On March 7th Craig Calhoun, Director of LSE, presented the 25 Faith & Leadership 2016 participants with their graduation certificates.
Faith & Leadership is an extracurricular programme that aims to deepen student’s understanding of different religions, develop their leadership skills and enhance their potential as young world leaders.
“Challenging”, “Transformative”, “Rewarding” are three words used to summarise the experience of the Faith & Leadership programme.
The first part of the course is dedicated to improving participants’ religious literacy. Each week guest speakers from different religious backgrounds are asked to expound the imagination of their particular faith. What is the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist imagination? A dynamic series of discussions were led by Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand (Director of JHub), the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres (Bishop of London), Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad (University of Cambridge), Dr Desmond Biddulph (President of the Buddhist Society) and Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar (University of Wolverhampton).
The second part of the programme comprised leadership formation courses and training in conflict resolution. Participants were taken on a residential to The Royal Foundation of St Katharine’s to undergo an intensive programme of workshops and activities. Lively panel discussions took place between Jasvir Singh (Chair of the City Sikhs Network and Foundation) and Barbara Ridpath (Director of the St Paul’s Institute), and also Stephen Timms MP (Labour Party Faith Envoy), Michael Binyon (Leader writer for The Times) and Elizabeth Oldfield (Director of Theos). Inspirational sessions on leadership formation were led by Ruhana Ali (CEO of Nasiha Consulting Ltd) and Krish Raval (Director of Faith in Leadership). And a challenging and exceptional final workshop on conflict resolution was directed by Simon Keyes (Fellow at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace).
Here’s what two participants had to write about their experience on the LSE Faith Centre’s Faith & Leadership programme.
Reflecting on the programme overall:
The Faith & Leadership Certificate programme at LSE allowed me to engage with a variety of religious and political leaders about the role of religion in the modern European context. These discussions were dynamic and were driven by a group of deeply passionate and inquisitive peers seeking to bridge pressing societal issues with informed solutions. My favorite session, which focused on conflict resolution and negotiation practices, taught me how to analyze the complexity of group disputes and build transformative discourse. I leave the program having networked with influential organizations across the UK and having developed a clearer context for a career in social change.(Leslie Andrews)
Thinking specifically about building an understanding of religious imaginations as part of religious literacy:
I truly learned a ton from the LSE Faith & Leadership programme and I am grateful that I was able to meet such wonderful people. One conversation that will stick with me is the discussion we had about the word “Jew”. In one of our sessions, we were asked to say what first comes to mind when we hear the word “Jew”. Mazel tov, Einstein, kosher foods, holocaust, wealthy… the list went on. It was fascinating and refreshing to see how different people perceived the same word (and the same community). It was a great reminder to stay open-minded and to always treat others well in our interfaith world. (Vandad Pourbahrami)
We are immensely grateful to David and Kitty Beeken for supporting this programme.