ING Hosting Faiths Act Fellows


Hosting an Interfaith Pair of Fellows is Islamic Networks Group (ING)

April 21, 2009. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, in collaboration with the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), have today announced 12 exceptional young people selected in the US to take part in a youth leadership program established to bring people of different faiths together to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and in particular, eliminate deaths due to malaria. Among the organisations selected to ‘host’ an interfaith pair of Fellows during these 8 months is the Islamic Networks Group in San Jose, CA ( The Islamic Network Group is a national, educational outreach organization that promotes inter-religious understanding and mutual respect through interfaith dialogues and education about world religions.

Hundreds of applications were received and just 30 extraordinary young people of faith were chosen to be ambassadors for the Faiths Act program. The Faiths Act Fellowship, is comprised of young leaders of diverse faiths aged between 18–25 from the UK, US and Canada. Beginning in August 2009, they will embark on a ten-month journey of interfaith service.

This will involve training in London and Chicago, field work in a malaria-endemic country in sub-Saharan Africa and then eight months working in grassroots faith communities in their home countries to raise funds and awareness about the campaign against malaria deaths.

Working in inter-religious pairs, they will reach up to tens of thousands of people of faith through outreach activity, informing them in person and online about the devastating impact of malaria and the opportunities open to faith communities to work together to save millions of lives.

Maha ElGenaidi, ING Executive Director, said, “We are looking forward to hosting two of the Faith Acts Fellows and engaging American Muslims in the interfaith effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Muslims have a long tradition of social service which is incumbent upon all Muslims for the sake of humanity as for the person’s own faith. We hope to do our part in catalyzing this spirit of giving for this effort among Muslims and other communities of faith.”

Rebecca Oyen, 22, who has been selected as a Fellow said, “I am honoured to have been selected as a Faiths Act Fellow by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and it is particularly timely with World Malaria Day on April 25th coming up. I am motivated by the deep roots and traditions of my faith to work towards combating deaths from malaria – our teachings point us towards doing good work and helping others. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with someone of a different religion to motivate local faith communities in the USA and I believe we can really make a difference. The Jewish people have a long history of fighting for justice in the world. The Faiths Act Fellowship gives me the opportunity to carry on that tradition in a new way through working towards the Millennium Development Goals with partners from many different faith communities.”

Eboo Patel, Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, said “I believe in the power of young people around the world to build inter-religious cooperation and advance a transformative ethic of volunteerism. I am pleased to begin working with such an exceptional group of young leaders to mobilize faith communities around the globe to eradicate deaths due to malaria.”

Tony Blair added, “I am delighted we have been able to select such an outstanding and admirable group of young people from the hundreds who applied for a position in the Fellowship. I am certain they will accomplish a tremendous amount. Faith communities around the world have historically achieved great things to combat global problems. I believe that by faiths coming together to tackle the problem of malaria deaths, as part of a global coalition, we can really prevent this disease.”

Malaria kills a child in Africa every thirty seconds. Pregnant women and children under five are the most vulnerable. Yet, these deaths are entirely preventable. Places of worship are present in every village in every part of Africa, forming effective networks in practical ways to reach people in need everywhere. The Faiths Act Fellows will galvanize faith communities in the developed world to support those in Africa, and demonstrate that if faiths work together, they can do even more than what has been achieved apart.

About the Tony Blair Faith Foundation
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was founded by the Rt Honourable Tony Blair and launched in May 2008. The Foundation’s goal is to promote respect and understanding between the major religions, to make the case for faith as a force for good and to show this in action by encouraging inter-faith initiatives to bring people together to tackle global poverty and conflict. More information can be found at and

About the Interfaith Youth Core
There are millions of religious young people in the world interacting with greater frequency. Where so many of these interactions tend towards conflict, the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) aims to introduce a new relationship, one that is about mutual respect and religious pluralism. Instead of focusing a dialogue on political or theological differences, IFYC builds relationships on the values that we share, such as compassion, and how we can live out those values together to contribute to the betterment of our community. The IFYC is creating these relationships across the world by inspiring, networking, and resourcing young people, who are the leaders of this movement. More information can be found at