John Cabot University Launches the Interfaith Initiative
Read the interview with student assistant for the Initiative, Chadiedja Buijs.
In a few words, what is the Interfaith Initiative?
The Interfaith Initiative was created in order to establish a space for students to engage in discussion about multicultural tolerance and religious understanding at JCU. The intention is therefore to explore the role of religion in a secular, but also international setting.
What does the Interfaith Initiative aim to achieve?
In addition to creating a positive environment that embraces multiculturalism, the initiative also serves as a reference point for students in need of specific information, resources, and contacts regarding religious institutes and services in Rome.
Who is involved in the Interfaith Initiative?
I am the student assistant, under the supervision of Professor Harris, Professor Driessen and Professor Bailey. Together we form the main body, yet we also get lots of support from the Student Government.
How does one join the Initiative?
Since our main goal is to promote understanding through dialogue and friendship, we openly welcome all JCU students, faculty, and staff, even people who do not define themselves as religious. Anyone interested should simply email us in order to receive information on upcoming events.
What kind of events does the Interfaith Initiative organize?
Thus far, we have held two ‘interfaith coffee-talks’ in which students engaged in discussion about issues that we encounter in our daily lives. For example, during our latest ‘coffee-talk’ we proposed questions that dealt with the role of parents in influencing religious identity, mixed-religion relationships, as well as the presence of religion at JCU. The initiative is also currently working on setting up a Meditation Garden in cooperation with Grassroots and Student Government.
What is your own religious/national background and how does this affect your work with the initiative?
My background as a half Dutch, half Egyptian Muslim woman, as well as my experience of having lived in the Netherlands, drove me to initiate this project. I felt that I had both of these perspectives, and I tried to combine them to see how I could contribute to the JCU community. The John Cabot community has provided me with great support, and allowed me to meet remarkable people and professors who were willing to give me their feedback and input.