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ALONG THE SHORELINE: COMMUNITIES OF THE GREAT LAKES

Destination Overview


The Great Lakes region attracts far less attention from curious travelers and outdoors enthusiasts than warranted for its rich cultural capital, diversity, and dramatic landscape. Arab American communities are robust in the Detroit metropolitan area and still thriving churches grew out of a significant Dutch migration to the area. The shorelines are thick with sand dunes, and residents are excited to share their perspective.


Tour Summary

  • Explore religious diversity around the Great Lakes states. Trace the history of Islam in the Detroit Metropolitan area of Michigan.
  • Visit the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America, dedicated to the support of Islam, and learn how the area became home to the largest population of Arab Americans in the United States.
  • Attend a cultural performance at the Dearborn Performing Arts Center, followed by dinner and discussion in a local home.
  • Sit down with a priest from the Archdiocese of Detroit and learn about the issues facing the Catholic church today. Meet with a panel of young adults from different religious backgrounds and discuss the role of religion in youth today, the discrepancies between religion and main-stream political issues, and the growing trend towards secularization among young adults today.
  • Travel across the state, to the “mini Bible Belt” of west Michigan and examine the roots of the region’s Dutch heritage on conservatism in religion and politics.
  • Trace the growth of protestant Christianity from small, traditional community churches to modern mega-churches.
  • Hike the dunes along the coast of Lake Michigan and spend some time for leisure and reflection on some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.
  • Continue to Chicago, the 5th largest Jewish community in the U.S. today. Visit a Jewish community center and hear stories of cultural and religious identity from different generations of Jews in the city.
  • Volunteer with an organization dedicated to combating poverty, racism, and antisemitism in partnership with diverse communities.
  • Visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, home of the largest Jewish population in suburban Chicago.
  • Meet with an organization dedicated to empowering young Israelis and Palestinians to become leaders who promote peace, acceptance, and change.

    Relevant themes include diversity studies, social justice, civil rights history, social reconstruction, liberation theology, humanitarian studies, American history, religion, theology, religious history, sociology, anthropology, humanities, family studies, social work, peace and conflict resolution studies.

 

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