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The Case Foundation has been a champion of, and partner to, the Buxton Initiative since it first began in the wake of 9/11. Through various programs and outreach efforts, this unique program is building bridges and establishing relationships among people of different faith communities with an emphasis ontrust and friendship. Buxton seeks to model dialogue where controversial and difficult questions are encouraged and to provide a space in which relationships are facilitated and leveraged for other projects and initiatives.
In the aftermath of 9/11, tensions between Muslims and Christians reached an all-time high in both America and throughout the world. It was during that time that two former ambassadors, Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed (a Muslim) and J. Douglas Holladay (a Christian), met for the first time at the National Press Club in Washington. Because both were in search of someone with whom to explore ways to address the growing suspicion in the wake of 9/11, the two made a mutual commitment to meet regularly to better understand one another’s faith and worldview.
Over the course of a few months, they engaged in frequent dialogue. No controversial issue or question was avoided. Their honest discussions led to deep mutual understanding, trust, and a lasting friendship. Soon they expanded the conversation to include other leaders from a variety of sectors, and the Buxton Initiative was born. The Buxton Initiative builds understanding between people of different faiths through candid dialogue and authentic relationships.
Programs of the Buxton Initiative
A decade after 9/11, these conversations are still relevant, and the Buxton Initiative remains dedicated to creating a space for these important and timely discussions. The Buxton Fellows program for example, brings together recent college graduates from various faith traditions to create space for dialogue, both among themselves, and in area schools and place of worship.
Buxton has also expanded beyond Washington to focus on demystifying Islam by providing people across America the opportunity to meet and dialogue with practicing Muslims. Private individuals have offered to host dinners to convene the leadership of a city for closed-door, candid conversation with prominent Muslims. Buxton aims to create a space for people to talk honestly as friends, and to explore their concerns in a safe, constructive environment.
The Buxton Initiative also hosts a variety of forums and discussions each month featuring high-profile speakers who address faith-related topics. These conversations attract leaders in the business and civic communities, creating avenues for reconciliation and friendship in an increasingly divided time.
Learn more about the Buxton Fellows Program or the resources they produce on interfaith dialogue here. A sampling of Buxton’s events is below, and its blog is a great way to stay updated on Buxton's important work.
- David Brooks addresses Buxton on the Fall of Secularism
- Buxton Brings Religious and Community leaders Together for Dinner in Charlotte
Buxton would like to thank its fantastic partner organizations, which help move forward the meaningfulinterfaith work it is undertaking.