Illinois College launches Findley Interfaith Initiative
Illinois College recently received a $4,000 Campus Innovation Grant through Interfaith Youth Core to fund the Findley Interfaith Initiative.
This is an exciting opportunity for our students to become active stakeholders in curating and sharing our collections. Students will gain hands-on experience conducting research and collaborating as part of a team.
The yearlong project will explore the career of U.S. Congressman Paul Findley ’43 as an interfaith leader, drawing from historical collections in the Paul Findley Congressional Office Museum, as well as the Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives at Illinois College.
Students will work with Samantha Sauer, Illinois College archivist, curator and assistant professor of history, to curate and construct a digital collection of primary source materials that show how Findley navigated questions of religion, and in particular religious difference, throughout his political career. The online collection will serve as an educational resource available publicly through the database JSTOR Forum.
Illinois College Chaplain Timothy McGee, who is co-leading the initiative with Sauer, said he hoped the initiative would encourage more students to become interfaith leaders like Findley.
“Congressman Findley is an extremely important interfaith leader, someone who dared to engage significant issues, like anti-Islamic prejudice in the U.S., because he was convinced that such prejudice is detrimental to all of us,” said McGee.
The grant provides funding for two Illinois College undergraduate interns and one graduate intern to collect and digitize materials for the database.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our students to become active stakeholders in curating and sharing our collections. Students will gain hands-on experience conducting research and collaborating as part of a team,” added Sauer.
The grant-funded initiative will culminate in a public presentation in spring 2020, and publication of the Findley collection on JSTOR Forum.
Interfaith Youth Core is a national organization that has partnered with Illinois College for many years. The founder and president, Eboo Patel, spoke on campus in 2013 and IC faculty and staff have received interfaith training through the organization.
In 2017, when Illinois College established its interfaith studies minor to better prepare students to prosper in a diverse global economy, Patel said: "Interfaith studies is about cultivating leaders who can help strengthen our diverse democracy to meet the challenges of the 21st-century. It is no surprise to me that Illinois College is on the vanguard of building this important new field."
For more information about interfaith studies at Illinois College, visit www.ic.edu/interfaith-studies.