In 1960, the late Juliet Hollister created the interfaith-based Temple of Understanding upon realizing that the world was in grave danger unless the gifts, wisdom, and insights of religious traditions could be recognized and cultivated to promote positive social change. The Hollister Awards acknowledge individuals whose life work has advanced the interfaith ideal and promoted that positive social change on a grand scale. Bringing together today’s panel, MacArthur Fellow and Peabody Award-winning host, Majora Carter takes audiences through an in-depth conversation with the following esteemed panelists:
Imam Khalid Latif is the first Muslim University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. Under his leadership, the Islamic Center at NYU became the first ever established Muslim student center at an institution of higher education in the United States. Imam Latif’s exceptional dedication and ability to cross interfaith and cultural lines on a daily basis brought him recognition throughout the city, so much so that in 2007 Mayor Michael Bloomberg nominated Imam Latif to become the youngest chaplain in the history of the New York City Police Department at the age of 24.
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna serves as the University Chaplain and Rabbi at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. As a community leader, Rabbi Sarna has guided the astounding growth of the NYU Jewish community since 2002. One signature of his leadership is extensive multi-faith collaboration, particularly with the Muslim community. He has convened campus-wide multi-faith vigils on behalf of victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre, the Mumbai bombing, the Haiti earthquake, and the tsunami in Japan. In 2007, Rabbi Sarna also founded the Jewish Learning Fellowship at NYU, a “school-within- a-school” that now has nearly a thousand alumni and serves as an educational model for Jewish campus groups nation-wide.
May Rihani served as the Senior Vice President of the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the Director of the Global Learning Group and the Center for Gender Equity. At AED, she was a leading voice on the relationship between girls’ education and health, reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and economic productivity. Ms. Rihani was responsible for educational reform programs in countries in Africa and the Middle East, and for ensuring gender equity in AED’s educational social development programs. She has written numerous publications in multiple languages, further contributing to her goals to promote a more culturally integrated and pluralistic world.
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp is an award winning lecturer, writer, and environmental activist. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Rabbi Soetendorp was saved by a righteous couple and survived as a ‘hidden child.’ He received his ordination from Leo Baeck College of London in 1967 and was instrumental in the reestablishment of Jewish communities in the Netherlands. He is the Rabbi Emeritus of the congregation Beth Jehuda in The Hague and former President of the European region of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He has established the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values that helps to build bridges between the cultures, spiritual traditions, and generations.
Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey is the Managing Director for the Muslim Women’s Institute. He is an internationally recognized peace activist and the former director of the Human Rights Division of the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom). Prior to joining MAS Freedom, Ramey, served as the non-nuclear proliferation chief of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, one of America’s oldest peace organizations. Over the course of his 30 year career, he has been a tireless champion for global peace and reconciliation.