Georgian delegation visits Benedictine to observe intercultural dialogue efforts
Lisle, Illinois ~ A delegation of community leaders from the Republic of Georgia visited Benedictine University recently to study and observe best practices for religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue among Christians and Muslims to help facilitate similar opportunities for peaceful conversation and understanding in their home country.
The five-member delegation participated in discussions on interreligious dialogue, met with University faculty and administrators, and attended a dinner hosted by the student group Movement of Students Achieving Interfaith Collaboration (MOSAIC), which featured presentations from Benedictine students on how interreligious dialogue has served to increase their knowledge of other cultures and people while strengthening their own faith.
The trip was part of a weeklong exchange program administered by the Council of International Programs USA, a nonprofit organization that promotes global understanding through professional development and cultural exchange. It was sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center, an agency designed to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and free-market system.
In addition to their visit to Benedictine, the delegates visited the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park, the Niagara Foundation, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, and CAIR (Consul on American-Islamic Relations) Chicago. They also met with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th) of Illinois.
At Benedictine, students and faculty are encouraged to share their unique cultural, ethnic and religious heritage and customs in an open and friendly environment where all are welcome to inquire, discuss and engage in the search for truth.
Multiple opportunities allow Benedictine students to explore and appreciate different cultures including the Catholic-Muslim Student Dialogue group, where students of both faiths come together in a respectful atmosphere to discuss the Bible and the Quran and religious issues and customs; the Intercultural House, a special residence hall where students are randomly assigned and encouraged to interact with a roommate with contrasting life experiences; and several interfaith dinners, cross-cultural events and dozens of study abroad opportunities.
By bringing people together from a variety of backgrounds to live, work and play, Benedictine better prepares students to participate and lead in an increasingly global society.