On Monday, February 11 and Tuesday, February 12, Intersections International hosted two students from Hartford Seminary?s International Peacemakers Program (IPP). The IPP program is for Christians, Muslims or Jews who live in overseas areas where there is inter-religious conflict. Students in IPP spend an academic year studying interfaith dialogue and leadership skills that includes an emphasis on public engagement and public speaking. In addition to their formal studies, students are embedded in a local faith community where they experience American religious culture firsthand. Intersections International has partnered with Hartford Seminary on this program for the past four years to provide additional leadership training, along with exposure to the United Nations. The current year?s IPP students areZulu Lemtur from India and Morteza Rezazadeh from Iran.
On Monday, Intersections International?s Executive Director Rev. Robert (Bob) Chase, Intersections International?s Director of Cross Cultural Initiatives Sara Reef, and Believe Out Loud Community Outreach Director James Rowe held a ?Presentation Skills Workshop? for Lemtur and Rezazadeh. The highlight of this workshop was to tape the students telling their stories in order to analyze the best way to present to an American audience. Reef said, ?It was wonderful to learn more about Iran from Rezazadeh and India from Lemtur. They both had powerful stories that explain why they decided to pursue peacemaking.? She is pictured in photo at left with Lemtur and Rezazadeh.
On Monday evening, Intersections International and Hartford Seminary held a private briefing and dinner for close partners and friends. Two former IPP students also attended this event: Ezekiel Abdullah Babagario from Nigeria and Hans Abdiel Harmakaputra from Indonesia. During the evening, all four students shared their stories with guests, which was followed by an in-depth dialogue and conversation about peacemaking in all four IPP students? countries.
On Tuesday, Reef, along with Intersections International?s Director of Advocacy and Public Policy/Representative to the United Nations C. Eduardo Vargas, accompanied Lemtur and Rezazadeh to the United Nations for a tour. The students participated in several private briefings along with a special invitation to speak at United Methodist Women in the United Nations Church Center. During this speaking engagement, Lemtur and Rezazadeh presented to a group of 20 Norwegian students from the Soltun Folk School in Norway (pictured at right).