Successful “Pre-Emptive Prayer Service for Peace”

On Sunday, October 14th the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative held their “Pre-Emptive Prayer Service for Peace” event at the Iman Cultural Center in Culver City. During the program we had a chance to listen to different prayer chants and the children’s choir from All Saints Episcopal Church. The elders from each faith shared some of their wisdom by reflecting on their interfaith relationships and the younger generation shared their testimonials about their own interfaith experiences. The program came to a close with a blessing from each faith tradition. This event shows that we can always learn something new from each other. The importance of striving for an understanding and acceptance of another person’s beliefs rather than settling for tolerance for another faith was displayed over and over again throughout the event and is something that we should all strive for.

NVP hosts 6th year of Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative!


What a wonderful summer it was for our Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiatives!  We had over 150 high school students and college mentors participate in our three day programs at USC, Chapman University, and Long Beach State.  At each of these events, students explored their own religious identity, learned about privilege and standing up for the less privileged, made friends and built a unique interfaith community that can be a model for the kind of diverse leadership our country and world so need right now.  Here are some highlights from each program:

At USC – Visited the Los Angeles Baha’i Center, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, and the Islamic Center of Southern California.  We worked at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, and heard from speakers Umar Hakim, Deborah Sanchez, Estee Chandler, and Marwa Balkar.  We also had fun at the Santa Monica Pier!

At Chapman University – Visited the Islamic Society of Southern California, the Hsi Lai BuddhistTemple, and the BAPS Hindu Temple.  Our community service was done at Rise Against Hunger, and we heard from Music in Common.  We had a blast at Boomers, too!

At Long Beach State – We visited a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple, Temple Israel, and the Zoroastrian Center of Southern California.  We did a Beach Clean Up, and heard from Native American bands Miracle Dolls and Scatter Their Own.  Here we had fun together at Mulligans Family Fun Center.20748175_1481023215323880_1306817085805770188_o 20748245_1481017885324413_2890282104060903105_o 20776491_1481017541991114_3183418745996796029_o 20776841_1481023075323894_5507115168884184537_o 20818872_1481003281992540_8243778047019666193_o 20819731_1481013688658166_9150029066265393550_o 20861702_1481023615323840_2651898034800602377_o 20863237_1481022951990573_9061731633410135248_o

Meet New Vision Partners’ Inaugural Advisory Board

This fall, NVP is proud to announce it’s first-ever Advisory Board!  These are leaders in the interfaith community who are supportive of NVP’s work and are advising us on our programs and direction.  Please meet them!

Varun Soni


Varun Soni

Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California


Paige Eaves


Paige Eaves

Pastor, University United Methodist Church (Irvine, CA)



Sarah Bassin



Rabbi Sarah Bassin

Temple Emmanuel (Beverly Hills, CA)



Jim Burklo



Rev. Jim Burklo

Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California


Beau Shapiro


Rabbi Beau Shapiro

Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Los Angeles)


Jay Keller


Jay Keller

Director of Outreach and Operations, Interfaith Alliance (Washington DC)


Neil Comess-Daniels



Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels

Temple Beth Shir Shalom (Santa Monica, CA)



Don Miller



Donald E. Miller

Firestone Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California and Executive Director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture


Lorna Miller



Lorna Miller

Former Director of Office of Creative Connections, All Saints Church ( Pasadena), former Executive Director, New Vision Partners


Aryeh Cohen



Aryeh Cohen

Professor of Rabbinic Literature at American Jewish University


Salam Al-Maryati



Salam Al-Maryati

Executive Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council



George Regas




Rev. Dr. George Regas

Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church ( Pasadena, CA)


Noriaki Ito



Bishop Noriaki Ito

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple (Los Angeles, CA)

Now Accepting Mentor Applications for IYLI 2014

Mentors play an important role in IYLI. Each program has a total of 50 student leaders… which means we need 10-15 mentors to connect with the youth and help the program go smoothly. These exceptional individuals are part of a team that helps the young leaders connect with each other as well as community leaders around them.

All mentors must complete a background check and go through an orientation prior to the programming in June of 2014. Upon successful completion of the program, each mentor will earn a $100 scholarship to help her/him with their college education. Mentors are individuals who are college sophomores through graduate school.

Click here to apply!

Mentors are seen helping participants create collages that represent their faith tradition.

Meet Karishma Gokhale, an “IYLI Throughout the Year” Participant

Karishma Gokhale (left) took part in the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Long Beach activities that took place once a month from July to December of 2013. Karishma was one of the twelve IYLI participants that volunteered at the Long Beach Rescue Mission to serve lunch to the homeless the weekend before Thanksgiving. Read below what Ms. Gokhale has to say about the service event and our IYLI program.
I first heard about IYLI through my friend, Neha Jain. All I knew about it at first was that she had done some 3-day program in the beginning of the summer. She started telling me how interesting it was, and how she had met so many amazing people from different faiths and cultures, and got to experience things she would not have encountered otherwise. It sounded really exciting to me because of the events she had done and because it was more of a real world experience outside of the bubble I was used to. I decided to join.
The most inspiring activity I participated in was when IYLI went to serve food at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. We were in charge of preparing the food and serving it too. This was eye-opening but also really saddening when a few weeks later it made me think: “Where will that mom with the two little daughters be sleeping tonight?” It made me really want to go back and help out more. I think it was a great event by IYLI because this program is all about creating understanding between different faiths and one of the biggest things in all faiths is giving back to the community. I think the best part was when we sat down and actually had a meal with the homeless men and women we were serving. I had some pretty interesting and funny conversations with some of the people there.
Overall, I learned a lot from IYLI about different faiths and, also, more about my own faith and how I associate myself with it. I also was put into situations, such as volunteering at the homeless shelter, or met people that I would not have encountered because of this program. I think this was a really good experience overall and I am definitely going to recommend it to other high school students.

Meet Kayla Asemanfar and Ian Liu, 1st Place Winners of New Vision Partners’ Film Competition

During the summer of 2013, Kayla Asemanfar took part in the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Long Beach program. Since then, she has participated in New Vision Partners’ Film Competition along with her friend, Ian Liu. The theme for the competition was “Interfaith Cooperation through Service.” Kayla and Ian received 1st Place for their short film “Service through Friendship.” Read below, a short interview we conducted with Ms. Asemanfar. Watch their video HERE!
1. How did the IYLI Summer 2013 program inspire you? 
After attending IYLI Summer 2013 program, I am much more interested in expanding my knowledge about different religions. I am inspired to truly get to know a religion and not judge it based on what society or the media say about it.
2. How did your IYLI experience influence your film submission?
IYLI showed me that all religions have central concepts of compassion, friendship, trust, diversity, acceptance, and love. Although different religions show these themes in different ways, these central themes and more can be found at the core of each religion. This influenced our submission because we came to realize that no matter what religion someone practices, they know that helping others is first priority. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, etc. Religious texts describe how if someone doesn’t have the same faith as you and even if they have no faith at all, they deserve the same respect and help that others do.
3. Why is interfaith work important to you and in society today?
I think interfaith work is especially important in this day and age. Religion seems to create barriers between people these days, and especially in the government, differences in religion and differences in opinion cause many problems for people, especially minorities, in America. I think that working towards understanding other religions is extremely important because you gain other people’s perspectives when you do that. Understanding and acknowledgement of other religions can help solve many of America ‘s and the world’s problems.