Kaufman Interfaith Leadership Scholars

Kaufman Interfaith Institute is excited to launch our third year of the Youth Interfaith Leadership Scholars Program! This completely free of charge leadership development program will focus on deepening our understanding of pluralism and taking action in our communities. We will emphasize bridge-building across teen leaders in our community. After a semester of learning, during the second semester we will progress into reflecting on our own communities. The Scholars will determine where there is a need for collaboration to bring deeper interfaith understanding into those spaces. They will create a project to address this theme and apply their learning to better our community. All students entering 8th-12th grade this fall, of any religious, spiritual, or secular tradition, are welcome to apply before each school year.

For more info, please contact Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani, usmaniz@gvsu.edu.

“When we learned about the Trail of Tears, we learned about the Native American experience from the perspective of atrocities they experienced rather than the flourishing culture they represent.”

---Emlynn Merrill

Kaufman Scholars bowling event

Who Are the Kaufman Interfaith Leadership Scholars?

Teenagers from the greater Grand Rapids area who provide invaluable leadership, input and direction for the Kaufman Interfaith Institute while gaining greater cross-cultural and interfaith knowledge.

They are the future of interfaith in West Michigan!


Kaufman scholars group shot
Kaufman scholars working hard

What will they do?

The Scholars are working on two projects:

  • Addressing Eurocentrism across curriculum in general with a presentation and learning guide for teachers. 
  • Incorporating youth voices into World Religions/Histories curricula by recording youth reflections on how they practice and experience their tradition. 
Scholars hanging out
Scholars Gurdwara event

How Will They do it?

● Trainings- Implicit Bias, Influencer (Social Media), Strengths/Skills assessments, presentation skills, story-telling workshops

● Deepening Networks- Interactions with our community partners, service opportunities

● Lessons and best practices - provided by college professors and experts in their field.

Kaufman Scholars at work
Kaufman scholars in training

● Coaching and guidance - Geared toward exploring each scholars own passions and interests

● Influencing Kaufman Programs- In addition to personal growth the Leadership Scholars will serve as an advisory council to Kaufman Interfaith Institute and help to guide the Institute forward into the future.

Check out the community initiatives created by our first Scholars group!

Kaufman scholars go bowling
Scholars working on LEGO at a meeting
Scholar giving a presentation
Kaufman scholars working on a project together

Page last modified September 7, 2021