Kaufman Interfaith Leadership Scholars


Kaufman Interfaith Institute is excited to launch our fourth year of the Interfaith Leadership Scholars program. We invite students who want to develop their leadership skills, learn about interfaith cooperation, and work to create a more inclusive community to join this group. Students will meet approximately two times a month on Sundays from 3-5pm at the GVSU downtown campus. They will experience college-level trainings, discussions and interactive activities led by DEI and Interfaith leaders. They spend half the school year working on a student-led and student-driven project of their choice which impacts the community. 

Students from 8th-12th grade are welcome to apply. Prior interfaith experience is not necessary but a commitment to attending the program is most important. We welcome all students of any spiritual, secular or religious background. 

For more questions, please reach out to Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani: [email protected].

Apply Here

“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 August 10, 2022