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Muslim Community Fellowship
What is the Muslim Community Fellowship?
The Muslim Community Fellowship is a year-long experience that will further the personal and professional development of emerging leaders from across Metro Vancouver’s Muslim community.
The fellowship focuses on understanding community and social change, building relationships, and learning the skills needed to work within complex social systems.
Fellows will leave with a deepened knowledge of self and others and the capacity to affect mindful, positive change in their communities.
Where did the idea of a Muslim Community Fellowship come from?
Over the course of 2017-2018, the SFU Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies hosted a series of “Being Muslim” community dialogues. These dialogues, including “Being Black and Muslim in Metro Vancouver”, “Being Muslim on Unceded Land”, “Being a Muslim Artist”, created a space for self-identified Muslims from various backgrounds to engage with one another around their lived experiences.
What emerged was the importance of spaces like this where Metro Vancouver’s Muslims could gather and reflect on their different experiences (as documented by researcher Laura Kapinga), and deepen their relationships with each other.
The idea of a cohort that would meet regularly to build relationships and share in a learning journey has a long tradition in various settings. It was important when designing this program that we had a team with diverse backgrounds and experiences. A diverse Fellowship Design Team, comprised of young Muslim leaders living in Metro Vancouver, began to meet and think about their own experiences, what type of learning had served them and what would be useful to share with others. Part of the intention behind the design team approach was to recognize the different experiences and to learn together through difference.
In addition to regular meetings, the design team received funding from the Contemplative Justice Network to undertake a retreat. At this retreat, together they created the Fellowship structure, envisioned the potential outcomes and began the process of building a relationship between the Muslim Community Fellowship and the Indigenous peoples.
The Muslim Community Fellowship Structure
Muslim Community Fellows will:
- attend a kick-off retreat to get to know one another and map out their community experience;
- gather for evening cohort sessions twice per month;
- attend two mid-point retreats before and after the Summer break to reflect on learning;
- receive readings, lectures and support from community leaders and professionals;
- build relationships across communities;
- be supported to pursue individual growth opportunities;
- be supported to initiate a community-based project.