Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Images from the Interfaith Ambassadors Youth Forum

April 12th — It was the culmination of a couple months of Sacred spaces tours of houses of worship and candid discussions with other teens. See what you may have missed.

(Thanks to Bill Foley for the great pictures.)

Around 50 people attended the Interfaith Youth Forum, including six panelists. The very diverse panel included a Muslim (Imaan Mirza), a Hindu (Isha Ponugoti), an agnostic (Joplin Finfrock), a Protestant Christian (Noah Skaggs), and a Catholic (Trace Held).

Interfaith Youth Ambassador Program coordinator Kayla Behforouz welcomes the crowd
CIC Executive Director Charlie Wiles and CIC board president Judge David Shaheed explain how the Youth Ambassador Program came about
Audience at the Interfaith Youth Forum
CIC Ambassadors and participants talk
CIC Ambassador Trace Held speaks to Charlie Wiles and Judge David Shaheed

The panelists addressed several dialogue questions they’d formuated over the previous weeks.

Dialogue question #1:
“What is religion? What is spirituality? How do these two things interact with each other? How do we experience them in our personal lives and faiths?”

Youth panelists answer questions from the audience

Dialogue question #2:
“How can a society go about the de-politicization of religion?”

Isha Ponngoto, a part of the Youth Forum panel. (“At orientation, we asked all of the ambassadors to bring an artifact that has significance to their faith. Will you all show us the artifacts that you brought, and tell us why they are important to you?”)

Dialogue question #3:
“Consider the role of violence in religion today. Is violence lessened by religion, or is it the inherent nature of religion to serve as the catalyst of violence between differing or often mutual faith communities?”

Imaan Mirza and Isha Ponngoto on the panel
Ambassador Joplin Finfrock
Ms. Stacy Hennessy, Ambassador Noah Skaggs and Amb. Elizabeth Brase at CIC Youth forum event 4.12.19
Isha Ponngoto,Imaan Mirza and Kara Crouse

Ten ambassadors received a “certificate of completion” from CIC, certifying them as an Interfaith Youth Ambassador for completing the Interfaith Youth Ambassador Program. Each one of these 10 students were also awarded congressional recognition for their certifications.

Katie Crouse displays her Ambassador Certification
Ambassador Reilly Simmons and Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Trace Held and Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Zainab Hassan and Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Klara Clouse with Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Daniyal Mirza with Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Elizabeth Brase with Charlie Wiles and Judge David Shaheed
Ambassador Imaan Mirza with Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Joplin Finfrock with Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Isha Ponngoto with Judge Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
Ambassador Noah Skaggs and Judge David Shaheed and Charlie Wiles
CIC Ambassador Trace Held speaks to Charlie Wiles and Judge David Shaheed
CIC Ambassadors and Participants Youth Forum
CIC Ambassadors with Judge David Shaheed and CIC Director Charlie Wiles
CIC Youth Ambassadors and Participants

“As members of the millennial generation and Generation Z, you are regarded as the ‘leaders of tomorrow.’ You are this world’s future leaders. Drawing on your experience with the Interfaith Youth Ambassador Program, what changes do you plan to make as leaders? What do you have to say to the current leaders of our community?”

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