African delegation visits Xavier while studying religious freedom in the United States

The group is participating in a project as part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program | April 19, 2011

A 12-member group participating in a regional project for Africa entitled “Religious Freedom in the United States” is meeting with Xavier’s Center for Mission and Identity while visiting Cincinnati from Saturday, April 23, through Thursday, April 28, as guests of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Project participants are interested in an overview of religious freedom and tolerance amid diverse populations in the U.S., as well as the role of religious and faith-based organizations in various arenas, including community service, education and electoral politics.

“We are excited to share Xavier’s rich tradition and mission with the delegates as they seek to better understand the intersection of religion and society in the United States,” said Joe Shadle, director for the Center for Mission and Identity.

The State Department has outlined the following key objectives for the project:
• To explain the core values of individual freedom of conviction, expression and worship in U.S. society.
• To examine the role of religious leaders in the community.
• To observe the interplay between religion and politics in the U.S.
• To explore how religious conviction relates to charitable and community activism in fields such as education, health care and social service initiatives.

The African visitors have requested an overview of the mission of Xavier University, a tour of campus including the Catholic and interfaith chapels, and a discussion of programs offered by the Center for Mission and Identity, including its 2007 year-long seminar on Understanding World Religions.

Other international delegations have visited with the staff of Xavier’s Center for Mission and Identity, including Vietnam in 2010 and Saudi Arabia in 2008.