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S2S Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar

Program Description:

Shoulder to Shoulder is a national campaign of denominations, faith groups and religious organizations dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment. An integral part of ending anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States is ensuring that American religious leaders of various traditions provide leadership within their own communities and in interfaith efforts on this issue.

In 2015 Shoulder to Shoulder is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar (ERLS) for twenty seminarians and other emerging religious leaders at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Seminar will begin the morning of Thursday, September 3 and finish the evening of Sunday, September 6. This is in conjunction with the 52nd Annual ISNA Convention will be held in Chicago, IL, over Labor Day Weekend (September 4-6, 2015). Each year, the ISNA Convention attracts over 20,000 American Muslims from diverse backgrounds to discuss issues of importance to the larger American Muslim community.

The goal of the ERLS is to prepare participants for leadership within their own communities and in inter-religious efforts to end anti-Muslim sentiment and promote inclusive models of pluralism in the United States. The participants will be Muslim, Jewish and Christian emerging leaders, with a particular focus on bringing several emerging leaders from common geographic locations, in order to aid in the community impact following the Seminar. Emerging leaders will be chosen on the basis of their interest in and commitment to interfaith efforts and their capacity to provide leadership in the future.

While at the ISNA Convention, participants will attend the plenary events as well as various parallel sessions (workshops). Participants can also attend the film festival, photography and art exhibits, Qira’at competition (recitations of the Qur’an), the Interfaith Banquet dinner, bazaar, entertainment sessions, meet the author events, and more.

In addition, the ERLS will include several workshop sessions and will also hold facilitated discussion groups for participants in SIS throughout the Convention. These elements of the Seminar will be led by Jewish, Christian and Muslim facilitators. The focus of the ERLS-specific workshops will include:

  • Learning about the nature of bigotry and discrimination against American Muslims
  • Learning about the breadth and depth of the American Muslim community
  • Learn formational skills for education, organizing, and advocacy on the issue of anti-Muslim bigotry
  • Discussions on the nature of US pluralism and inter-religious cooperation
Participant expectations:

  • Pre-Seminar activities (mid-August):
    • Introductory webinar
    • Assigned readings
  • Throughout the Seminar (Sept. 3-6), participants will attend SIS-specific workshops and discussion groups, as well as attending the general ISNA convention sessions.
  • After the Seminar (by October 31, 2015), participants will complete a Community Impact Action. The purpose of this requirement is to reach a wider audience with the lessons and outcomes of the ERLS. The preferred Action is to write an op-ed for a local or national news publication. While we strongly suggest participants select this option (and will provide support for writing and publication), alternatives include writing a blog post for a denominational or seminary publication, or hosting a workshop on anti-Muslim bigotry for one’s seminary, congregation, or community.

There will be no costs for participants. Applications are due May 15, 2015, and participants will be notified of their acceptance on June 15, 2015.

To submit an application:

Please send the following three documents by email to

1. A 1-2 page letter indicating why you are interested in participating
2. A resume or CV
3. A list of two references with contact information (phone and email)

Those with questions should contact Catherine Orsborn, Campaign Director for Shoulder to Shoulder ( or 202-544-8989).


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