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.


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.


Please click here for directions to and maps of Drake University. Attendees are encouraged to park in the lots east of 25th Street.

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.

Venue: Parents Hall

Join us for a launch event of the book A Spectrum of Faith: Religions of the World in America's Heartland. Hosted by Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu, the evening will feature the student and community collaborators who produced the book; a keynote address by Interfaith Youth Core founder and author, Eboo Patel; and a student-made documentary film about the two-year collaboration of student and community contributors.

Friday, April 7, 2017
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
On Building a Diverse Democracy: The American Promise in a Time of Crisis
Eboo Patel - Executive Director, IFYC
Venue: Sheslow Auditorium

How should Americans talk about identity and difference in an age of polarization? Do campuses and students have a special role and responsibility? Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, will interpret this moment as a time of opportunity cloaked in crisis, offering practical and hopeful approaches for realizing the American promise.

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 (Meredith 101)
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 (Meredith 103)
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 (Meredith 201)
Rabbi David Kaufman will teach about religious discrimination and hateful sentiments against minority religious groups in connection with rising nativism in America today.


Jewish Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement (Meredith 202)
Patrick Courtney, lay cantor at Tifereth Israel Synagogue, and Pastor Kara Courtney of Highland Park Christian Church discuss the scriptural, philosophical, ethical, and practical resources of Judaism for interfaith understanding and engagement.


CultureALL: How to Develop Cultural Proficiency (Meredith 229)
Do you wish some people were open to other cultural views and perspectives? How do you begin to approach them about topics of faith, lifestyle, or other cultural dynamics? You start by introducing them to fun, engaging experiences that intrigue people so they want to know more. CultureALL is a local organization that has been preparing Iowans to interact with people from other cultures since 2005. In this session, they will present a model for developing intercultural proficiency that has been used to train CultureALL Ambassadors representing 65 cultures. Come learn what you can do to make Central Iowa a more compassionate, globally minded place to live, study, and work.


Case Studies - Business (Meredith 234)
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. Led by IFYC facilitators.


One State, Many Faiths: Religious Diversity in Iowa (Meredith 235)
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 (Meredith 238)
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 (Meredith 101)
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 Lutheran Services in Iowa.


Creating Strong Community-Campus Partnerships for Interfaith Work (Meredith 103)
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 (Meredith 201)
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.


Interfaith at Simpson College (Meredith 202)
Simpson students from diverse faith backgrounds share stories of their own interfaith journeys and their interfaith work on campus.


A Queer Faith: Engaging Faith and Making Meaning as a Queer Person (Meredith 229)
Queer folx show up in all forms of faith and meaning making, and leave their mark on that faith just as the faith leaves its mark on the person. This session led by Tony Tyler, Director of Student Engagement, Equity & Inclusion at Drake University, will explore what it is to be a queer person actively engaging faith and meaning making in various traditions.


Case Studies - Business (Meredith 234)
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. Led by IFYC facilitators.


Educating College Students for Interfaith Healthcare Competency (Meredith 235)
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. A Mercy student panel will be included to share the impact of the course learning outcomes and their experiences.


Interfaith at Luther College (Meredith 238)
Three students at Luther College address three different dimensions of interfaith at Luther: Rebecka Green: "Islamophobia and Interfaith Activism: Lessons from a Lutheran College in Iowa"; Brady Ross: "Comparative Theology and Interfaith Dialogue"; and Rebecca Buse: "Lunch with Ghada Gazil: Women Activists and Interfaith Dialogue"

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

Enjoy a downtown reception for A Spectrum of Faith in the Des Moines Social Club’s Culinary Loft. The reception features the photography of Bob Blanchard and a screening of Anna Steenson’s documentary about the project. Music will be provided by Ritu Varma (sitar) and ClearJoy (Elaina and Anna Steenson). Food will be provided by Tangerine, with a cash bar by Malo.

Saturday, April 8, 2017
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Opening Remarks
Venue: Meredith Hall 101

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

Islam in Iowa: Challenges and Rewards (Meredith 101)
Community organizer Nadia Ali, CAIR-Iowa 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 (Meredith 103)
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 (Meredith 201)
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 (Meredith 202)
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 (Meredith 229)
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.)


Exploring Biases (Meredith 234)
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. Led by IFYC facilitators.


Religious Literacy as a Core Aspect of Responsible Citizenship (Meredith 235)
Simpson student Maddy Kersten and Professor Maeve Callan discuss why basic religious literacy ought to be included in K-12 education, drawing on examples from around the US. Peter Bissinger, a social studies teacher at West Des Moines’ Stillwell Junior High School, shares insights gained from his years teaching about religion in a public school.


Religion and Politics and Ideology (Oh, My!) (Meredith 238)
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

Know Your Rights: Religious Diversity Amid Increasing Intolerance (Meredith 101)
Joshua Barr of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, Sanjita Pradhan of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, and Heather Anderson and Rob Barron of the Des Moines School Board discuss legal challenges and protections relating to religious diversity in the United States and Iowa as well as the decision by the school board to declare DMPS a sanctuary school district.


Multiple Religious Belonging (Meredith 103)
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? Panelists Gereon Kopf, Professor of Religion at Luther College; Storm Bailey, Professor of Philosophy at Luther College; and Claudia Schabel, President of Schabel Solutions, 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 (Meredith 201)
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.


Interfaith Leadership and Discerning Vocations (Meredith 202)
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.


Meditation: Kundalini Yoga (Meredith 229)
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 led by Prasad Palakurthy there will be short introduction to seven chakras, followed by breathing technique and meditation concentrating on Brow chakra.


Showing Up for Racial Justice (Meredith 234)
Representatives from the Des Moines Chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Grace Boatman and Yasmina Madden will discuss the ways they've been working with various Des Moines communities on issues of immigration, racial justice, and education.


Challenging Conversations and Disagreement (Meredith 235)
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.


IFYC Storytelling (Meredith 238)
During this session participants will begin exploring their personal inspirations that motivate them to do interfaith work. Led by IFYC facilitators.

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' (Meredith 101)
More individuals in our state and nation are identifying as non-believers. This panel discussion with Jason Benell, Chloe Gearhart, Shawn Schossow and Chamindi Wijesinghe will address the attitudes and beliefs (and non-beliefs) of atheists, agnostics, and 'nones.'


Sikh Resources for Interfaith Understanding and Engagement (Meredith 103)
Gurwinder Singh Kapur will discuss the scriptural, theological, ethical, and practical resources of Sikhism for interfaith understanding and engagement.


A Color of Iowa (Meredith 201)
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 (Meredith 202)
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 (Meredith 229)
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. Led by Bhante Dhammapala.


Exploring Biases (Meredith 234)
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. Led by IFYC facilitators.


Special Session: Interfaith at Drake University (Meredith 238)
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 (Meredith 101)
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 (Meredith 103)
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 (Meredith 201)
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 (Meredith 202)
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 (Meredith 229)
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.)


IFYC Storytelling (Meredith 234)
During this session participants will begin exploring their personal inspirations that motivate them to do interfaith work. Led by IFYC facilitators.


Special Session: Interfaith at Simpson College (Meredith 238)
A special working session for Simpson students interested in broadening their interfaith work on campus.

4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Closing
Venue: Meredith Hall 101

Register


    • FREE

    • Individual

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