Changing attitudes across religious communities

Tufts is among five East Coast campuses to receive a new grant from the Department of Homeland Security to implement inter-faith and intercultural dialogue on college campuses.

The grant will support the development, implementation and refinement of programs that will reduce inter-group tensions among university students of different religions, primarily Christian, Jewish and Muslim, and help foster habits of inter-group acceptance and cooperation among future leaders and decision-makers. Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, executive director of Tufts Hillel, is one of two co-principal investigators on the project.

The Tufts project, named Pathways, will feature two dialogue groups as well as occasional dinners, lectures and an annual retreat. One dialogue group, Pathways to Faith: Religious Pluralism Dialogue, will explore the beliefs and traditions of the three faiths as well as their different views on contemporary issues, including gender roles, our relation to the environment and the connection between religion and the state. The second group, Pathways to Understanding: Middle East Discussion and Analysis, will engage in in-depth conversations on the complex dynamics of the region by examining topics such as resolutions of the current conflicts and portrayal of the peoples of the region in the Western media. Both groups will meet weekly during the semester, and pending approval from the Experimental College, will provide students with academic credit.

The vision for Pathways was set by a consortium of university administrators, faculty and student leaders, including the four university chaplains, faculty in the departments of International Relations, Psychology, Comparative Religions, the Institute for Global Leadership and the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, and students from the Muslim Student Association, Arab Student Association, Hillel, the Catholic Community, the Tufts Protestant Fellowship and Tufts’ New Initiative for Middle East Peace. The project will be facilitated by Christina Tobias-Nahi and Shai Fuxman, two local facilitators, both holding M.Ed. degrees. They were hired to run and evaluate the first year of the program. Abrahams Vision, a consulting group based in California, will also be involved with continued training and materials.

Pathways will begin its activities with several information sessions to present the program to all interested students. In addition, the project will host an inter-faith dinner on Wednesday, September 27, in the Chase Center in Carmichael Hall that is open to the Tufts community. For more information, contact the Pathways facilitators Christina Tobias-Nahi ( or Shai Fuxman (