When Hanan Hashem enrolled at UM-Dearborn at just 15 years old, she realized something was missing from campus. Something important to her.
Determined to create a place to discuss interfaith ideas and topics, Hanan founded the Organization for Interfaith Coexistence, a student organization that represents many different faiths on campus and in the community.
“This appreciation for other’s religions and the inherent respect and understanding that goes in to interfaith is, to me, vital to helping make the world a better and more peaceful place,” Hanan explained.
As president, she built the organization from the ground up, creating programs and hosting events to foster dialogue and raise awareness. One year and over 30 members later, they have hosted more than 25 events.
She even organized the first interfaith retreat in summer 2012 where UM-Dearborn and high school students were invited to come together to participate in workshops, lectures and activities.
Jason Davis admires how optimistic Hanan is about the change she is creating.
“Little does she realize, she has already been an agent of change,” said Davis, assistant director of alumni relations. “She amazes staff and faculty, inspires the youth she interacts with, and is a role model to her peers.”
While Hanan embodies interfaith on campus, she is also passionate about psychology and hopes to one day become a professor at a four-year university.
“I want to be able to inspire students to thrive in the field and in conducting their own research.”
She plans to continue her own research as well.
“I hope to continue to conduct research on adolescent emotional growth and development, their ability to adapt to various social institutions, and how they, especially those in the American Muslim community, create and embrace their own religious identity.”