Interfaith America expressed its honor in uniting a new cohort of dedicated, civically engaged leaders from across the nation. These leaders are wholeheartedly committed to fostering connections at local, national, and international levels. The selected fellows come from diverse sectors such as faith, public health, education, law, and advocacy.
The Sacred Journey Fellowship is specifically designed to nurture the leadership potential of exceptional individuals within Interfaith America's Emerging Leaders Network and beyond.
With the generous support of Fellowship in Prayer, Interfaith America is dedicated to investing in the continual growth of leadership and collaboration within this vibrant group of interfaith leaders, who represent a rich tapestry of religious and racial backgrounds.
Each cohort member will receive a $15,000 award, and the two-year fellowship will encompass an immersive retreat experience for the cohort, supplemented by ongoing support for enhancing their leadership skills and expanding their professional networks through virtual workshops and peer-to-peer mentoring.
The public will have the opportunity to gain insights from the Fellows as they share their stories and reflections on their experiences during the two-year fellowship through pieces featured in Interfaith America Magazine.
Irshad Osman brings a unique blend of training as an Imam and professional expertise in fundraising. He holds a BA in Islamic studies from Sri Lanka and an MSc in Public Policy from the UK. His passion lies in Inclusive Philanthropy, and he has held positions at numerous local and international non-profit organizations, where he oversaw fundraising portfolios worth millions of dollars. In 2020, he served as an Interfaith Innovation Fellow with Interfaith America.
Irshad is the visionary behind the Muslim-Indigenous Connection program, aimed at increasing engagement between Muslim youth and Indigenous communities through interfaith dialogue, intercultural education, and awareness-building.
Each year, the program equips a cohort of Canadian Muslim youth with knowledge about the history and contemporary struggles of Indigenous Peoples due to settler-colonialism. Irshad's project aspires to mobilize the Canadian Muslim community to actively participate in reconciliation efforts with Indigenous communities.
Recognizing the historical injustices inflicted upon Indigenous Peoples, including the dark legacy of residential schools, Irshad acknowledges that many Indigenous communities have lost trust in faith institutions. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued 94 "Calls to Action" to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. However, there is a lack of awareness among Muslims, who arrived as settlers through migration, regarding these efforts.
Hence, Irshad's vision is to catalyze a shift in public perception and engage the broader Muslim community in national reconciliation endeavors. His mission involves establishing a concrete framework for reflective practice and visionary leadership among Muslims, with the goal of fostering meaningful connections and contributing to the reconciliation process between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada.