Sarah Talcott Blair

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Sarah joined the United Religions Initiative staff in 1999, and has been working in the field of interfaith cooperation and understanding for more than ten years. As the organization's first Youth Programs Director, she coordinates the URI Global Youth Network comprising more than 600 young people from 70 countries and other major initiatives of the Young Leaders Program. Sarah became involved in interfaith work in 1999 as an intern at URI while completing her degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology. She was compelled by the vision of a movement that would end religiously motivated violence by overcoming the misunderstandings between religions, and she has been working in the field ever since. For the past five years, Sarah has focused her attention on young people ages 14-30 to engage and empower their leadership in fulfilling this mission. Toward this end, she has organized and facilitated youth exchanges, leadership seminars and community service projects among youth from many different religious and cultural backgrounds, in Australia, Brazil, Cyprus, India, Spain, UK, and the US. The purpose of these programs are to help young people overcome barriers between them fueled by stereotypes and misinformation about “the other”, and to support their leadership in organizing service-oriented projects of their own that strengthen civil society and social integration.  Recently, through the URI Young Leaders Program, Sarah launched a Youth Ambassadors Program to train selected young people in regions around the world in interfaith dialogue, non-violent education and interfaith peacebuilding. She coordinates this work with the URI Young Leaders Steering Committee comprised of young people in eight countries. To find out more, please visit: www.uri.org/action_areas/youth Sarah also coordinates the URI Global Youth Cooperation Circle which currently comprises more than 500 young people from 68 countries who are sharing their experiences and engaging with one another through online social networks across boundaries of geography, religious identity and cultural difference. For more information, or to get involved, please go to: http://www.uri.org/action_areas/youth/uri_global_youth_cc.  Originally a San Francisco native, Sarah lived in Cyprus for three years where she organized programs for young people from Europe and the Middle East. She also served as the first Interfaith Education Officer at the University of Surrey, UK. She is recently married and lives in Walnut Creek, California with her loving husband.

URI Stories

Interfaith Actions for the Environment

Read the transcript from our Young Leaders' live chat about interfaith actions for the environment, held on Sunday, July 25th at 14:00 GMT. Themes explored included the importance of caring for creation as expressed in many religious and spiritual traditions, dominion vs. stewardship, sacred practices that get us in touch with the Earth, practical steps on how to make your home and community more eco-friendly, and inspiring examples of interfaith cooperation around the environment in the Middle East. Guest speakers included Karin Kloosterman from www.greenprophet.com and Elyse Ryder from Greenfaith Australia, both URI Cooperation Circles.

The Importance of Interfaith Service

Read the transcript of our Young Leaders' Live Chat on the topic of Interfaith Service which took place on June 27th during the URI's 10th Anniversary Celebration of Service. Youth from Pakistan, Malaysia, the Philippines and the US shared about the importance of service in their different religious traditions, interfaith service projects they are involved in, and ideas for building a collective global movement around interfaith service - common action for the common good.

Tools for Building Peace Among Religions

Our latest live chat for young leaders featured guest speaker, Vanessa Gomez Brake, from Pace e Bene, an organization dedicated to transforming lives and the world througn nonviolence education, resources and action. Read on to learn more about resources for peacebuilding and nonviolence that were shared, and for ways to engage in peacebuilding work that were discussed by leaders from URI's global youth network.

URI Voice of Youth July 2010

In this newsletter, read updates about the creation of an Abrahamic Youth Alliance by one of our Youth Ambassadors, youth participation in an interfaith conference in Ammerdown, updates on the Nepali Rose Movement, Indigenous youth contributions at the URI Latin American Regional Assembly in Argentina, and more news from Ambassadors from Germany, Australia and Pakistan.