In 2012, the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre, together with the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative and Centre for Community Partnerships won a three-year, $500,000 grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to bring together students, faculty, community leaders and youth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to build networks of communication, inquiry, and action around the problems and possibilities of living in a religiously diverse society.
The Project provided opportunities for young adults across the GTA to cultivate civic responsibility and leadership as they work against exclusion and marginalization arising from issues related to religious diversity. The Project also presented leadership and community engagement opportunities for students and young adults working within GTA community organizations in raising awareness of how open communication about religious diversity is connected to Canadian values and civic responsibility.
Religious Diversity Youth Leadership Training
Nadir Shirazi, Program Coordinator
University of Toronto students participated in a service-learning certificate program that trained them in the following areas:
- leadership in the community
- enhancing one’s citizenship capacities
- preparing for service in diverse communities (including religious communities)
- negotiating inclusion across differences (including religious diversity)
Students who completed the training and provided leadership in two community events/initiatives received a certificate in RDYL Training from the Multi-Faith Centre.
Service-Learning Community Partnerships
Laurie O’Handley, Community Coordinator
Through academic and co-curricular service-learning experiences, young adults were placed within community organizations supporting initiatives that allowed them to engage civic responsibility and religious diversity in the public sphere. Community partners included other University departments that were addressing issues of negotiating diversity and inclusion among young adults. In addition to support from student organizers and facilitators, modest financial support was also available to community partners, including honorariums, food, publicity and travel.
Public Forums and Community Research Workshops
Siri Hansen, Project Coordinator
Scholars, policy-makers, community leaders and students engaged in semi-annual two-day events consisting of 1) a public panel featuring leading researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners, and 2) a community research workshop bringing together scholars, students, policy-makers, and community leaders. Forum and workshop themes included: religious diversity and publicly-funded healthcare; gender and sexuality in GTA religious communities; religion and the decriminalization of drugs; and religion and the arts.