Earth's diverse interfaith youth core seizing leadership

30 October 2009


     Our religious friend, Dr. Nico Smith, was a pioneer-hero of South African Black-White public meal and story sharing during  Apartheid 1980s.
     KOINONIA SOUTHERN AFRICA -- -- was created by Nico and others at risk to their lives.
     Their courage and face-to-face model helped transform the social fabric of South Africa.

     Reverend Smith's God today is different than the one taught to him by his forefathers and mothers.
     "...the far-away God came to me down to be known in relationship with fellow-human beings," wrote Nico in recent e-mail.
     Smith envisions "a time when a child will ask...'Mammie, what was the meaning of war?'"
    "And this will only be achieved when religions cooperate in bringing about such a time," he writes from Pretoria.

     South African-born Susan Collin Marks, with her husband, John, shepherds SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND - .
     They have made huge strides gathering people and healing relationships in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.
      Susan recently spoke passionately in San Francisco.


"Our problems are too big and important for adversarial approaches. 

Confrontation and war waste time, solve nothing, and only destroy lives, communities, and nations while leaving scorched earth and worsened problems. 

We need new human engagement -- a Politics of Inspiration.

At the foundation of this is the individual citizen, each a settled soul."


     Nico -- at age 80, with more life and creativity in you -- take heart that your vision is coming to life, including in the new video of SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND.
     LISTEN to new music for this new moment.


Ring The Bells

by Melissa Etheridge and Salman Ahmad


     Susan and Nico, celebrate that the next generation understands you.
     More diverse young adults want to live life as you live yours.
     Young leadership for our diverse world is defining itself right now.

~  ~ ~  ~ ~  ~ ~  ~
Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World -- -- was more than a conference by the Chicago-based INTERFAITH YOUTH CORE.
     This week, a new era for the interfaith youth movement was launched October 26-28, 2009.
     Over 650 people participated from around Earth, including 90 colleges and universities, 15 seminaries, and 50 international delegates.
     Personal, year-long, daily activities were prescribed from their collective wisdom:


Change the Conversation

Carry the lens of religious pluralism with you everywhere you go: respect for religious identity, positive relationships between religious communities, and common action for the common good.

1. Strengthen your voice by learning the language of how your tradition supports interfaith cooperation and positive stories of other religions.

2. Share the idea of religious pluralism with those around you.

3. Speak up when you encounter prejudice against a religious or philosophical community.

Start a Project

Create an interfaith initiative that embodies religious pluralism.

1. Organize an interfaith dialogue and service event for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 18th, 2010.

2. Bring together an interfaith dialogue and service group in your school.

3. Connect with others in your community to make interfaith action a part of your current service projects.

Transform Your Environment

Imagine if 90% of the students at your school were committed to build face-to-face relationships and stand up against religious prejudice.

Seem impossible?

It's time to get started!

1. Share the urgency of interfaith cooperation with key stakeholders and work with them to create an action plan to transform your environment.

    FIND People & Resources -- -- to help you online in our Bridge-Builders' Network of the Chicago-based INTERFAITH YOUTH CORE.