Philosophy faculty Cyrus Zargar and Christy Flanagan-Feddon have created a new Interfaith Dialogue certificate for undergraduate students. They envision the skills and knowledge gained through this certificate program to be relevant to those interested in the liberal arts and humanities, as well as professions such as medicine, business, education, social work, and technology.
The goal of the program is to help students gain basic foundations in the main principles of interfaith cooperation, including awareness of the world’s religious traditions, facilitation of dialogue, tolerance, and appreciation for diversity.
“The interfaith certificate is meant to be a series of four courses that would help students learn important intercultural skills, especially engaging in interreligious dialogue and creating networks of tolerance,” says Zargar. “We imagined it as something that a student studying anything from nursing to business might be interested in, because the certificate would teach basic skills in reaching out to people of various religions. Orlando is a very religiously-diverse city, and America itself is becoming more diverse every day. This certificate is meant to help students not just manage or tolerate these changes, but even become leaders in interreligious empathy and knowledge.”
“Religious identity serves as an important foundation for many people in terms of their understanding of order, moral responsibility, community involvement, culture, and civic duties,” says Flanagan-Feddon. “We tend to be uncomfortable when it comes to matters of religious difference, and the goal of the program is to help bridge some of these divides and facilitate understanding.”
Students interested in this certificate must complete one required course and three elective courses of their choosing. The elective courses are broken into three subject areas: Abrahamic Traditions, Asian and Indigenous Traditions, and upper-level REL coursework. The required course, REL 3045: Interfaith Dialogue, will be offered online in Spring 2021. Learn more about the certificate and the possible electives by visiting the UCF course catalog.