News Release Library
October 3, 2011

President Obama's Interfaith Challenge

St. Edward's University was selected as one of 250 colleges and universities to participate in President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Challenge for the 2011-2012 academic year. The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge is an initiative inviting higher education institutions to commit to a year of interfaith cooperation and community service programming on their campuses.

Founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, the notions of community service and interfaith understanding have been fundamentals of the St. Edward’s University tradition since 1885.

St. Edward's University selected the theme Displacement, Migration, and Refugees in an effort to understand the movement and displacement of people as the result of natural disasters, conflict, and economic disparity along lines of nationality, ethnicity, religion or culture. University offices will work to bridge curricular, co-curricular and community partners to foster a campus philosophy of interfaith cooperation.

“As the institution moves forward with the Strategic Plan 2015, this challenge offers a important opportunity for university’s offices or programs to promote events that lend themselves to the theme of Displacement, Migration, and Refugees,” said Dr. James Puglisi, coordinator for the President Obama’s Interfaith Challenge.

This will be accomplished through a series of events that highlight the themes of displacement, migration and refugees. For example, the theme of displacement will be highlighted in this year’s Freshman reading novel by Josh Neufeld. Neufeld’s A.D. New Orleans after the Deluge is a graphic novel that offers visual experience for students to capture a sense of the impact that Hurricane Katrina had upon the individuals in the Gulf Coast.

Other events include: a Passion and Civility Debate, panel discussions on “Diversity, Ethnicity, and Minority Status in China” and documentary film screenings of “One Water” and “Casgo: Innocence Lost”.

For a full listing of events or more information on the Challenge, visit


Dr. James Puglisi

President Obama’s Interfaith Challenge Coordinator