INTF 120 We Can Build Bridges

The United States has long been defined by the great diversity of its people. Whether that diversity enriches or divides the nation, however, is not a given. Where there is deep difference, there is a need for bridgebuilders: citizens with the mindset and skills to transform diversity into pluralism. In this interactive course, you’ll watch bridgebuilding in action, learn about the goals of bridgebuilding, and consider where you might take steps to build bridges in your own life.

Interfaith America · January 1, 2024

Interfaith America is a non-profit organization that inspires, equips, and connects leaders and institutions to unlock the potential of America’s religious diversity.

We Can Build Bridges is a self-paced, independent learning experience. This online course is an ideal starting place for anyone who wants to know more about bridgebuilding or for anyone who wants a foundation for their existing bridgebuilding efforts. After completing this course, learners will be able to: 

  • Define the components of bridgebuilding;     
  • Describe the key difference between pluralism and diversity;
  • Offer an example of bridgebuilding;
  • Offer a reason why bridgebuilding can be an effective tool to address challenges; and 
  • Identify one place in their life, even if small, where bridgebuilding could be helpful.

Syllabus

Contributors

Marley Pierce

Democracy and Bridge Building Initiatives Program Manager
Interfaith America

Connie Meyer

Curriculum Development Consultant
Interfaith America

Carr Harkrader

Director
Interfaith America

Tina Grace

Program Coordinator
Interfaith America

Dr. Eboo Patel

Founder and President
Interfaith America

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For Educators

We Can Build Bridges is part one of Interfaith America’s two-part Bridgebuilder Basics curriculum and is also available in an instructor-led format. Visit the curriculum homepage for a full set of curricular tools, including part two (How to Build Bridges), which equips learners with key bridgebuilding knowledge and skills.

Special Thanks

We Can Build Bridges was made possible thanks to generous funding from Trinity Church Wall Street. Thank you to Stand Together for creating two videos in this course, produced by Freethink. Onboarding support was provided by 1791 Delegates and The Foundation for Religious Literacy.

Civic Education for the Common Good

We apply the U.S. Department of Education’s Consensus Statements about Constitutional Approaches for Teaching about Religion

▸ Our approach to religion is academic, not devotional;
▸ We strive for student awareness of religions, but do not press for student acceptance of any religion;
▸ We sponsor the study about religion, not the practice of religion;
▸ We expose students to a diversity of religious views, but may not impose any particular view;
▸ We educate about all religions, we do not promote or denigrate any religion;
▸ We inform students about religious beliefs and practices, it does not seek to conform students to any particular belief or practice.

We apply the American Academy of Religion’s “Religious Literacy Guidelines”

▸ “Religious Literacy Guidelines for College Students.” American Academy of Religion, 2019.
▸ “Teaching About Religion: AAR Guidelines for K-12 Public Schools.” American Academy of Religion, April 2010.

We apply the National Council for the Social Studies C3 Frameworks for Religious Studies

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, “Religious Studies Companion Document for the C3 Framework.” Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies, 2017.