Applications Now Open – Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar 2016

On Announcements

The Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar @ the ISNA Convention

September 1-5, 2016


In 2016 Shoulder to Shoulder is sponsoring its 3rd Annual Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar for seminarians, rabbinical students, and other emerging religious leaders at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Seminar will run Thursday, September 1 – Monday, September 5 (Labor Day). This is being held in conjunction with the 53rd Annual ISNA Convention will be held in Chicago, IL, from September 2-5, 2016. 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 Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar is to prepare participants for leadership in inter-religious efforts to end anti-Muslim sentiment and promote inclusive pluralism in the United States. The participants will be emerging leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities, with a particular focus on bringing several participants from the Chicago area. Emerging leaders will be chosen on the basis of their interest in and commitment to interfaith efforts and the possibility of their providing leadership in the future to this work. Workshops and discussion groups will be led primarily by Jewish, Christian and Muslim facilitators.

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), Interfaith Banquet dinner, bazaar, entertainment sessions, meet the author events, and more.

In addition, the Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar will include several workshop sessions and will also hold facilitated discussion groups throughout the Convention. The focus of the Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar-specific workshops will include:

  • Learning about the breadth and depth of the American Muslim community
  • Learning about the nature of discrimination against American Muslims, South Asians, Sikhs and Arabs in the United States
  • Discussions around the nature of US pluralism and inter-religious cooperation
  • Building skills for leading community change regarding the issue of religious discrimination

Participants will be expected to participate in pre-workshop activities (which will include a webinar and assigned readings), the ERLS-specific workshops and discussion groups during the Convention, and will also be required to take a Community Impact Action within 2 months following the Convention. This can include writing an op-ed for a local paper, writing a blog post for one’s own denominational publication, or hosting a community workshop or event at one’s seminary or in one’s congregation or community. The purpose of this requirement is to reach a wider audience with the lessons and outcomes of the Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar.

Please note: We will be integrating Shabbat observances into the program and providing information on area churches for those wishing to attend services during the weekend. Additionally, we will provide kosher, halal, and vegetarian meal options. Please reach out to with further questions about any specific religious accommodations.


To Apply:

Applications are due May 27, 2016 and participants will be notified of their acceptance by June 17, 2016. A complete application, which is to be sent by email to, should include:

  • A 1-2 page cover letter indicating why they wish to participate in this seminar
  • A resume or CV
  • A list, with contact information, for two references

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


We are grateful for the partnership with Shoulder to Shoulder member organizations and particularly the co-conveners and supporters of this program:

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops- Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Christian Reformed Church

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

T’ruah: the rabbinic call for human rights

Islamic Society of North America

Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


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