Baylor hosts Interfaith Conference bringing schools, faiths together

Baylor is hosting the Interfaith Regional Gathering this weekend at the Mayborn Museum. The keynote speaker will be Mohammed Al Samawi, who is sharing his journey about getting people out of Yemen. Courtesy of Baylor University.

By Lizzie Thomas | Reporter

Baylor is hosting the Interfaith Regional Gathering dubbed “Interfaith Heroes” this weekend on Friday and Saturday at the Mayborn Museum.

Other schools from all over the southwest region are coming to the Mayborn Museum for a conference featuring shining examples of interfaith literacy, which means having competency in multiple religions.

Better Together BU, Baylor’s interfaith organization, is a part of the Better Together network.

The conference includes a keynote address from Mohammed Al Samawi, trainings, breakout sessions and cultural food.

According to Sharyl Loeung, coordinator for outreach and inclusion in the Department of Multicultural Affairs, the Interfaith Youth Core gives out grants to universities to host regional gatherings. For the past two years, Baylor has received that grant.

Loeung said Mohammed Al Samawi, who is the keynote speaker, will be sharing his story at the conference which entails him seeking out people of other faiths and escaping Yemen. The stories are rumored to be so intense that the movie being made based off his story will be categorized as action.

“College students get together to meet students of all faith backgrounds or no faith backgrounds to be able to meet each other and to share stories— really more about each other’s faiths — but also what we emphasize is interfaith leadership,” Loeung said.

“What we mean by that is we take our faith beliefs out to the world, and so we have to figure out how live in a democracy together. So [we’ll be] practicing those skills to help us do that over the weekend.”

Better Together BU focuses on connecting with people using storytelling and common goals, according to Loeung.

No matter their background, there are things everyone in the organization can agree to advocate for. Right now, Better Together BU is working on food access and forced migration.

“We talk a lot about the privilege of thoughtlessness,” Loeung said. “When I walk into a room, I don’t really have to think about points of access. I don’t have to worry about how my food was cooked because I don’t have any dietary restrictions. I want people to think about food, types of food or time of day for prayer — those sorts of things — because I care about other people, and I care about their religious and cultural customs.”

Kendall Curtis has been involved in Better Together BU for three years and is now a leader. She went to the gathering when it was held at Texas Christian University two years ago and the one that Baylor hosted last year.

“It’s really cool to get other schools coming in and learning,” Curtis said. “It was really cool to see some TCU students coming down — they came to our conference. We really just worked on different ways to be interfaith leaders and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

“It’s really just about interfaith literacy and appreciative knowledge of other people’s religions, and how we can go forward with that and make more connections.”

Students can register for the conference on Baylor Spiritual life page at the door.