to an ethic of reciprocity with joy and respect rather than judgment, with creative engagement rather than didacticism.

The achievement is remarkable. In a just world, Scarboro’s facilitators would be teaching teachers throughout Canada and far beyond. The world isn’t just, but it is networked, and with the story below and a few links at the bottom, you can learn much more about teaching and learning world religions through the lens of the Golden Rule. Ed.

* * *

Lesson Plans in the Universal Ethic of Reciprocity

It’s a cold, snowy morning in Toronto Canada. At 9:15 am a group of 45 eleventh grade high school students get out of buses and file into a room. A music video with Bob Marley and Bono from U2 is playing loudly on the full sized screen behind them.

Most of them have fashionable hoodies obscuring their sleepy faces, covering I-pods or cell phone ear buds. A blank stare greets us from most.

During “Animating,” students break into groups and create skits exemplifying what they are learning about different religions.

Suddenly, they perk up. Images of Bob Marley performing a virtual duet with Bono flash life-size across the screen. The hoodies come down to their shoulders, and the ear buds come out. Chairs are pulled up closer to the front of the room, and the atmosphere shifts dramatically from resignation to interest and smiles.

Welcome to Scarboro Missions, an organization of lay and ordained men and women dedicated to spreading the good news, social justice, an ethic of reciprocity, and interfaith/intercultural dialogue.

“Animating the Golden Rule through the World’s Religions” takes students on an energetic six-hour fun, laughter and music filled adventure. They are invited into an experience of the beauty and wisdom of the world’s religions through the use of sacred symbols, stories, music, dress, movement, prayer, and meditation.

The journey these students take is the brainchild of Scarboro’s educational director, Kathy Murtha. She worked for more than 25 years developing curriculum for high school students before giving birth this particular program, working in collaboration with two award-winning Canadian artists, poet Kate Marshall Flaherty and filmmaker Tina Petrova.

“Animating the Golden Rule” draws nearly 5,000 Toronto-area students from high schools each year to Scarboro Missions Centre, mostly aged 16 and 17. It was designed to fulfill the requirements for a reflective, meditative retreat day for the Catholic School Board. Since starting in this format in 2005, though, the workshop has gone much further than the innovators dreamed.

The project has not gone unnoticed. Kathy and her team were invited to participate in a prototype multicultural program funded by Canada’s Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, in what may be Canada’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood, Regent Park. Designed for young people aged 16 to 25, it features six months of weekly sessions studying the arts in all its forms – hip hop, spinning music (as a DJ), fashion design, dance, photography and much more. Kathy and her gifted facilitators were chosen from a broad selection of organizations to provide an interfaith, intercultural experience for young adults from numerous backgrounds, including Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, and Rastafarian.

Both the high-school workshop and the Regent Park curriculum offer imaginative explorations of the Golden Rule. Paul McKenna, interfaith director at Scarboro Missions, is the creator the Golden Rule poster, one of the global interfaith movement’s most powerful and widely circulated resources. Paul has become an international spokesperson for the cause and oversees the translation and distribution of Golden Rule posters in numerous languages which are available at the Golden Rule movie. Video clips of the workshop can be viewed at GoldenRule TV.

Scarboro Missions has created a raft of educational tools, many of them downloadable for free at their website. The essence of the workshop has been captured in a DVD and Teachers Guidebook. For further information visit The Golden Rule Movie.

Originally posted on The Interfaith Observer:


World Faith Pakistan on the Culture of Peace News Network 17 September , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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Greetings from Lahore, Pakistan!! Interfaith Youth in Action (IYA), a network of diverse faith youth and a project of Youth Development Foundation (YDF) with Separate leadership and local chapter of World Faith USA, is a non-profit, non-government and secular organization led by young people from diverse faiths and backgrounds in Pakistan. IYA serves as a network of diverse youth to promote pluralism and mutual respect for religious diversity and bridge building among youth of different faiths through interfaith dialogues, friendly relationship and human based coexistent.


Our purpose is to provide opportunity and safe spaces for the youth of each faith to come together to build understanding, reduce misconceptions and develop healthy relationship through social activities, exposures visits, interfaith celebrations, sports gathering and community service activities to promote interfaith dialogues and relationship building by interaction and practical action for peace and harmony in Pakistani context.

We have been implementing our various peace advocacy projects mainly in post conflicts areas like Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi; Solidarity has been one of the focal themes in promoting and advocating peace as a way of life.

Originally posted on CPNN:


Faith Inspires: World Faith Demonstrates How Religion Can Work For Peace 22 June , 2012

Filed under: News,Press — Nele @ 10:00 am
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This week’s Faith Inspires highlights World Faith, an NGO whose mission is to “counter religious extremism and strife by demonstrating how faith can inform work for unity and peace, rather than hate, war, and division.”

Frank Fredericks, World Faith’s founder and executive director, founded the organization in New York City after seeing first-hand the human cost of religious conflict in Egypt and Lebanon. Noticing that it was primarily young people who were the perpetrators and victims of violence, Frank wanted to promote interfaith cooperation by “mobilizing religiously-diverse young people to serve their communities in local development projects.” The result: World Faith. World Faith believes in “dialogue through action” and today their projects range from women’s empowerment, education, and HIV/AIDS sensitization to economic justice, peace-building, and environmental issues.

Originally founded as a campus club at New York University in 2006, World Faith has grown tremendously in the last six years. World Faith has taken a grassroots approach, and formed partnerships with local NGOs in South Asia, Middle East, Africa and around the United States. As of now, it has 17 chapters in 14 countries. In 2011, more than 500 activists volunteered over 16,000 hours in 10 countries and impacted the lives of over 50,000.

Originally posted on HuffPost Religion



Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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Sunday, June 3 through Friday, June 8

Applications now being accepted

Hartford Seminary is seeking a diverse circle of participants in its RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP, to be held Sunday evening, June 3 through Friday noon, June 8,on the Hartford Seminary campus. Made possible by generous assistance from the Shinnyo-en Foundation, this workshop will combine aspects of “training the trainers” with instruction about religious diversity and leadership per se. In addition to models and methods of leadership generally, the workshop will address such topics as leading youth in the multifaith context and in interfaith activities, formation of emerging young leaders, meeting the challenge of bullying, theologies and philosophies of religious difference, philosophies and models of dialogue, and multifaith efforts for the common good.

Guest presenters will include Janet Penn (Executive Director, Youth LEAD); Nancy Raines (Hospice Chaplain; formerly chaplain, Massachusetts General Hospital); Rev. Danny Fisher (Director, Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, University of the West); Joshua Stanton (founding editor, The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue); and members of the Hartford Seminary faculty.

The week will include field trips to houses of worship illustrative of the changing religious landscape of Connecticut and New York. Seminar pedagogy will make use of large-group and small-group discussion, case-study method, and documentaries, guest speakers, and panel presentations. Participants will have opportunity to strategize, with input from colleagues, for their specific contexts and needs. Opportunity will also be provided for the group as a whole to share resources for multifaith education, ritual, dialogue, counseling, advocacy, and encouragement of productive dialogue and collaboration between religious groups at the intersection of religious and public life – thus improved ability to build community around common concerns.

The participation fee (which includes most meals) is $575. Applicants should email Tina Demo, Recruitment Officer ( by May 1, providing contact information and a brief description of the nature of their religious leadership or involvement in interreligious matters. Modest resources are available for financial assistance to help defray expenses (housing, transportation, tuition) for qualified applicants.

Questions about the workshop content should be addressed to Dr. Lucinda Mosher, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Studies, who will be the workshop’s coordinator and lead instructor (


Summer Fellowship Program 2012 – Call For Applications 25 April , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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Last day to apply for Muslim Public Service Network (MPSN) ummer Fellowship Program 2012.

MPSN believes that the only way to make a difference in this world is by serving others – and what better way than training to be a civic leader in the nation’s capital?

For the last 18 years MPSN has been working on creating civic leaders, who have gone on to become distinguished scholars, civil rights advocates, researchers, lawyers and excelled in any profession that they have chosen.

About the MPSN Fellowship Program

Fellows participate in a rigorous eight-week curriculum taught by leading scholars and experts. The classes and workshops are designed to strengthen their understanding of the relationship between faith-based principles and the ethics of public service and civic engagement. Fellows are also paired with past program alumni, successful American Muslim leaders, as mentors to provide one-on-one support for career and personal development. Room and board are provided in Washington, D.C. by MPSN.

MPSN alumni have gone on to distinguished public service careers with many prestigious organizations, including senior positions in the Obama Administration, Bush Administration, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. House of Representatives, United Nations, Center for American Progress, NAACP, Brookings Institute, McKinsey & Co., Bain & Co. and numerous non-profit, consulting and education agencies. Several alumni have gone on to earn Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, Truman and Soros fellowships.

To provide scholarships to needy students, we have an ISF-MPSN scholarship – in partnership with the Islamic Scholarship Fund.

You can apply at

For more information, log onto:


2012: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED Conference 9 April , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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From April 14-15, young people are coming together to discuss US foreign policy this election
year. We’re exploring key challenges impacting our generation, including the security, jobs,
climate change, justice and hunger. We’re defining a new vision of US global engagement, and the role of youth in building a better future. And we’re bringing our ideas right to the campaigns.

Just Announced: Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns will face off on Sunday morning Presidential Elections panel with high level campaign representatives:

Foreign Policy Priorities in 2012: A Conversation with the Presidential Campaigns
—Kerry Healey, Special Adviser, Romney for President, and former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor
—Michèle Flournoy, Advisor to Obama for America Campaign on National Security, and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

New Development: Special plenary session with Daniel Maree, organizer of the Million Hoodie March and Lacy MacAuely, organizer of Occupy DC

If you care about the US and the World, join us for the 2012: Challenge Accepted Conference on April 14-15, on the campus of George Washington University. Find out more:

Sessions and speakers not to be missed:

  • Foreign Policy Priorities in 2012: A Conversation with the Romney and Obama Campaigns.
  • From Me to We: Harnessing the Power of the Millennial Generation Superpower in Decline or America Resurgent? The US and the Global Economy.
  • Drones, Rogues and Hackers: Rethinking US Security.
  • Millennial Priorities for Global Justice: Indigenous Peoples, LBGT Rights, Disabilities and Genocide.
  • Investing in the Millennial Generation Worldwide: Preparing Millennials for the 21st Century Workplace.
  • The Real Hunger Games: The Fight for Our Food, Our Climate and Our Future Arab Summer: Emerging Democracies, Political Islam and the Power of Youth in the Middle East and North Africa.

Find a complete list of speakers


Jumo GOOD Maker Challenge – Interfaith Youth in Development Action 3 April , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 3:00 pm
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World Faith Chapters are groups of religiously-diverse young people who build their own development projects. Understanding that peace-building and development are inseparable, Chapters tackle issues like youth education, women’s empowerment, and poverty, in the most conflicted places in the world.

To keep our Chapters ambitious work going we need your support! Give us your vote in the Jumo GOOD Maker Challenge and help us winning $2,500 for our Chapters.  The voting begins April 3 at noon PT and ends April 17 noon PT. Give us your vote and share our project on Facebook and Twitter. To the vote:


Opportunity for Action 28 March , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am

IYF Spotlights Opportunity Divide among the World’s Young People:

New Paper, commissioned by Microsoft, outlines actions to better prepare  youth entering the 21st century workforce

Washington, DC – Today the International Youth Foundation (IYF) released, Opportunity for Action, a paper documenting  the growing economic and social challenges facing youth around the world and the urgent need to provide the education, skills and employment opportunities required for them to succeed in today’s rapidly changing global economy. The report, commissioned by Microsoft, was unveiled in Washington DC at the “Jobs & Economy of the Future: Educating the Next Generation to Compete” Town Hall meeting, jointly hosted by Microsoft and the Atlantic magazine.

On a global basis, according to the paper, the unemployment rate for youth is currently 12.7 percent, or more than double the six percent global average for unemployment as a whole. While some youth are prospering, many others lack access to education, skills and opportunities, and are facing growing challenges. As the global youth population of 1.2 billion — the largest in history — grows over time, this gap between those with opportunity, and those without, risks widening even further.

Opportunity for Action documents the nearly 75 million young people, worldwide who are unemployed and the varying causes for rising youth unemployment in different parts of the world. As the report shows, currently only 44 percent of youth worldwide pursue education as far as the equivalent of the high school level in the United States, and even fewer complete secondary education. This is especially concerning given the increase in jobs requiring higher levels of skill and education.

Microsoft and IYF have developed a strong partnership over the past decade, working together in countries around the world to expand opportunities for underserved youth to be successful learners, workers, and entrepreneurs.

In response to the report’s findings, Brad Smith, Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel, said, “While the reasons for the opportunity divide vary country by country, the global trend is unfortunately the same everywhere. As the International Youth Foundation reports, unemployment has been on the rise for young people worldwide. More than ever, the public and private sectors need to work together to provide youth with access to education, skills, and better job opportunities. We must move from ‘opportunity divided’ to ‘opportunity provided’ for all.”

“History has shown us that when young people thrive, society prospers” said William S. Reese, president and CEO of IYF. “The data in this paper show us that far too many young people today are struggling, and the reasons why. We must act now so that the world’s youth have the opportunities they need to succeed in the 21st century workforce. Our collective future depends upon it.”

Read the complete Opportunity for Action paper.


World Faith in Huffington Post: Youthless Churches and the Arab Spring, A Generation of Ideas, not Idealogy 29 September , 2011

Lately, while engaged in my work as an interfaith activist, I found myself engaging in another type of dialogue: a conversation of generational differences. At times, it seems that religious leaders haven’t quite wrapped their heads around the thoughts and actions of religious millennials. Whether discussing the Arab Spring, or the lack of youth in American churches, it comes down to one defining characteristic of millennials: We are not an ideological generation… READ MORE