International Interfaith Initiative
Beyond our focus on Indiana youth, PLC is becoming an international model for youth leadership in peace education. PLC has participated in and been host to a wide array of international opportunities.
A few examples include partnerships with the U.S. State Department, the Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem, Ambassadors for Children outreach to Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and South Africa, as well as partnering with Indianapolis Rotary for programs in Jamaica.Since 2004, PLC hosts Philippine students through the U.S.State Department and Northern Illinois University. These high school and college-aged students travel to Indianapolisto learn peacemaking. Many have been directly affected by religious and ethnic clashes fueled by international terrorism. They commented on PLC’s techniques and how useful they will be in their lives and work.
The International Center of Indianapolis and PLC partner together on cultural exchanges with leaders from the Middle East. More than 100 visiting groups from a variety of countries including Afghanistan, Morocco, Russia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Jordan spent the day going through programs, discussing proactive peacemaking and issues facing their countries. These activities complement and enhance PLC’s work with Indiana’s youth giving PLC facilitators the chance to experience other cultures and gain new understanding of peacemaking.
In partnership with Peace Learning Center, the International Interfaith Initiative is a collaboration of religious, civic, and educational organizations intended to stimulate creative cooperation and strengthen civil society. III engages in community service projects, convenes dialogues, hosts conferences & events, and celebrates our diverse cultural heritages through a shared appreciation for literature, art, music, and food.
Indianapolis began a Sister City relationship with Cologne, Germany almost 20 years ago. Out of this relationship and through many trips to our city, Cologne's Herr Klaus Martin Finzel has a vision to create an International Interfaith Museum and Research Center in Indianapolis. Herr Finzel is inspired to establish such an organization here in America’s heartland largely due to the generosity he experienced through the Marshall Plan as a child growing up in Germany. Through investments and input, he helped create the International Interfaith Initiative (III) which is a program established to strengthen interfaith cooperation while assessing the capacity and interest in our community to sustain such an innovative enterprise.
Former Peace Learning Center Executive Director and Cofounder, Charlie Wiles, is coordinating III’s work that includes:
- An ongoing assessment and asset mapping of Central Indiana’s religious and civic community.
- Co-hosting a variety of community events and service projects including an interfaith Habitat for Humanity homebuilding called House of Abraham.
- Facilitating a series of youth dialogues among middle school students from Congregation Beth-El Zedeck,St. ThomasAquinas School, The Oaks Academy, Madrassa Tul-Ilm and Rousseau McClellan IPS #91. III partners include IUPUI’s Center for Urban and Multicultural Education (CUME), Sagamore Institute, Max Kade German AmericanCenter, and Peace Learning Center.
More information regarding International Interfaith Initiative can be found at www.internationalinterfaith.org.