Iowa Interfaith Exchange

Des Moines, IA, April 6-8, 2017

Register

The Iowa Interfaith Exchange


The Iowa Interfaith Exchange is a series of presentations, panels, and performances on the current state and future promise of interfaith activity in the state of Iowa.


It all starts the evening of Thursday, April 6, with the launch of A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland. The book launch will feature a keynote presentation by Eboo Patel, panels featuring the authors and communities featured, and a behind-the-scenes documentary on the creation of the book.


The first day of breakout sessions begins on Friday, April 7 at 11:30 a.m. with a kick-off lecture by Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core and the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Members of Interfaith Youth Core, in collaboration with Drake University and Simpson College, then structure breakout sessions on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.


A Friday evening reception at the Des Moines Social Club follows the Friday afternoon programming. And, a concluding presentation by Interfaith Youth Core wraps up the conference late Saturday afternoon.


Each block of breakout sessions aims to offer something for everyone – sessions on campus interfaith practices and principles, on community interfaith movements and organizations, on diversity and inclusion efforts in Iowa businesses and schools, on multicultural and inter-cultural education, on social and political activism in the state of Iowa, and even on meditation practices and cultural performances. Collectively, over 50 sessions will be offered. The Iowa Interfaith Exchange therefore offers a rare opportunity to learn about the wealth of interfaith activities and resources in your state, as well as to grow and cultivate your own “interfaith exchanges.”


Registration for the Iowa Interfaith Exchange is free. Snacks and light breakfast fare will be provided. Lunches will be catered each day by a Des Moines refugee community for a suggested donation.

Keynote Speaker


  • Eboo Patel

    Founder, Interfaith Youth Core

Eboo Patel
Founder, Interfaith Youth Core

Eboo founded Interfaith Youth Core on the idea that religion should be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He is inspired to build this bridge by his identity as an American Muslim navigating a highly religiously diverse social landscape. For over fifteen years he has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council and is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and the new Interfaith Leadership: A Primer. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.


Eboo lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz, and two sons. When he’s not teaching his kids about interfaith cooperation, you’ll find him feeding his coffee addiction and rooting for Notre Dame.

Schedule


Thursday, April 6, 2017
6:00 -8:00 p.m.
"A Spectrum of Faith" Book Launch
Venue: Parents Hall

Join us for a launch event of the book A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland. Eboo Patel of Interfaith Youth Core will be presenting a keynote presentation, along with other speakers, panel discussions, and a showing of a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Friday, April 7, 2017
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Kick-Off Lecture
Eboo Patel - Executive Director, IFYC
Venue: Sheslow Auditorium

This lecture will kick off the Iowa Interfaith Exchange's two days of workshops.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Lunch
Venue: First Christian Church

A lunch will be provided at First Christian Church by the Bhutanese Hindu Community for a goodwill offering.


First Christian Church,2500 University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50311

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
Breakout Session Block A
Venue: Meredith Hall

Challenging Conversations and Disagreements
During this session participants will practice engaging difficult and complex issues of interfaith cooperation and identify and start to practice specific skills needed for constructive conversations on a campus. Skills will focus on relationship-building. Led by IFYC facilitators.


An Interfaith Response to Poverty
Susie Tierney, Executive Director of the Center for Social Ministry and former Des Moines Area Religious Council Board Member, will share how poverty affects people across all faith traditions and how the interfaith community can and does work together to address poverty and hunger in Des Moines.


Religious Discrimination
Rabbi David Kaufman will teach about religious discrimination and hateful sentiments against minority religious groups in connection with rising nativism in America today.


Case Studies (Business Block)
In this session, we will use case studies to explore interreligious tensions or cooperation providing an opportunity for participants to identify the complex ways that religious diversity plays out in a given situation, analyze the responses of various actors in such situations, and demonstrate application of theories to concrete situations.


Jewish Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement
Patrick Courtney, lay cantor at Tifereth Israel Synagogue, discusses the scriptural, philosophical, ethical, and practical resources of Judaism for interfaith understanding and engagment.


One State, Many Faiths: Religious Diversity in Iowa
Professor Maeve Callan of Simpson College offers an overview of religious diversity in Iowa and how it has shaped our state.


Building Respect and a Shared Vision: Addressing Unconscious Bias
Organizations across the United States, and the world, have been investing into strategies designed to enhance and leverage a diverse workforce more effectively. To fully leverage a diverse workforce, it requires strategic planning and Diversity and Inclusion training programs designed to better understand and address challenges and opportunities. Claudia Schabel, President of Schabel Solutions, will introduce and explore these concepts.

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Breakout Session Block B
Venue: Meredith Hall

Refugee Religions in Iowa
This panel will explore refugees communities in Iowa and the faith traditions they are bringing with them. This panel is brought to you by the partners of Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI). Panelists include: Barwaqo Aden, NISSA: African Women's Project; Carly Ross, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; Richey Thongvahn, Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement; and Nicholas Wuertz, Lutheran Services in Iowa.


Creating Strong Community-Campus Partnerships for Interfaith Work
Learn from research on creating reciprocal and transformational partnerships between higher education institutions and community organizations that provide learning experiences for students and build capacity for organizations. Presenter Emily Shields from Iowa Campus Compact will share strategies for building and maintaining strong partnerships from one-time projects to deep, ongoing collaborations.


Hindu Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement
Members of Des Moines' Bhutanese Hindu Cultural and Educational Center discuss the scriptural, philosophical, ethical, and practical resources of Hinduism for interfaith understanding and engagement.


Case Studies (Business Block)
In this session, we will use case studies to explore interreligious tensions or cooperation providing an opportunity for participants to identify the complex ways that religious diversity plays out in a given situation, analyze the responses of various actors in such situations, and demonstrate application of theories to concrete situations.


A Queer Faith: Engaging Faith and Making Meaning as a Queer Person, Tony Tyler, Drake University


Special Session: Interfaith at Simpson
A special working session for Simpson students interested in broadening their interfaith work on campus.


Educating College Students for Interfaith Healthcare Competency
Iowa is increasingly becoming more religiously diverse in its constituency. As such, it is essential for healthcare workers to be knowledgeable and equipped to effectively care for patients from diverse religious backgrounds. This presentation by Dr. Joe Moravec will expose participants to the learning strategies and tools that have been used in the Comparative World Religions course for educating healthcare students at Mercy College of Health Sciences for compassionate and competent care of patients from diverse religious backgrounds.


Interfaith at Luther College
Three students at Luther College address three different dimensions of interfaith at Luther: Rebecka Green, "Luther College's Response to Anti-Muslim Sentiments"; Brady Ross, "Comparative Theology and Interfaith Dialogue"; tba

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Book Launch Reception
Venue: Des Moines Social Club, Culinary Loft

Saturday, April 8, 2017
8:45 - 9:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Opening Remarks
Venue: Meredith Hall Lobby

9:45 - 10:45 a.m.
Breakout Session Block C
Venue: Meredith Hall

Islam in Iowa: Challenges and Rewards
Community organizer Nadia Ali, CAIR Executive Director Miriam Amer, and Representative Ako Abdul-Samad speak to the challenges and rewards of being Muslim in Iowa today.


Digital Storytelling and the Religions of Des Moines
Drake students Grace Boatman and Mary Traxler present the digital storytelling initiative that the Drake religion faculty utilize in their "Religions of Des Moines" courses. Grace and Mary will introduce the principles of digital storytelling, show some of the digital stories they facilitated about religion in Des Moines, and speak about their experiences with digital storytelling.


The Uses of IFYC Model
Religious diversity impacts college campuses in limitless ways; it's not just a concern of people in particular fields. Simpson faculty from three distinct divisions, none from the Religion department, and all of whom have attended an IFYC ILI, speak to the relevance for their work: Professors Heidi Berger (Math), JJ Butts (English), and Mimi Kammer (Theatre).


Christian Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement
Pastor Angela Lewis and Drake student Kayla Schween discuss the scriptural, theological, ethical, and practical resources of Christianity for interfaith understanding and engagement.


Meditation: Vibrational Oneness
Come enjoy a very relaxing meditation session with Denny Kelly accompanied by the beautiful sounds of a gong and singing bowls. Absolutely no meditation background is necessary to experience the wonderful sense of peace and tranquility of this very simple but profound meditation. (The meditation will be conducted while sitting in regular chairs.)


Challenging Conversations and Disagreements
During this session participants will practice engaging difficult and complex issues of interfaith cooperation and identify and start to practice specific skills needed for constructive conversations on a campus. Skills will focus on relationship-building.


Religious Literacy as a Core Aspect of Responsible Citizenship
Simpson student Maddy Kersten and Professor Maeve Callan discuss why basic religious literacy ought to be included in K-12 education. They also consider examples of school districts that already do so and how similar approaches could be adopted in Iowa.


Religion and Politics and Ideology (Oh, My!)
The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 held a clear focus on the traditional idea of religious freedom. Why has that focus shifted by state legislatures across the country, often becoming blurred and even harmful? Presented by Connie Ryan, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Executive Director of One Iowa.

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Breakout Session Block D
Venue: Meredith Hall

Panel Discussion: Know Your Rights


Multiple Religious Belonging
These days, the religious diversity in our society is a given. But what about individuals who feel at home in multiple religious traditions, belong to multiple religious institutions, and engage in a variety of religious practices? This panel will explore the notions of religious identity and multiple belonging in a variety of cultural contexts including contemporary Iowa.


Muslim Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement
Mohamad Khan, president of the Des Moines mosque Masjid an-Noor, discuss the scriptural, theological, ethical, and practical resources of Islam for interfaith understanding and engagement.


A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland
Local photographer, Bob Blanchard, and director of the Drake Community Press, Carol Spaulding-Kruse, present Drake University's student-written, photo-narrative about religion in the greater Des Moines area. Bob and Carol will navigate the project from its conceptual origins, through its research, writing, and design, up to its recent publication.


Meditation: Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga seeks to awaken Kundalini energy through poses, breathing exercises, and meditation, with the ultimate goal of realizing inner divinity and oneness with creation. In this session there will be short introduction to seven chakras, followed by breathing technique and meditation concentrating on Brow chakra.


Showing Up for Racial Justice
The Des Moines Chapter of SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) will discuss the ways they've been working with various Des Moines communities on issues of immigration, racial justice, and education.


How ILI's Have Impacted Careers
Simpson alumni speak of how learning about religious diversity and becoming committed to positive interfaith engagement helped them find their calling. Speakers include Madison Fiedler-Carlson, who attended IFYC's first ILI at the White House in 2010 and is now a lawyer; Annie Fullas, who is finishing her Master's in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs at American University; and Jacob McLain, presently pursuing a Master's in Islamic Studies at Duke University.


Special Session: Interfaith at Drake University
A special working session for Drake students interested in cultivating an interfaith student organization at Drake University.

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Lunch
Venue: St. Catherine's

Masjid an-Noor will be providing a free will donation lunch at St. Cate's.

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Breakout Session Block E
Venue: Meredith Hall

Atheists, Agnostics, and 'Nones'
More individuals in our state and nation are identifying as non-believers. This panel discussion will address the attitudes and beliefs (and non-beliefs) of atheists, agnostics, and 'nones.'


Sikh Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement
Gurwinder Singh Kapur will discuss the scriptural, theological, ethical, and practical resources of Sikhism for interfaith understanding and engagement.


A Color of Iowa
TASIOWA is a non-profit organization established by Turkish-Americans in Iowa to better engage with the society and to understand diverse cultures through exchange of information. TASIOWA promotes dialogue between communities to cultivate friendship through interfaith and intercultural activities. To achieve the goal, seminars, lectures, and community services are organized and the details of the activities will be presented.


Presbyterian Cowboy: Iowa and the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions
The Chicago Parliament of World Religions was one of the earliest serious conversations among "world religions." This presentation by historian Bill R. Douglas will sketch Iowans' participation, newspaper accounts, and post-conference visitors to Iowa, and suggest what the consequences for expanding Iowa interfaith consciousness might have been.


Meditation 101
This will be a concise introduction to a conceptual understanding of meditation coupled with instruction in the process of meditation practice, followed by a brief period of meditation. No prior experience with meditation is necessary, nor any special equipment, such as mats and cushions.


Exploring Biases
During this session we will create space to define biases, explore which biases we carry in our interfaith work, and understand the importance of maintaining relationship across religious and philosophical differences.


Special Session: Interfaith at Drake University
A special working session for Drake students interested in cultivating an interfaith student organization at Drake University.

2:45 - 3:45 p.m.
Breakout Session Block F
Venue: Meredith Hall

The Power of Youth
A panel led by the Iowa Sikh Turbanators discussing how youth faith groups can bring change to our community.


Buddhist Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement
Bhante Dhammapala, ordained Theravada monk and teacher at the Ariya Magga Buddhist Missionary Society, will discuss the scriptural, theological, ethical, and practical resources of Buddhism for interfaith understanding and engagement.


Digital Storytelling and the Religions of Des Moines
Drake students Grace Boatman and Mary Traxler present the digital storytelling initiative that the Drake religion faculty utilize in their "Religions of Des Moines" courses. Grace and Mary will introduce the principles of digital storytelling, show some of the digital stories they facilitated about religion in Des Moines, and speak about their experiences with digital storytelling.


A Spectrum of Faith
Local photographer, Bob Blanchard, and director of the Drake Community Press, Carol Spaulding-Kruse, present Drake University's student-written, photo-narrative about religion in the greater Des Moines area. Bob and Carol will navigate the project from its conceptual origins, through its research, writing, and design, up to its recent publication.


Meditation: Vibrational Oneness
Come enjoy a very relaxing meditation session with Denny Kelly accompanied by the beautiful sounds of a gong and singing bowls. Absolutely no meditation background is necessary to experience the wonderful sense of peace and tranquility of this very simple but profound meditation. (The meditation will be conducted while sitting in regular chairs.)


Special Session: Interfaith at Simpson College
A special working session for Simpson students interested in broadening their interfaith work on campus.

4:00 - 4:15 p.m.
Closing
Venue: Meredith Hall

Register


    • FREE

    • Individual

      • Thanks to our sponsors, we are able to offer free registration.
    • Register