The Indian Pluralism Foundation Team has dedicated Interfaith Dialogue facilitators who have decades of vast experience and extensive credentials in the field of interreligious dialogue.
The main goal of a Interfaith Youth Leadership Dialogue Workshop is to foster personal relationships of some depth among a diverse group of people who come from the different religious communities in a particular place. Bonds of inter-religious trust and respect are begun, or deepened, among Workshop participants. They come to know each other as struggling and faithfully committed human beings.
Connecting with one another at this level of shared humanity, workshop participants become witnesses of one another’s lives, and often, then, begin to learn how to be caretakers of one another’s stories. Just as their own stories have been received and valued, they want to listen to the stories of others with open hearts and minds, and to tell the stories of the others faithfully. As a result, the participants’ ability to reach across religious boundaries at times of conflict or stress is strengthened. The personal relationships they have built may enable them to work together more readily to solve social problems, and can be the basis for a variety of later contacts and initiatives.
Those who take part also learn a model of communication that is rooted in respectful listening, or non-judging attentiveness, and in first-person story telling. They will be able to use this model in building healthy communities of diversity. The model of sharing and listening allows the group to bring up and explore problems, ideas and issues that they care about in the context of personal, lived experience. This beginning encourages progress in wrestling with such matters together.
By intention, the Workshop is not structured with the idea that it will lead to a predetermined outcome. Workshop organizers do not try to decide in advance what will be most important or beneficial to discuss.
The conversation of the group is allowed to set the agenda and to move it forward. Our experience has convinced us that the approach of personal sharing or story telling allows people to be more expansive and to identify for themselves the issues that are of immediate and real concern to them.
As the process unfolds, participants usually begin to see that greater knowledge and understanding of one another will promote a healthier, less dysfunctional, community. Although they may come with no intention to build relationships of a continuing nature, participants often become supporters of the efforts of people in other traditions to live faithfully within their traditions.