2020 IFYC Interfaith Regional Gathering at Baylor University
Cultivating Cultural Humility: A Matter of Faith
Description: Participants will gain a clear five-step model for practicing cultural humility through an embodied, action-oriented, intersectional lens. Each individual and group in attendance will practice self-reflection, institutional assessment, and planning for the future in order to make their campuses more welcoming and inclusive spaces for all. The session is a combination of lecture, games, and other processing activities.
Bio: Kerri Fisher is a Full-Time lecturer with the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University in Waco Texas. Her practice interests include school social work, cultural humility, and anti-oppressive practices. She formerly served as the Director of Social Work Field Education at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. She is currently the Chair of the leadership team at University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas and has previously served as a spiritual director in the Central Texas Tres Dias and Alamo City Tres Dias Communities.
Building Bridges from Waco, Texas to Pune, India: The Power of Practice in Iyengar Yoga
Description: Anne-Marie Schultz will share how finding Iyengar Yoga led her to build a bridge from the Brazos to the rivers of Pune India near the Iyengar Institute. She will describe her interfaith experiences with yoga and how Iyengar’s understanding of Yoga as Universal Religion is a model of interfaith work. The session will end with a short yoga practice. (no yoga experience is needed).
Bio: Dr. Anne-Marie Schultz is a Professor of Philosophy. She also serves as Director of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. She graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio and did her doctoral work at The Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Plato’s Socrates as Narrator: A Philosophical Muse (Lexington 2013) and Plato’s Socrates on Socrates: Socratic Self-Disclosure as Public Philosophy (Lexington 2020). She has written numerous articles on Plato, Augustine, and philosophical pedagogy. She is currently at work on a third book: Telling Tales of Socrates: Creating Philosophers of the Future. She is also a Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. She teaches yoga classes in Austin and workshops throughout the state of Texas.
Inter(active)-Faith: Turning Your Passion Into Action
Description: This session will cover an intersection between politics and religion, particularly, having your beliefs challenged and discovering harmony in potential personal and professional paths. Memona will cover practical application of pursuing your passions through examples, methods, and personal experiences. In attempting to exercise these principles, Memona will introduce Divers Press, a publishing platform, intended to incite intellectual curiosity, debate, and growth.
Bio: A Better Together BU Alumni, Memona Niazi was Raised in Houston, Texas, and grew up with her four brothers and often visits her parents’ hometown in Karachi, Pakistan. This exposure caused Memona to reflect more deeply on her religious beliefs in Islam and the gender constraints within Pakistani culture. Graduating from Baylor in 2018 with BA in History and a Minor in Political Science and Religion, she went on to work in Washington D.C., Austin, and Oxford U.K.
Building Bridges of Belonging in the Breath: Mindfulness, Identity, and Interfaith Leadership
Description: In this breakout session, we will explore our own identities in a spirit of mindfulness and compassion. We will use the Identity Gears worksheet from the IFYC to take inventory of the various aspects of our individual identities and practice cradling them in self-compassion. Honoring our individual comfort levels, we will also use our work with the Identity Gears as a means of building appreciative knowledge of the beauty inherent in our differences. We will conclude with a compassion-based mindfulness practice for interfaith belonging.
Bio: Dr. Mike Whitenton (Ph.D. Religion, Baylor University) began teaching full-time in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core in 2016. Broadly speaking, his teaching focuses on rhetoric, religion, and contemplative practices. Mike first turned to mindfulness as a tool for working with stress in graduate school. Since that time, he has practiced within a variety of traditions, including breath work, body awareness, mindful eating, lovingkindness, self-compassion, and insight practices. He is an active member in the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, and since the Fall of 2018, Mike has also led weekly mindfulness group for students in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core.
Storytelling as Bridge Building
Description: Today, competing narratives imposed by different mediums tend to propagate harmful and incomplete images of groups with different religious and non-religious identities. Storytelling allows us to decolonize our minds of any prejudices of the “other.” As such, storytelling cultivates a transformative reorientation of difference, an empathetic and healing community, and peacebuilding among conflicting divisions. Together, let us learn our story, own our story, and share our story as we unite our world with our stories.
Bio: Michael Liga is a Masters of Divinity Student at George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University. He is also a Ministry Associate of Spirituality and Public Life and an Associate Pastor of Ecclesia Community Church. Michael was born in Jolo, Sulu, the Philippines where his family experienced migration from a religious conflict between Christians and Muslims. Afterwards, his family immigrated to America and resided in Louisiana in 2001. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he became a native resident of Houston for 11 years. His interests include Christian-Muslim relations, peacebuilding, reconciliation, restorative justice, and conflict resolution.