Create Understanding


Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid and Father Steven Pavignano address a student during an interfaith dialogue at Seton Hall Preparatory School.

The religious landscape of the United States has shifted dramatically in recent years, with the arrival of new Americans from every corner of the globe and every faith tradition. Yet despite this rich religious diversity, most New Yorkers have little or no understanding of their neighbors’ deeply held beliefs, values, and traditions. Through education programs for a range of audiences, ICNY offers an introduction to the human face of religious diversity. Our education programs are built on a pedagogy of civic engagement – helping New Yorkers and others understand religious diversity through facilitated conversations with their diverse neighbors.

Our ongoing education programs include: the Religious Worlds of New York summer institute (a partner­ship with Union Theological Seminary, supported by the National Endow­ment for the Humanities), which helps K-12 teachers from throughout the United States teach about the everyday lives of American religious commun­ities; the annual Social Work and Religious Diversity conference (a partnership with the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute), which helps social service and mental health care providers work effectively with religiously diverse clients and communities; the Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Retreats for Social Justice, a long-running series of conferences for local religious and civic leaders, which helps them to understand each other’s perspectives on pressing social issues; and a wide range of programs for students in public, private, and faith-based schools, including panel discussions with grassroots religious leaders and site visits to local houses of worship. Other recent education programs have included interfaith dialogue and skill-building trainings for young people from local faith communities; and public programs for New Yorkers of all religious and secular backgrounds.

Through programs like these, ICNY helps New Yorkers and others build relationships of mutual respect and understanding across faith lines. We give people the tools they need to participate in the civic life of our multicultural democracy. Please click the links above for more details about our education programs, and click here to support our essential work.