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Press Release for Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interfaith Center Awards First Interfaith Community Service Scholarship

Jessica Scott, Public Relations Specialist
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2192

The University of North Florida Interfaith Center recently made history when it presented the Noor Inayat Khan Interfaith Community Service Award, one of the first interfaith community service scholarships offered by a college or university in the United States, to two UNF seniors for significant voluntary interfaith community service.


Kalilah Jamall, a senior sociology major, and Clare Stern, a senior health science major, both from Jacksonville, were the first two recipients of this community service award, which is thought to be the first scholarship of its kind in higher education in the nation, according to the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core.


“Khan’s story inspires people from all different religious and non-religious worldviews to work together,” said Tarah Trueblood, UNF Interfaith Center director. “I could think of no more deserving recipients than Kalilah and Clare.”


Jamall served as an interfaith leader on the University’s campus as an active member of the Interfaith Center. She has hosted difficult conversations on meaningful topics with civil, respectful discourse. She has also promoted stories of marginalized and minority groups through activism and outreach events. “Being an interfaith leader, for me, is creating opportunities to witness change within people that leads to opening minds and hearts,” said Jamall.


Stern served on the “Better Together at UNF” campaign, the President’s Interfaith Community Service and The Campus Challenge on Humanizing Homelessness. During the Hamas-Israel escalation in summer 2014, she engaged with communities outside her personal identity to mourn, grieve and stand in solidarity. “When we embrace each other for our differences and come together to create that beloved community we remember that we are in this one world and one life together,” said Stern. “We are one human family that works better together.”


Khan was a young Muslim heroine who joined the British network of spies sending coded messages between England and the French Resistance. The daughter of a Sufi Master from India and an American mother, Noor grew up in a Sufi interfaith center in Paris, where she lived during the Nazi invasion. Resisting numerous opportunities to escape to safety, Noor’s selfless decision to aid the resistance saved countless lives ultimately cost her own.


Eligible scholarship nominees were full-time UNF students with significant voluntary interfaith community service leadership through the UNF Interfaith Center and/or Better Together at UNF, who met the minimum grade point average. On nomination, applicants were asked to share their interfaith community service leadership story in a short essay.


Candidate applications were screened by a committee comprised of the UNF Interfaith Center staff in consultation with two UNF faculty/staff members and individuals active in the Jacksonville interfaith community.


The mission of Interfaith Youth Core , founded in 2002 by Dr. Eboo Patel, is to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. IFYC works to foster interfaith leaders on college campuses who drive the dialogue of interfaith cooperation.


The UNF Interfaith Center offers nationally recognized, award-winning programs, events, and services based on student development theory and designed to advance interfaith cooperation by developing student leaders for a diverse democracy and global community.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.