Kaufman Interfaith Leadership Scholars

2020-2021 Scholars Registration is now open!

Kaufman Interfaith Institute is excited to launch our second year of the Youth Interfaith Leadership Scholars Program. This year our focus will be on Leadership Development, Deepening our Learning of Pluralism*, and Taking Action in our communities. 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. All students 8th-12th grade are welcome to participate in this free program.** 

Here's what Scholars from the 2019/2020 cohort said about the program:

  • Most students felt that the interactive trainings and getting to know their peers were the best part of the program. 
  • Learning from University Professors who were experts in their fields was really cool
  • The group really got to know each other and learn what made kids from all over west Michigan who they are

*Pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity. Pluralism is not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference.---Diana Eck

** Inclusion is of critical importance to Kaufman. Please email Zahabia Ahmed-Usmani at usmaniz@gvsu.edu with any questions or concerns.

Apply Here

Kaufman scholars group shot

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 bowling event

Scholars Gurdwara event

What will they do?

Students will deepen their understanding of one another’s traditions and cultures as they engage the diversity of West Michigan in the spirit of collaboration and understanding while developing leadership skills used to create grass-roots community impact.

Our first Scholars group has already created these community initiatives with more to come!

Scholars hanging out

Kaufman scholars working hard

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

● Influencing Kaufman Programs- Students will shape future programming and direction at an institutional level.

Kaufman Scholars at work

Kaufman scholars go bowling

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

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

Kaufman scholars in training

Scholars working on LEGO at a meeting

Scholar giving a presentation

Kaufman scholars working on a project together