Jews and Muslims Striving for Change

The annual Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship takes Jewish and Muslim social entrepreneurs from the US, UK and France trying to bridge the cultural divide between these two faiths. CBSNews.com's Heba Kanso examines the fellows' experiences throughout their two-week program held at Columbia University Business School in New York City.

The conflict between Jews and Muslims makes headlines all too often. A unique program held at Columbia University Business School in New York City helps bridge these two faiths through cross-cultural dialog. The annual Ariane de Rothschild (ADR) Fellowship takes Jewish and Muslim social entrepreneurs from the US, UK and France who want to improve their local business and help relations between these religions.


"We found that a lot of work has been done around issues of dialog interfaith, but not necessarily what we feel are sustainable results," says Firoz Ladak Executive Director of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation.

The ADR Fellowship works to build a foundation for long-lasting results by educating their fellows through lessons in history, politics and business delivered by professors from Columbia and Cambridge University.

"What has been wonderful about this program is that they haven't lectured you in so much detail that you feel buried. They have just given you those seeds of inspiration to go away and think about it and make up your mind," said ADR fellow Naz Kozer, who is a Muslim from the UK.

By the end of the two-week program the ADR fellows will have developed a sustainable business model that they can apply to their own organizations in trying to help Jewish and Muslim relations.

Koser, the founding Director of Ulfah Arts & Media, works with youth groups, arts organizations, and media producers to develop and deliver arts and media projects, which are used as a tool for empowerment.

Koser believes the knowledge gained from the ADR Fellowship will help her challenge negative stereotypes concerning these two faiths and convey peace and empowerment through her media projects.

"Jews and Muslims won't make peace today, but through the ADR program and through entrepreneurship we can build on the knowledge we get through joint ventures and through projects based on social entrepreneurship," said ADR fellow Johan Weisz, a French Jew who is the managing editor of Streetpress.com.

"That gap between so called conflicting communities, Jews and Muslims, can be addressed in ways that go beyond what is obviously the core element of conflict right now which is the Middle East," Ladak said. "It is not about ignoring the white elephant in the room, but going beyond it."