Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Don’t miss the Interfaith Youth Forum

Young people speaking their minds…” These are lyrics from a popular song from the 1960s. But what do they mean today?

Interfaith Youth Forum
Friday April 12, 6:00-7:30 pm

Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center
1100 W. 42nd St. Indianapolis

Please join Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) to hear from a group of Indianapolis youth who courageously spent the past semester visiting a synagogue, a mosque, a Hindu Temple, and a Buddhist Temple. These Interfaith Youth Ambassadors learned about the diverse faith communities in Central Indiana, asked hard questions, and learned from one another through civil dialogue. Come, listen, and learn what these youth have to say about their experience at the Interfaith Youth Forum.

The Interfaith Youth Ambassador Program (IYAP) serves the youth of Greater Indianapolis, helping them become the ambassadors of our city’s future. It addresses the need for dialogue, education, and compassion in a time fraught with political and ideological strife often born of ignorance. One 2019 participant of the Interfaith Youth Ambassador program, speaks to the importance of interfaith dialogue in our local community:

Moving from Pakistan to Egypt to Saudi Arabia and finally, to the United States, I’ve repeatedly scrambled to acclimatize to new cultures. Moving to the U.S was unsettling… as a hijab-wearing woman, I was simply ignored by classmates.Desperately lonely, I made efforts to “fit in.” But the pencils I lent and outfits I complimented were only rewarded with perfunctory nods. One day, after a peer called Mecca a “hub for terrorists,” I broke down crying in class. A month later, a classmate approached me to say she had shied away because she had assumed – given my hijab – that I was very conservative. I realized that what I had perceived to be Islamophobia was just hesitancy rooted in the lack of exposure, and from this my passion for interfaith dialogue was born. Many misconceptions about my background would have cleared up if only people had approached me with their questions.”

The Interfaith Youth Ambassador Program creates a space to ask these questions, to learn, and to build empathy. With this program, CIC believes it will empower and equip the youth to become the skilled listeners, educated ambassadors, and fearless leaders of Indianapolis’ future. 

“The word ambassador to me means that you represent a group and are able to create a dialogue between your community and another. I think it is important for everyone to be an ambassador for some aspect of their life, and I have always looked up to those who represent their faith group.”

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