Event to examine importance of interfaith leadership in the 21st century

Kinza Khan
Kinza Khan, a domestic violence attorney, will be the featured speaker during the 2019 Rabbi Phillip Sigal Memorial Lecture.
Image Credit: courtesy of Kinza Khan

An upcoming presentation at Grand Valley will explore the importance of encouraging young people to grow in their interfaith understanding in order to become positive religious leaders of the 21st century.

Kinza Khan, a domestic violence attorney, will be the featured speaker during the 2019 Rabbi Phillip Sigal Memorial Lecture. The event will take place March 11 from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center’s Pere Marquette Room, located on the Allendale Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

“When I look at the news, I see examples of both really good and really bad interfaith leadership, so learning how to talk about and understand different religious, secular and spiritual traditions will be important for our students as they continue to shape their lives, professions and societies,” said Kevin McIntosh, Campus Interfaith Resources coordinator.

Khan is currently an attorney at Life Span, an organization committed to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She also serves as an educator and trainer for HEART Women & Girls, an organization that provides education about and advocacy for issues of sexual health and violence in Muslim-American communities.

Kahn earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and a law degree at DePaul University's College of Law. She has worked in issues of child welfare, women's rights and domestic violence throughout her career while also engaging in interfaith work and various community development projects.

“I think hearing what made Kinza get into interfaith during college, what made her apply to join the Interfaith Youth Core, and why she has continued to focus on making the community better through her work will show students that you don’t need to work in an interfaith office or a religious institution to be an interfaith leader,” said McIntosh.

This year’s Sigal Lecture is co-sponsored by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and Campus Interfaith Resources.

The annual lecture is named for Rabbi Phillip J. Sigal, a pioneer of the interfaith movement in West Michigan until his death in 1985. Aside from his duties at Ahavas Israel Synagogue, Sigal was instrumental in opening the lines of communication among several religions in the area. After his death, a group of local academic and interfaith enthusiasts established the Sigal memorial lecture in his honor. Since that time, the event has brought some of the most important voices in religion and social movements to churches, schools and other venues in West Michigan.

For more information, call the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at (616) 331-5702 or visit the institute’s website.