Waging Peace: Interfaith Youth Movement for Peace

August 18, 2008

Author: Josh Walsh

Source: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted a seminar on “Advancing the Interfaith Youth Movement for Peace” on June 10 in Washington, DC. The speakers represented a variety of organizations that are engaging young people around the world as partners and future leaders in interfaith works.

Eboo Patel, director and founder of Inter Faith Youth Core (IYFC) in Chicago, said that the interfaith movement should look beyond diversity and work for pluralism. The difference, he explained, is that the former is simply a fact of demographics, when people of different backgrounds live next to each other in the same place. Diversity becomes pluralism when these people engage each other through positive interaction. The aim of the interfaith movement, then, is for religious communities to move from simple coexistence to a working partnership for the common good.

Patel cited several factors in the importance of engaging youth in an interfaith context: the “youth bulge” that is bringing down the average age of the world’s population; the inability of traditional livelihoods to provide income for the next generation; what it means to be an individual in this new globalized world; and the ongoing religious revival happening across the globe.