sidebar_168“Inspiring” was the word university students Anna Antoniouk and Jennisa Nandoo used to describe the launch of the Interfaith Connectors programme on February 16.

Speaking to 3ff after the two-day retreat in Pax Lodge drew to a close, Jennisa, who has Hindu and Christian parents, said: “At first I was scared that I would have to water down my beliefs or be an expert, but I didn’t need to do either. So the fact that I could just draw on experiences with my own faith was amazing.”

Anna, a Christian from a Ukrainian family, told 3ff that she felt particularly inspired after hearing a Muslim student speak about her personal choice in wearing the hijab.

“I was never taught that it was a choice,” she said. “You always see in the media how women are forced to wear it. So when I heard her speak about how she developed her faith, I thought – wow that’s really inspiring.”

Anna herself also proved to be a source of inspiration for Jennisa when she told the group she had once fasted in Ramadhan. “I found that really interesting,” Jennisa said. “The fact that we had this one example of somebody who had actually ventured into another tradition… it really gave me hope for the future.”

Both students are now keen to start their own interfaith society on campus and organise festivals. Making it fun, they said, is the key to success. “We definitely don’t want it to be a daunting experience,” said Anna. “We want to focus on the fun aspects of joining together. Our goal will be to make people want to join.”

The Interfaith Connectors programme, launched jointly by 3FF and the US-based Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), brought together a group of undergraduate students from LSE, School of Oriental and African Studies, Queen Mary University of London and London Metropolitan University who were passionate about creating interfaith cooperation in their community and on campus.  The selected students were trained to facilitate interfaith workshopsin secondary schools, and promote interfaith social action and events on their campus.

The programme will be running again this autumn. Please contact Stephanie at 3FF to register your interest.