The task of addressing global societal, economic, and environmental issues from the perspective of one university campus in any part of the world seems a daunting exercise in futility. But when multifaith voices from around the world gather to talk about the common challenges facing students and institutions of higher education, the planet becomes a smaller, more manageable place.

The Rev. Dr. Lucy A. Forster-Smith, Harvard University’s Sedgwick Chaplain and Senior Minister in the Memorial Church, recently attended an international conference of college and university chaplains in Bendigo, Australia. The five-day event focused on the life and challenges of campus chaplaincy.

Forster-Smith recently spoke with Memorial Church communications about the conference.

Memorial Church: The theme of the conference was “Digging, Dialogue, and Diversity.” What was the focus of discussions this year?

Forster-Smith: The conference took place at La Trobe University in Bendigo, Australia. It was an old gold mining town, established in the 1880s as a place where people came to dig for gold. But in reality, it was a conference looking at multi-faith engagement on campuses across the globe. So the notion of this conference (held every four years) was to try to understand how we can best serve universities in their diversity.

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