Thursday, December 06, 2018

Jeff Stanzler and the Interactive Communications and Simulations Group launch new interfaith education project


A partnership between InGlobal Learning Design and the SOE Interactive Communications and Simulations Group, with funding provided by The Covenant Foundation, is launching a new pilot program called The United People of Faith (UPF) project.

According to Yonah Kirschner, a writer for The Covenant Foundation, this project aims to help teens develop robust communication skills now, so that when they enter college, they will be able to converse respectfully in-person with those who do not share the same political views, religion, gender, race, socioeconomic background, and more.

The UPF project, which started in early 2018, brought together middle and high school students from De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon, Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, and Toledo Islamic Academy in Ohio. Their charge: to design a school that would honor all three faith traditions – Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam – and, in the process, increase cross-cultural understanding, build empathy for peers of other faiths, and practice communication and collaboration skills with a diverse group.

“We see the need for programs like United People of Faith in too many parts of our world,” said Jeff Stanzler. “This seems especially to be the case among young people, which makes it incumbent upon us as educators to seek inventive ways to provide our students with these kinds of opportunities.”

“Our team members [at the University of Michigan] share a fundamental belief that most people are eager to meet and learn more about people whose lives, and ways of thinking, are different from their own,” he added.

Jeff Stanzler is Lecturer

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