Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders
on Religious Pluralism in the United States

The Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Religious Pluralism in the United States will be held at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 15- August 19, 2017. The program is administered by the Dialogue Institute, in cooperation with the International Center for Contemporary Education, and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participants in SUSI are among the approximately 30,000 individuals who participate in exchanges managed by the ECA each year.  

You are among the 20 outstanding student leaders from universities in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey who have been chosen to participate in this unique five-week learning experience. The program is designed to include classroom work as well as frequent interactions with many Americans from diverse backgrounds. The course will offer a variety of learning opportunities including lectures, classroom discussions, field trips, volunteer service projects, cultural events and a study tour—all designed to help you increase your understanding of American democracy and the way in which religious practice is protected and expressed in U.S. society.

Dialogue Institute
Temple University (062-56)
1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 315
Philadelphia, PA 19121-0843

International Center for
Contemporary Education

274 Linden Lane
Merion Station, PA 19066

Program Hosts

The SUSI program in Philadelphia has been created by two educational organizations—the Dialogue Institute (DI) and the International Center for Contemporary Education (ICCE). The DI was founded in 1978 to advance interreligious and cross-cultural understanding and scholarship through education, networking and resource development; it is related to the Temple University Department of Religion. ICCE runs domestic and international programs that promote educational excellence, cultural understanding, and tolerance for religious, ethnic and racial differences within and across communities. Together we are delighted to welcome this group of international students for a unique learning experience based at Temple University.

Leadership Team

Program Administrators and Senior Staff

Rebecca Mays, M.A., M.A.

Academic Co-Director

Rebecca Mays, M.A. is the Executive Director of the Dialogue Institute.  Ms. Mays holds a B.A. in English from Earlham College and an M.A. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a Quaker educator in schools and colleges and as a professional editor/publisher for the Religious Society of Friends at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Study Center in Media, PA. When teaching the Synoptic Gospels classes there, she became involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue work. Her interest grew to include the study of Islam as she completed a second M.A. in Religious Studies and Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University.  She currently serves on the Administrative Committee of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia and on the Worship and Ministry Committee of her local Quaker meeting.

Barbara Zasloff, Ph.D., MPH

Administrative Co-Director

Barbara Zasloff, Ph.D., MPH serves as President of ICCE. Dr. Zasloff holds a Ph. D. in psychology from Columbia University and a public health degree (MPH) in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard University. Over a thirty-year career in education and psychology, Dr. Zasloff has created and administered numerous classroom and camp programs for children, youth, and educators from thirty countries. A professional mediator, Dr. Zasloff was a founder of the international coexistence organization Seeds of Peace where she developed core curriculum and ran residential and follow-up programs for educators. Having worked with youth and adults in the Middle East, Cyprus, South Asia, and the Balkans, Dr. Zasloff creates and administers educational projects focusing on civic engagement. Her programs have been funded by various U.S. government agencies including USAID, MEPI and ECA as well as by corporate and private foundations.

Professor Leonard Swidler, Ph.D

Academic Co-Director





Tim Emmett-Rardin, M.Div

Administrative Co-Director

Prof. Leonard Swidler, Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Dialogue Institute, as well as Founding Editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. He is Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue in the Religion Department of Temple University, where he has taught since 1966. At Temple, and as a visiting professor at universities around the world – including Graz, Austria; Tübingen, Germany; Fudan University, Shanghai; and the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur – Prof. Swidler has mentored a generation of U.S. and international scholars in the work of interreligious dialogue. Prof. Swidler has a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of Tübingen, and received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin; he also holds honorary doctorates from St. Norbert’s College and LaSalle University. Prof. Swidler has published more than 180 articles and 70 books.

Tim Emmett-Rardin joined the Dialogue Institute staff in November of 2014, having worked in a variety of nonprofit, religious (including interfaith), and higher education contexts over the past 20-plus years. He has extensive experience in nonprofit administration and program management, with an emphasis on work with youth and young adults. He served as a campus minister at Drexel University for seven years and has also worked at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia in a number of different capacities. Tim received his M.Div. from Drew Theological School in 2004 (with a focus on interfaith studies/world religions, urban ministry, and social activism), and his B.A. in English and Communication from the University of Michigan in 1994.