What do you get when you take a group of French students consisting of a Muslim, Jew, Christian, Agnostic, and an Atheist? The answer may not have a punch line, but something better: you get a group of young representatives of one of URI’s most well-traveled Cooperation Circles, Coexister. Every year, Coexister sends four French youth, each representing a different religious tradition, around the world to learn from other cultures and bring their insights back home.
Coexister is a youth-led organization located in Paris, France. Coexister focuses on promoting interfaith cooperation “through dialogue, solidarity, education, awareness, and travel to enhance social cohesion.” On each international tour, the four young travelers visit different holy sites, talk with people who belong to different cultures and follow different traditions, and collect information about interfaith initiatives worldwide. When they return to France, they invite others to share their insights through videos, pictures, and conferences.
Along the way, tour members take advantage of the worldwide URI network to connect with hosts in cities along their route. In 2016, tour members visited several URI Cooperation Circles in Brazil, learning from each other, sharing stories, and strengthening URI’s international network at each stop. This is a beautiful example of the connectivity that URI provides.