Hartford Seminary will again play an important role in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge taking place from Sept. 20-24 in Washington, D.C.
The theme for the 2016 conference is Where Do We Go From Here? More than 400 higher education institutions have responded to the President’s Challenge since 2011, and 2016’s event is a final opportunity for students, staff, and administrators to share experiences, learn from experts, and meet Obama Administration officials who share a commitment to interfaith engagement and community service.
The U.S. Department of Education describes the event as a way for institutions with long traditions in interfaith work and community service to help those that are developing such programs. It’s also a time to honor and celebrate the interfaith and community service work going on across the country and to help students develop skills they can bring to this work in the future.
In 2015, President Obama sought to incorporate an international component into the President’s Challenge. Hartford Seminary and Georgetown University were charged with finding outstanding interfaith leaders of seminaries, universities, and organizations to be a part of the challenge.
In its second year of participation, Hartford Seminary selected 20 participants from around the world, including four students from among the graduates of its International Peacemaking Program.
The first two days of the Challenge focus on international issues. Participants will discuss interfaith topics such as the refugee crisis and extremism on a global scale. The group will also visit the White
House and several embassies. Plenary and breakout sessions that include both the international and domestic participants will take place for the final two days at Gallaudet University.
In addition to coordinating the visits of the international participants, Hartford Seminary has been working with Georgetown to create the breakouts, plenaries, discussion topics and schedules for the international portion of the program, as well as helping to plan the overall event.
Hartford Seminary student Allen Joseph, who completed the International Peacemaking Program in 2016, is also doing a research project to see what President’s Challenge participants take away and how they apply it back to their institutions. He will be publishing a blog and including his interviews on the International President’s Challenge webpage.
The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Education Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the White House, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
For more information on the program, visit this website.