Building Bridges on Campus: Dialogue and Care in Times of Conflict
How can campus leaders support constructive dialogue and positive cooperation across differences on campus without stoking conflict between groups and exacerbating divides?
December 14, 2023
The horrors in Israel and Gaza have ignited heated debates on college campuses across the U.S. How can campus leaders support constructive dialogue and positive cooperation across differences on campus without stoking conflict between groups and exacerbating divides?
In this free 90-minute webinar, the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) and Interfaith America (IA) offer guidance and evidence-based strategies for bridging differences on college campuses. It features the insights of senior leaders from Interfaith America who have decades of experience working in higher education: Rebecca Russo, an American Jew, and Jenan Mohajir, a Muslim American. They not only provide lessons learned from IA’s work with hundreds of college campuses but also share their personal experiences as interfaith practitioners who have modeled empathy in their own friendship across their cultural and religious differences.
Jenan and Rebecca are joined by Linda Tropp, Ph.D., the director of the Intergroup Relations and Social Justice Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a leading scholar of intergroup relationships. Dr. Tropp offers research-based insights on how to have difficult conversations, exploring the complexities and transformative potential of contact and dialogue between members of different groups.
Moderated by Juliana Tafur, the GGSC’s Bridging Differences Program Director, the webinar highlights the critical role of college campuses to serve as bridgebuilding spaces, equipping campus administrators, faculty, and all advocates of constructive dialogue with tools to cultivate a culture of respect and understanding across differences in these complex times.
Bridging Differences Resources
Here are many of the resources on the science and practice of bridgebuilding that were referenced during our event:
- Interfaith America’s Bridging the Gap Curriculum
- Greater Good Science Center’s Bridging Differences Playbook
- The Cultivating Contact Guide published by the Center for Inclusion and Belonging, Welcome America, and researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, including Dr. Linda Tropp
- Article co-written by Jenan Mohajir and Rebecca Russo, Campuses Should Model Care
“Bright Spots” On Campuses Today
- Faculty Modeling at Princeton and Columbia The Discourse is Toxic. Universities Can Help.
- Bridge-building at Cornell University Interfaith Dinner Serves Empathy and Understanding
- Multifaith panel at Elon University Community Wide Discussion Addresses Ongoing Conflict in the Middle East
Resources from the Greater Good Science Center
- Bridging Differences edX Course
- Bridging Differences Program
- What We’re Learning From Campus Leaders About How to Bridge Differences
- When Can Religion Help Bridge Our Differences
Resources from Interfaith America
- Shared Values Facilitation Guide
- Interfaith America with Eboo Patel podcast with author Amanda Ripley, “How Do We Remain Bridgebuilders During Times of War“
- Story Circles Activity Guide
- Foundations of Interfaith Leadership Course
- Interfaith America’s Leadership Summit
Additional Recommended Readings
ETailored For You
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.
Interfaith America with Eboo Patel
The Interfaith America with Eboo Patel podcast explores how we engage religious diversity in different sectors of our nation, from Hollywood to politics, journalism to academia.
Foundations of Interfaith Leadership
A roadmap for developing (or continuing to develop) the vision, knowledge, and skills required to contribute to the realization of a truly interfaith America.