INTERFAITH DIALOGUE AND ENGAGEMENT

WELCOME TO THE OFFICE OF INTERFAITH DIALOGUE AND ENGAGEMENT (OID).

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This old proverb is the backbone for the Office of Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement. We believe that building a community of people should be our end, not simply our means. To do so, we must create intentional spaces where we can utilize the tough bridges we have been given while building new and sustainable ones. This will make it possible for actual relationships to grow and help us understand one another’s perspective deeper in order to embrace the person better. Our unique office focuses on providing the University of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities with opportunities to engage in rich interfaith dialogue through a variety of engaging activities, workshops, events, and initiatives that enhance personal spiritual identity and communal connections. The office serves to act as a resource for all students, staff, faculty, and organizations on campus and assist in the university’s promotion of diversity, inclusion, equity, and community. Remember, we need each other to help each other grow with each other.  Take a look at some of the ways you can participate and let’s grow together!

Our Mission:

  • To CREATE SPACES for Interfaith dialogue to occur
  • To BUILD BRIDGES for relationships to develop
  • To ENCOURAGE PEOPLE in both secular and religious communities to strive for unity in diversity

Our Vision:

To be a proactive trailblazer on campus and within the community that specializes in turning interfaith walls into doors and ceilings into floors and equips students to become relatable empathetic community building leaders!

Our Three Core Values

PEOPLE First:

Our goal is to engage and understand people, not win arguments. We are not here to find all the right answers to age old debates, rather, ask better questions that help us appreciate and better connect with the person who hold the belief. Community is made out of a variety of real individuals, not merely ideologies. Because we are people before anything else, we aim to learn how to engage each other as people who want to be understood, seen, heard, and acknowledged where we are. Getting to know each other means getting past our surfaces, fear, and stereotypes, and sharing/learning our stories, perspectives, beliefs, and experiences. This will help us go from Tolerating the Philosophy –>  Respecting the perspective  –> Embracing the person!              

We are people to be loved, not projects to be fixed.” – Jackie Hill Perry                                                                            “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

DIALOGUE, not Monologue:

Our goal is to create and sustain a space rooted in hospitality and mutuality. A space for free, shameless discourse where “dumb” questions can be asked. Bridges do not fall from the sky. They are built with relationship and sustained with dialogue. Dialogue intent to understand and not simply the desire to speak gives us the opportunity to penetrate toxic and/or tense issues (like interfaith) in a civil manner and flush them out. Some may agree to disagree, but will understand the why and therefore stay committed to the relationship. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once stated, there is a danger to one sided story. While “us-they” monologues place us in a hierarchy where we are always the ones up and are pointing down at others, “we” dialogues place us on a common ground and allows us to each reach across boundaries. We need to understand each other more than we know because healthy relationships form healthy community.               

Intent is always prior to content.”                                                 Perspective changes everything without changing anything.

UNITY in Diversity:

Our goal is to help others understand that you can have diversity and inclusion, but if you do not have community, you have nothing. Community is made out of diverse people who have some things in common, but are not forced to have all things in common. Unity does not mean uniformity. We are unified because we all strive to sustain our community, meaning we can all celebrate our differences because we have first embraced the person.  We do not want to help build a community that invites a diverse group of people to a table and makes space for then at the table while forcing them to eat what we eat or dismissing their type of food.                         We may have all come on different ships (perspectives, cultures, worldviews, etc.), but we are all in the same boat (community) now.” – Martin Luther King Jr.                  “Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.” Martin Luther King Jr.