In 2006, MIT was one of five institutions to receive a three-year federal grant to develop model interfaith dialogue programs. Thus began the Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue at MIT. Addir––"bridge" in Ancient Sumerian-–aims to build bridges between people with different religious beliefs, practices, traditions, and cultures.
Approximately 25 undergrad and grad students of remarkably diverse faiths are selected as participants each year. Fellows meet regularly over the course of the year interacting in a stimulating environment that encourages dialogue, openness, and understanding. The heart of the program are the ongoing weekly small (7-9) group dialogues in which participants share their personal stories which lead to discussions that cover a wide range of topics; faith, prayer, culture, belief, difference, the role of women in religion, Jesus, the prophets, the principles of Islam, Judaic law, Eastern religious practice, theology, philosophy of religion and many more. Fellows also attend monthly catered dinners and lectures (open to the MIT community) and two off-campus mini-retreats.
Through the weekly meetings, Fellows gain a profound understanding and awareness of not only what others believe, but also the reasons for and depth of their personal beliefs. Holding an Addir Fellowship adds significant value to the educational experience. Students leave the program with deeper self-awareness and with leadership skills crucial for our diverse global community. They gain increased appreciation and empathy for the beliefs of others; skills that provide the opportunity to transform the ways in which people with deeply rooted differences can work together toward common goals.
- Current MIT undergraduate and graduate students
- Participation for a minimum of the academic year
- All faiths and "devout" secularists are welcome
- Approximately eight hours/month: Weekly small dialogue group meetings, 6 monthly dinners + lectures by guest scholars , one mini retreat per semester (see below).
- An orientation dinner, at the start of each term, brings all Fellows together and kicks off the small-group dialogue meetings.
- Two mini-retreats (20 hours at a cozy nearby site off campus). Fall retreat generally extends from the evening before Veteran's Day through 2:00 of Veteran's Day and Spring Retreat goes from Sunday evening of Patriot's Day Weekend - that Monday at 2:00
For more information, contact Ora Galdstone at firstname.lastname@example.org.