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Navigating Interfaith Waters: WIHW 2020 Celebration to Take Place at Sea

February 24, 2020

World Interfaith Harmony Week is celebrated by organizers all around the world, across cities, countries, and for one of our grassroots partners, at sea. On February 25 through February 27, Multi-Faith & Belief Student Council at Colorado State University and the Fort Collins Interfaith Council are co-sponsor a WIHW week on the current voyage of Semester at Sea entitled, Navigating Interfaith Waters.
Elizabeth Sink, the event coordinator for this WIHW event shares how this observance celebrates interfaith harmony, “Our planned Interfaith harmony activities allow individuals to speak from their own experience and recognize the religious/non-religious “other” as someone with inherent worth and dignity. Engagement activities such as creating “Belief-Identity Family Portraits” are meant to recognize cultural intolerance (or indifference) of minority beliefs and counteract that intolerance through curiosity, conversation, relationship building, while taking photos together. The harmony will also reach outward, as participants share their images with their social media networks, which will hopefully inspire others to befriend another across belief difference.”
The 500+ voyagers of the spring 2020 Semester at Sea program will be celebrating four days of World Interfaith Harmony Week from February 25-27th, as they navigate interfaith waters together. Activities will include an interfaith meal of gratitude, film and discussion and lots of creative engagement, allowing individuals to speak from their own experience and counteract intolerance through curiosity, conversation, and relationship building. At each event, the UN Declaration of World Interfaith Harmony Week will be read aloud.
When: Tuesday, February 25th – Thursday, February 27th
Where: Semester at Sea Voyage, Indian Ocean
What inspired this event? Laura Nelson, the Fort Collins Interfaith Council President states that, “The Multi-Faith & Belief Student Council at Colorado State University and the Fort Collins Interfaith Council have been collaborating for the past six years to increase interfaith literacy, facilitate engagement across different beliefs and commit to interfaith harmony (many different voices, singing a common tune). Since 2013, the groups have engaged over 2000 students and local community members to interact harmoniously across difference of belief. The groups collaborated to co-sponsor WIHW week on this voyage of Semester at Sea to impact a greater diversity of college-students who are likely to be in positions of private and public leadership and policy-making in the future.”
According to Nicole Gormley, one of the University Student Organizers and Event Photojournalist, she hopes that, “…the events we are holding for World Interfaith Harmony Week will help to diminish stereotypes and break down boundaries in our community at Semester at Sea. In my personal experience, I have seen that most people tend to not do a lot of research about faiths and identities different from their own. What they do hear about other faiths are just bits and pieces of stereotypes that are over exaggerated or watered down information that is not completely true. I think that having the opportunity for event attendees to sit down with other members of our shipboard community that have different faiths to learn first hand about the different beliefs and experiences of others close to us will be very beneficial and eye-opening for everyone involved. I hope attendees will take away new knowledge of different faiths that will help them to see past stereotypes, and hopefully they will take the initiative to correct any misinformation that they hear about different faiths in the future.”
You can view the event flyer below.