SCSU at national summit

Monday, September 22, 2014

A delegation, headed by President Earl H. Potter III and graduate student Walid Issa '13, is participating in the Sept. 22-23 President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Issa will give a five-minute presentation during a discussion panel that includes a former ambassador to the Netherlands and a senior advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

Among his remarks, Issa is expected to call for a focus on the challenges that unite Palestinians and Israelis instead of belaboring the problems that divide them.

An Arab Palestinian from Bethehem, by way of the Deheishe Refugee Camp, Issa is an economics graduate student and a graduate assistant in the School of Public Affairs Research Institute (SOPARI). He is an alumnus of New Story Leadership, a Washington non-profit that trains emerging Palestinian and Israeli leaders, and a founder of of Shades Negotiation Program.

He argues single-perspective movements are not a model for change. He and like-minded colleagues champion change that lifts everyone, he said.

"The only way to honor the past is to create a hopeful future," Issa said.

The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which involves leaders at more than 400 colleges, universities and professional schools, asks people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds to tackle community challenges together.

President Barack Obama launched the interfaith service challenge with an April 2011 letter to college presidents.

"In America, our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. I have always believed that when people of different backgrounds and beliefs come together in the service of humanity, our Nation grows stronger as a result," Obama said in the letter.

Also in the St. Cloud State delegation are:

  • Wanda Overland, vice president of student life and development
  • King Banaian, economics professor and director of SOPARI
  • Marla Kanengieter-Wildeson, communication studies professor
  • Cynthia Fitzthum, instructor, Department of Geography and Planning
  • Beth Knutson-Kolodzne, associate director of campus involvement 


University Communications
St. Cloud State University