Dear Friends,We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the incredible support and encouragement that you have given us over the years. It is with great pleasure that we invite you to our fourth annual Uncommon Courage Gala and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday May 8, 2013. Up to this point, we have relied on a one-time grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the support of a few generous donors. With this Gala, we are reaching out to our friends and the community to build a stronger base of support. We need your help to grow the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding.CERRU started small—with an idea for a project that would allow students to engage in difficult conversations and practice reflective listening. We have since expanded into a vital Center that is changing the way people engage on our campus and in the Queens community. Our Innovation Exchange highlighted important international, national, and local social innovators. Our ongoing Lunchtime 2.0 program transforms the cafeteria space by generating important conversations amongst diverse student groups. We held a three-part series that explored the experience of faith and doubt across religions and disciplines. Our award winning America and the Middle East: Clash of Civilizations or Meeting of Minds series of courses is being requested by colleges across the country. Our dialogues on contentious issues teach reflective listening and empathy. We are becoming the nexus of conflict transformation and innovation on campus and in the community.CERRU is privileged to operate on one of the most diverse college campuses in the country. This unique reality affords us many opportunities but also many challenges. Different ways of seeing the world can lead to conflict in the classroom and unspoken tensions in the campus community. We see this on many college campuses and in broader society as well. At CERRU, however, we believe in a different image of diversity. We see this meeting point of different cultures as an opportunity for incredible creativity. Our mission is to inspire a generation of leaders who value cross-cultural engagement, listening, and empathy to inform innovative social change.At our annual Uncommon Courage Gala and Awards Ceremony we honor individuals who have demonstrated uncommon courage and are working to make our society a safer space to live, think, and create. Among others, we are excited to honor Stephen Barton for his work with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and two of our alumni, Meher Mohsin and Dasi Fruchter, for their faith based activism. We hope that you will join us for the Gala and continue to work with us. Together we can transform our campus and our society into a space where diversity of opinions and cultures leads to deeper understanding and social innovation. We look forward to celebrating with you.Sincerely,The CERRU TeamSteven Appel | Sophia McGee | Denise Pagano | Mark Rosenblum | Alexandra Ruiz | Batya Septimus |John Vogelsang
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