2013-2014 Interfaith Scholars
Lubna Hussain – Senior Anthropology Major - Muslim
Interfaith is an important part of my life. As a Muslim American growing up in Chicago, I always felt it is important to educate others about my Islam as well as broaden my views about other faiths. As an Interfaith Scholar at DePaul, I hope to bring peace, understanding, and love to the DePaul community by seeking knowledge and creating an interfaith dialogue. "Every good deed is charity whether you come to your brother's assistance or just greet him with a smile." Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Enass Zayed - Muslim
Interfaith is just as much about critical thinking as it is about one's own religious beliefs. I have spent my entire life up to this point learning as much as I can about the world around me because that is the only way to be able to make an informed decision and to have productive conversations. Having grown up in a traditional muslim household in a not so traditional world, I feel like I have seen a lot of different understandings of the same thing. I absolutely love that aspect of belief because it can fit into so many people's understandings of the world around them. My goal for the upcoming year is to work to define my own understanding even better and to maybe determine how other traditions express the same values.
Nicholas Stanley - Roman Catholic
When I was young, I loved to ask the question "Why?" Sometimes it drove my parents nuts. In Junior High, I started to ask "why" questions around faith, religion and God. My family and I would talk for hours on difficult religious concepts. This allowed me to develop my own personal belief structure and opinions. In high school my belief structure molded into something much deeper because of my participation in Campus Ministry. I attended Gordon Tech College Prep High School, which is a Catholic institution right in the middle of Chicago. I volunteered my time to help Father Joe, the head of Campus Ministry, plan retreats for the student body. What amazed me the most when I first started to help was how these Catholic Retreats incorporated meditations, prayers, readings and the Spirituality from a multitude of religions including Muslim, Judaism, Native American culture and much more. This opened the door to a deeper understanding of my religion, beliefs, spirituality and God. Through these interfaith experiences, my devotion to God strengthened and I continued to explore my religion and the religions of others. I still ask "Why?" all the time and it still drives some people nuts, but every time I ask "Why" I grow in heart, mind and soul.
Kamieshia Graves - Non-denominational Christian
Though I was not birthed into a particularly religious family, life caused faith to become the core of my essence. After seeking change and making a big move from Chicago to middle-of-no-where, North Carolina, my family and I began to explore Christian denominations for our own individual reasons. In religion I sought refuge with the hopes of discovering the meaning behind difference and its consequences and, quite frankly, to learn if there was an upside to what my family and I experienced. I found home when I joined a non-denominational Christian church, and there I learned that difference truly is acceptable. I embedded the message that being Christian is to be Christ-like into my noggin, and for me, this was the most important aspect of Christianity. These simple words spoken by my pastor meant that I could genuinely love even those who do not share my faith practices, and can participate in a…hmmm… Interfaith Scholars Program, perhaps. Interfaith Scholars, despite the frightening nature of the title, allows me to commune with individuals who are open about sharing the differences and exploring the commonalities in a safe environment without feeling as though I am cheating on my own beliefs, which can be achieved in both carefree and laid-back environments. We are encouraged to be comfortable and confident in sharing our differences while adding links by discovering common ground. For that reason, I look forward to sharing, learning, and expanding my understanding of others and self with IFS because, though we are all different, we are marching towards a common goal.
Thano Prokos - Junior, Secondary Education/English Major - Orthodox Christian
If I had to explain the purpose of interfaith dialogue I would say that it exists so that we can not only learn about each other’s differences, but so that we can also recognize how our own religious identities play a role in an active improvement of our communities and our world while in cooperation with other identities.
I come from the tradition of Orthodox Christianity, an ancient Christian tradition, but a minority in the United States. Growing up as a Christian minority made me ever more proud of my faith and to this day, I try to make my Orthodox identity an open book for anyone to learn about. And as much as I love teaching others about Orthodoxy, I also love learning about other religious traditions because different though they may be, I can always appreciate it when someone holds the same passion and zeal about their faith that I do. That’s really why I’ve joined the Interfaith Scholars, to both share and learn.
After DePaul I plan on teaching English and pursuing my other passion of writing. I also enjoy music, food, sports, television, and long walks (be they on the beach or elsewhere).
Madeleine Tick is a senior at DePaul majoring in International Studies and minoring in Spanish language and Asian American studies. She has been involved with DePaul Hillel and its related Jewish student organizations for 4 years. When not in class she enjoys practicing cosmetic artistry and photography. She was first drawn to interfaith dialogue after visiting Israel on a birthright trip and seeing such a diverse religious population in such a small space, and wanted to learn more about how different religions live side by side in a symbiotic relationship. When it comes to interfaith, she enjoys drawing from the unique individual heritages that different religions offer to create a new shared vision. She especially enjoys learning about the subtle shared cultural practices between religions, as she hopes to work in international law and diplomacy. She plans on attending law school after graduating in June 2014.