In Person

Advancing Campus Pluralism: Bridgebuilding Across Difference

This convening will bring together college and university presidents committed to promoting positive cooperation across political, ideological, and religious divides. 

April 2, 2024

The Westin Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel, Washington, D.C.

The Context

In the face of rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and prejudice on campuses across the nation, this convening will bring together college and university presidents committed to promoting positive cooperation across political, ideological, and religious divides. We highly encourage presidents to attend personally and invite two senior administration or faculty leaders who will support implementation of positive bridgebuilding or positive cooperation across divides at your institution. The convening will feature engaging keynotes from leaders in campus pluralism followed by interactive workshops and dedicated time for campus team reflection and planning. Throughout the convening, participants will build capacity to develop a comprehensive strategy for advancing pluralism on their campuses, envisioning the centrality of cooperation within college and university environments and scaffolding their next steps to positive and sustainable bridgebuilding across difference.

The Convening

Contact Joey Haynes, Program Manager, Interfaith America, [email protected], for all program-related questions. 

Read more about the convening below including,

IN PHOTOS: College Presidents Convene to Navigate Rising Polarization on Campuses by Silma Suba

Media Coverage

Convening Schedule


Registration Opens 

10:00a.m. – 11:30a.m.

Opening Remarks and Welcome

Plenary 1: The Promise of Pluralism in a Time of Prejudice and Polarization 

11:30a.m. – 12:30p.m.


12:30p.m. – 1:30p.m.

Plenary 2: Campuses as Laboratories for Pluralism and Training Grounds for Bridgebuilders

1:30p.m. – 1:45p.m.


1:45p.m. – 2:45p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Session A: How can campuses create a culture of pluralism, while supporting the unique needs of Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Israeli and Palestinian students, in a time of heightened divisiveness?

This session, grounded in storytelling, research, and on-the-ground experience, explores how a civic religious pluralism framework can help address both antisemitism and islamophobia and enable universities to create inclusive spaces for bridging deep divides.  

Session B: How can university presidents publicly and proactively signal their commitment to pluralism in times of calm and crisis?

Using the Israel-Hamas conflict as a case study, this session explores the problems and possibilities of public messaging and introduces participants to Interfaith America’s principles for messaging that seek to engage the broader religious, political, and ideological spectrum. (Presidents only)

Session C: What contributions can diversity work in higher education make in promoting pluralism?

This session explores how to think about the relationship between diversity initiatives and efforts to build relationships across deep ideological differences on college campuses. It also addresses how diversity offices and programs incorporate religion (and by extension prejudice aimed at religious communities) into their work, and the implications of the perceptions of not doing so in a time of heightened polarization. 

Session D: How can university-based institutes and projects promote pluralism?

This session highlights university-based institutes and projects that promote pluralism. It explores the following questions: What has worked well with these institutes and projects? What challenges have they faced? How have rising tensions since the October 7th attacks affected the way they approach their work?

Session E: What contributions can student-led programs make in promoting pluralism in higher education?

This session explores current student-led programs around pluralism and fosters a roundtable discussion about how universities can create and deepen student-led efforts on facilitating pluralism.

2:45p.m. – 3:00p.m.


3:00p.m. – 4:00p.m.

Plenary 3: From Theory to Action: Next Steps toward Positioning Universities as Models of Pluralism

Feature Resources


Pluralistic campuses will foster the bridge-builders our divided nations need

Students with the skills to treat diverse viewpoints with curiosity and respect will be prepared to navigate the complexities of the real world, say Eboo Patel and Rebecca Russo


Why Campuses Need Centers for Pluralism

Now more than ever, colleges must help students learn to cooperate across differences, writes Eboo Patel.


Bridgebuilding in Higher Education: A Landscape Analysis

During the 2022-23 academic year, Interfaith America conducted a landscape analysis of existing bridgebuilding efforts to address polarization across U.S. Higher Education by interviewing bridgebuilding organization professionals, campus practitioners, and higher education leaders. 


Interfaith Leadership Summit

The Interfaith Leadership Summit (the Summit) is the largest gathering of students and educators with a commitment to American religious pluralism. The 2024 Summit will be August 2-4, 2024 in Chicago at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk.


Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap equips students and educators with the skills and knowledge to better engage across deep divides in our polarized society.


2024 Leadership Institute Interest Form

A multi-day leadership institute by CDI, in partnership with Credo, for college presidents and their key staff to learn culture change practices to improve the state of discourse on their campuses.

The Advancing Campus Pluralism: Bridgebuilding Across Difference convening is a collaboration between Interfaith America and AAC&U.

Learn more

Visit our co-host AAC&U’s website to learn more and register.

Contact Us

Please contact us with any questions about the Advancing Campus Pluralism convening.

Joey Haynes

Program Manager

Interfaith America