Journal of Contemplative Inquiry


The political climate and discourse during the 2016 presidential campaign was divisive and unwelcoming of refugees, immigrants, Muslims, and other religious minorities. This toxic atmosphere was reflected on college and university campuses throughout the country. At Westfield State University, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim students were the targets of verbal attacks, prejudice, and disrespect. The Muslim students, in particular, were afraid to walk around campus and attend their classes. The Interfaith Chaplains Council, along with the Interfaith Advisory Council comprised of faculty, staff, and students, met to discuss the current concerns of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim students, and collaborated to create a listening event based on the World Café model. This article addresses listening as a contemplative practice for building just communities and shares the process that went into the creation of the “Interfaith Dialogue: The Art of Listening” event, as well as participants’ responses to the event.