Plenary Sessions

Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization that is working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. He is the author of four books and dozens of articles, has spoken on more than 150 campuses, and served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council.

A key figure on issues of religious diversity and democracy, Eboo was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. He is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation; Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America; Interfaith Leadership: A Primer; and Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise. He also publishes a regular blog for Inside Higher Ed, called ‘Conversations on Diversity’.

Eboo holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He has been awarded the Louisville Grawemeyer Prize in Religion, the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, the El Hibri Peace Education Prize, the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Leadership Award, along with honorary degrees from 15 colleges.

He lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz, and two young sons. He is a die-hard fan of Notre Dame football, Wilco, and really good coffee.

Jeannine Hill Fletcher

Jeannine Hill Fletcher is a constructive theologian whose research is at the intersection of Christian systematic theology and issues of diversity (including gender, race and religious diversity). She is the author of three books that examine the intersectional realities of religious diversity including her most recent, The Sin of White Supremacy:  Christianity, Racism and Religious Diversity in America (Orbis, 2017). Other titles include Monopoly on Salvation? A Feminist Approach to Religious Pluralism and Motherhood as Metaphor: Engendering Interreligious Dialogue. She is professor of theology at Fordham University, Bronx, New York, and board member of the grassroots social justice organization, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, an inter-generational, multi-racial, multi-religious group organizing to address social justice issues in New York City.

Steven C. Bahls

Steven C. Bahls became the president of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois in 2003. He earned a BBA from the University of Iowa and a JD from Northwestern University. Prior to joining Augustana, Bahls was dean of the Capital University Law School and associate dean and professor at the University of Montana School of Law. Before that, he practiced corporate law with the Milwaukee firm of Frisch, Dudek and Slattery. Bahls writes regularly in the higher education press and is the author of Shared Governance in Times of Change: A Practical Guide for Universities and Colleges.  He has served on CIC’s board and is a facilitator for CIC’s Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Seminar.  Bahls has been a leader in his community chairing the boards of the Quad Cities Cultural Trust, Genesis Health Systems and the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities.  He is the proud father of three children, each graduates from small, independent colleges.

Rebecca J. Stoltzfus

President Rebecca J. Stoltzfus became the 18th president of Goshen College in 2017. Stoltzfus holds a chemistry degree from Goshen College and master’s and doctoral degrees in human nutrition from Cornell University. She previously taught at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, Maryland), and served as vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of human nutrition at Cornell University before returning to lead her alma mater.

Workshops

Jeffrey Carlson

Jeffrey Carlson is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Theology at Dominican University. As chief academic officer of the university, he has responsibility for all academic priorities and policies and strategic planning initiatives and for advancing the mission and major goals of academic affairs in collaboration with the president's cabinet and senior leadership team. He served as Dean of the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences for 15 years, and concurrently as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education for three years. He received a bachelor's degree in religious studies from DePaul University, and a master's in divinity and a PhD in theology from the University of Chicago. He serves on the board of the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area and is Trustee Emeritus, Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. He has published in the areas of the historical Jesus and Christian faith, theological method, interfaith dialogue, integrative learning, and experiential learning. Recent publications include "Against Being Inclusive" (Liberal Education), "Building and Assessing a Culture of Interfaith Learning" (Diversity & Democracy), and "Do You Love Us? Higher Education as an Interfaith Conversation about the Good Life" in Hearing Vocation Differently: Meaning and Purpose in the Multi-Faith Academy (2019, Oxford University Press).

Sophia Duffy

Sophia Duffy, PhD is a clinical psychologist. She is an associate professor of psychology at Dominican University where she teaches, advises and mentors students in psychology. She runs a large research lab, the Complex Trauma Research Lab, where she is working with students to explore trauma experiences and impacts among college students. Dr. Duffy also has a small private practice where she sees children, families and adults experiencing a wide range of concerns. She has a particular clinical interest in understanding and treating trauma, specifically in communities of color. She is of Belizean heritage and first generation American, and lives in Oak Park with her spouse and three children.

Rabbi Dr. Rachel S. Mikva

Rabbi Dr. Rachel S. Mikva serves as the Herman E. Schaalman Chair in Jewish Studies and Senior Faculty Fellow of the InterReligious Institute at Chicago Theological Seminary. The Institute and the Seminary work at the cutting edge of theological education, training religious leaders who can build bridges across cultural and religious difference for the critical work of social transformation. With a passion for justice and academic expertise in the history of scriptural interpretation, Rabbi Mikva's courses and publications address a range of Jewish and comparative studies, with a special interest in the intersections of sacred texts, culture and ethics.

Jenan Mohajir

Jenan Mohajir, Senior Director of Leadership, oversees the overall strategy, development and implementation of the Interfaith Leadership Institutes (ILIs). Jenan received her BS from DePaul University in elementary education and Islamic studies. Over the last decade, she has led skills-based trainings on interfaith service and cooperation here in the United States and around the world. Jenan spends her time designing IFYC’s interfaith leadership curriculum and managing the ‘look and feel’ of the ILIs, spearheading what has become a truly holistic interfaith leadership experience at the institutes. In her personal life, Jenan also serves on the steering committee for the Hyde Park Muslim Family Circle, which fosters the social and spiritual growth of Muslim families and individuals within the robust cultural setting of Hyde Park, Chicago. On weekends, Jenan enjoys spending time with her family and playing 'chef' with her rambunctious toddler. Jenan is a committed Muslim, and is deeply inspired by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad to build a world where we can live together in equal dignity and mutual harmony.

Amy Omi

Amy Omi is University Minister for Liturgy and the Arts at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, U.S.A. She is also a 2003 alumna of Dominican University.  She received her master’s in music education from VanderCook College of Music in 2008 and returned to Dominican in 2011 as Music and Liturgy Coordinator. As part of the University Ministry Team, she seeks to enliven the Dominican University faith community, foster spiritual development, celebrate diversity, build interfaith relationships, and promote the Gospel values of service and justice. Not only is Amy dedicated to educating undergraduate students in the discipline of music, she is deeply committed to cultivating interfaith and ecumenical approaches to contemplation and prayer within the day-to-day life of the University campus. As music liturgist, she provides students with opportunities to strengthen their skills through public prayer and explore culturally competent approaches to liturgy and the arts. Amy is also trained as a Circle Keeper through Precious Blood Ministries in Chicago and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Framework. Circle keeping is a restorative justice practice drawn from indigenous cultures, offering a process through which a community can build trust, heal hurt, learn from one another, reconcile differences, come to consensus, remember the past, and celebrate together. As an Antiracist and Interfaith Leader, Amy strives to create safe space among complex identities in order to bridge diverse sectors of the community for open, egalitarian and respectful dialogue.

Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad

Dr. Kamellah Mu’Min Rashad is the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and emotional well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. Through Muslim Wellness Foundation, Dr. Rashad has established the annual Black Muslim Psychology Conference and the Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders (DREL) Fellowship for Black Muslim young adults.  Dr. Mu’Min Rashad is also the founding co-Director of the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition, an initiative launched in collaboration with Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative to address the need for effective planning, preparedness and organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Mu’Min Rashad’s clinical and research areas of interest include: religion, race and identity development, spirituality in psychotherapy, first generation college students and emerging adults of color; healing justice and faith based activism, racial trauma and healing, psychological impact of anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Blackness, Black Muslim psychology and Black Muslim intersectional invisibility. Dr. Mu’Min Rashad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and MEd in Psychological Services. She obtained further graduate education, earning a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling (MRP) from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. She completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.

Kim Schultz

Kim Schultz is a Chicago-based actor, author and refugee advocate. In 2009, she traveled to the Middle East as an artist/activist to meet with Iraqi refugees, forever changing her life. She has turned their stories and her own into a critically-acclaimed solo play No Place Called Home, a small journal style book Story Diary (Veteran’s Book Project, 2012) and the recently published memoir, THREE DAYS IN DAMASCUS (Palewell Press, 2016). She has also published several articles and essays on the topic, and travels as a speaker for refugee advocacy. She travels telling interfaith stories as part of the trio, “Sisters of Story”. As a storyteller, Kim has won prizes for true stories told on stages in New York City and Chicago and firmly believes in the power of a good story and how they shape our memories and lives. Kim is also a corporate improvisation trainer, writing coach and director of artist residencies in Mexico.

 

Jigna Shah

Born and raised in New York, Jigna Shah is the daughter of a Hindu immigrant family. From her hard-working Hindu family having been given their first chance at the American dream by a Jewish man; to being taken care of after school by an older Black American Baptist couple; to sharing food, laughter and company on the same apartment building floor with the Mexican Catholic and Chinese Taoist young immigrant families, Jigna has seen interfaith harmony at work from her early childhood years in Queens, New York, where she derives her inspiration.
 
The experiences that followed continued to shape her passion to do interfaith work through high school, university and beyond. During her years at New York University, she founded the Hindu Student Council, and co-founded and served on the Spiritual Diversity Network and Spiritual Diversity Advisory Board. She also created a Student Life office at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she created and promoted cross-cultural programming and dialogue.
 
Jigna is Assistant Dean of Rockefeller Chapel and the Director of Spiritual Life at the University of Chicago, where she is the first non-Christian ever appointed to hold a Dean title. She is deeply committed to interfaith work and inclusivity. At University of Chicago, she has advised religious and spiritual student organizations over the last fifteen years, and has developed the Spiritual Life office with programs and experiences that create opportunities for inter-spiritual and inter-religious learning, engagement and transformation. She brings together, her passion for interfaith work, education and working with young adults.
 
Jigna is the proud mother of an eight-year old son and a twelve-year old daughter. In her spare time, she volunteers in her children’s schools for a variety of activities, including cultural learning and workshops. She believes that it’s not enough to learn about others, but to learn through engaging the differences and in the process, learn more about oneself.
 

Noah J. Silverman

Noah J. Silverman serves as Senior Director of Learning at Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based organization working to help the United States constructively engage religious diversity. He holds an MA in religious studies from New York University and has been involved in interfaith work for two decades on three continents. In addition to his work with IFYC, Noah has served as the Associate Director of Multifaith Education at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, and has worked for Religions for Peace at the United Nations, the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona, the Interfaith Encounter Association and the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in London. Noah has consulted with dozens of colleges and universities and written numerous articles and chapters on the methodology of interfaith cooperation and the growing academic field of interfaith studies, including co-editing Interreligious/Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field (Beacon Press, 2018).

Chris Tirres

Chris Tirres is associate professor of religious studies at DePaul University. He is a philosopher of religion at with a longstanding interest in the social and political dimensions of religious faith. As an undergraduate in college, he read the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and new intellectual worlds opened for him. In college, he wrote a senior thesis on Archbishop Oscar Romero, and continued his study of liberation theology in graduate school. As a doctoral student, he coupled his study of contextual, political, and liberation theologies with a study of US pragmatism. His dissertation focused on the contributions of educator and philosopher John Dewey (who was critical of institutional religion, yet appreciative of natural and organic expressions of religiosity) to contemporary understandings of faith. All of this work culminated in his first book The Aesthetics and Ethics of Faith: A Dialogue Between Liberationist and Pragmatic Thought (Oxford, 2014).He is currently at work on a second book that explores how seven twentieth-century Latin American and US Latino intellectuals, theologians and non-theologians alike, approach the idea of "liberating spirituality." Among other things, this work probes what it means to be "spiritual but not religious" in light of the colonial legacy of the Americas.

Gretchen A. Winter, JD

Gretchen A. Winter, JD is Executive Director of the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society and Clinical Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Ms. Winter also teaches in the University of Illinois College of Law and in the Grainger College of Engineering City Scholars Program as well as in the CY Cergy Paris Universite School of Law, the Practising Law Institute, and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics educational programs.

Ms. Winter chairs the board of the Leadership Fellows Association for Leadership Greater Chicago; she also is a past chair of the Executive Board of the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics as well as the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Center, she worked at Baxter International Inc. in variety of roles, including more than a decade as Vice President and Counsel-Business Practices and the law firm of Seyfarth, Shaw. Ms. Winter received her JD from the University of Chicago and her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Bruce Zimmerman

Bruce Zimmerman has served on the seminar faculty at Dominican University for the past ten years teaching two seminars: Work and Leisure: Striking a Balance (junior level) and Education’s End: The Good Life – incorporating Leading Lives That Matter (senior Level). Bruce’s teaching focuses on student-centered pedagogical methods including small group discussion, individual and group projects, and Peace Circles. At Dominican, he serves on the steering committee to implement the NETVUE Vocation Across the Academy grants.  Bruce holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg School, Northwestern University and a MLIS from Dominican University.

Lisa Zook

Lisa Zook has served as the Director of the InterReligious Institute at CTS since its inception in 2017. A gifted workshop facilitator and speaker, Lisa’s work and passion centers on exposing and resisting Christian supremacy, which is the root of all religious intolerance. She has experience as an organizer, anti-racism trainer, and teacher. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ, and available for pulpit supply, workshops, panel discussions, and lectures.