Interfaith Global Dialuoge Project
The Interfaith Global Dialogue Project (IGDP) is a project initiated through joint partnership between the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights at Rutgers University and Hindu American Seva Charities. The series seeks to build innovative educational and interfaith exchanges between the academic, civil society, religious, business and government community. The goal is to strengthen people-to-people ties and gain a better understanding of conflict zones through cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue, research and public service. The Series, divided into two phases, aims to examine the role of religion and inter-religious communities as a way of promoting security, stability and prosperity in world affairs. In the spirit of the Rutgers University slogan “Local Roots, Global Reach”, the series is comprised of a series of mutually beneficial initiatives connecting community groups, student groups, academics, business actors, and government institutions.

Phase I

Phase I consists of three components:

  Roundtables are set up to explore the role of religion in conflict zones and analyze emerging threats in world affairs. Through innovative educational exchanges between the academic, civil society, business, press and government community in the regions of Africa, Latin America, Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, the aim is to strengthen people-to-people ties and gain different perspectives on international affairs.

  Public service is the second component. The objective of the public service component is to better understand communities by engaging students in substantive and meaningful service projects. These public service projects target health (health education and services), education (tutoring, mentoring, ESL classes) and economic growth (career development, job training). Public service will enable students to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Diaspora and refugee communities and the region from which they immigrate—and current issues and developments in the region.

  Educational and cultural exchanges with the Permanent Missions to the United Nations will be arranged. The aim of the discussions will be to foster discussion about international affairs from a holistic point of view, and will serve as a platform for refugee and Diaspora communities to engage in discussion about current issues and developments, and enable them to build networks.

Phase II

Phase II of the Series will conduct research and analysis focused on conflict zones in Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. It will be specifically examining the following:

  The emerging threats from the conflict zones.

  The historical, political, socio-economic-cultural and security challenges rooted in the conflict.

  The role religion can play in fostering peace in the regions.

  Studying how religion and religious communities can help shape development agenda.

  Offer strategies and best practices for interreligious cooperation and intercultural understanding within the regional context.

Phase II will connect high school students and undergraduate and graduate students from Rutgers University and community colleges with working professionals to:

  Engage in roundtables

  Assist in public service efforts within communities for experiential learning and mentorship. Through this outreach and new partnerships, the Series will advance research, education and public service on interreligious dialogue on the Rutgers-Newark campus.

  The students will form working groups, each group representing a region, and will be responsible for:

  Conducting outreach to student groups on campus and at NJIT and Essex County College for the series
  Coordinate public service projects
  Conduct research and analysis

The working groups will be divided by region, and then sub-divided by country and topic(s):

Africa Working Group: Public health, food security, and development challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa, Christian-Muslim relations and political and ethnic differences in Nigeria, Piracy related issues in Somalia, security crisis and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, North-South relations and violence in Sudan, and political violence in Cote D’Ivoire.

Latin America Working Group: Drug trafficking in Columbia and the United States, The U.S. / Mexico Merida Initiative to prevent drug trafficking and promote security near the US-Mexico border, and ALBA, The Bolivarian Alliances of the Americas.

Middle East Working Group: Democracy and religious tolerance in Egypt, faith and governance in Iran, women’s rights and economic policy in Saudi Arabia:

South Asia Working Group: With a concentration on Afghanistan and Pakistan, working groups will explore how religion can be a force of peace, security and good governance in the region. This will involve identifying the religious communities, their leaders and their ideologies, and discussing how these communities help shape development agenda.

Southeast Asia Working Group: political violence in Thailand, the human rights and democracy movements in Burma