Conferences, trainings, and dialogue are important to IFYC, but the primary purpose of Patel and the other 30 full-time IFYC staff is to build leadership within all faith communities. Patel notes that while 99% the world “inclines towards tolerance and cooperation,” a large portion of the remaining 1% are strong leaders and successful in their pursuit to discriminate and divide. Patel believes that if a larger portion of that 99% become leaders in their own communities, a better, stronger world will emerge.
Zehra Imam is an alumna of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is currently designing a course, “The Patterns of Struggle and Triumph” to foster self-development within students. She is also working on “Desegregating Detroit in Delhi,”an experiential-learning fellowship to serve as an avenue for dialogue among student leaders in Metropolitan Detroit.
Painting: Zehra Imam
I’m not going to sugar-coat this complex terrain that is my motherland. My family immigrated to America due to religious and political unrest in Pakistan. I feel like my native land has grown to become a superstar since our family left – always in the news, always getting caught doing something that warrants a comment, always in the limelight. But something else other than natural ties still compels me to call a part of myself Pakistani and retain my dual identity of Pakistani-American. It has taken me a long time to say that I am from Pakistan with pride, and that I am choosing to live in America with gratitude.