About the Institute
The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership is a program in NYU's Division of Student Affairs, under the umbrella of Global Spiritual Life at NYU. Inspired by tremendous student interest, the Institute was officially launched in January of 2012 by co-founders Chelsea Clinton, Khalid Latif, Linda Mills and Yehuda Sarna.
The Of Many Institute concentrates on cultivating cross-cultural leadership experiences, with a focus on students who seek to develop a multifaith space that ensures harmonious relationships on campus. Students engaged in this multifaith effort have been inspired by NYU's chaplains, faculty, and staff, who together lead a movement across faiths that makes NYU unique among universities today. Activities include service learning trips, training sessions, and workshops on campus. NYU students created a Multifaith Student Advisory Council that supports Of Many's co-curricular events and student-initiated dialogues, such as Shabbat-Jummah Prayer, yearly conferences, and more.
Our Principles for Multifaith Engagement
- Reflect diversity, accounting for the complex and intersectional identities of our constituents.
- Rooted in face-to-face encounters and deep relationship-building within and between communities and/or individuals.
- Committed to social transformation and civic engagement (i.e. multifaith issue-based solutions to social problems such as poverty, prison industrial complex, human trafficking).
- Focused on introspection and meaning-making as a way of understanding spirituality.
- Inclusive of and attentive to personal narratives through intentional storytelling pedagogy, not just representative of religious creed.
- Supportive of the integration of the whole student experience throughout their academic and co-curricular development.
- Supportive of coursework that promotes multifaith leadership.
Melissa Carter, Chelsea Garbell, Imam Khalid Latif, and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna make up the Institute's leadership team, overseeing programs, events, and student engagement throughout the year.
Melissa Carter, Senior Director of Global Spiritual Life and Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming. Melissa Carter is the Senior Director for Global Spiritual Life at New York University and is the Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming for MindfulNYU. In 2019, Melissa launched MindfulNYU internationally, expanding its reach to become the largest campus-wide global mindfulness initiative. Melissa’s career began in the hip-hop music business at Violator management. From there she became a digital sales and marketing executive at both Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. After a decade in the industry, Melissa embarked on a spiritual journey that inspired transformations in both her career and daily life. Melissa serves as a meditation teacher, reiki master, intuitive coach and wellness consultant. Over the last ten years, Melissa has traveled to 15 different countries to present and lead workshops on the intersection of spirituality, social justice and mindfulness, and their interconnectedness with belonging, self-care, intuitive and emotional intelligence, and understand the microcosm of their impact on one’s suffering & liberation. As a spiritual thought leader, Melissa takes a holistic approach to problem solving. She has a drive to understand how systems work and how they can function more efficiently using mindfulness and grassroots practices. Melissa holds an MBA in Media Management from the Metropolitan College of New York and has an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from the University of South Florida. She is an Adjunct Professor for the Silver School of Social Work and is the New York Trauma-Informed facilitator for Connection Coalition. She is a Mama Glow-trained doula. Melissa has been featured in Good Housekeeping magazine and Billboard magazine's "Top 30 Under 30 Executives" as well as various mindfulness blogs and podcasts, including The Naked Podcast, The Trailblazer Podcast and The Financial Diet.
Chelsea Garbell, Associate Director, Global Spiritual Life. Chelsea Garbell is the Associate Director for Global Spiritual Life at NYU, and lectures on religion, gender, and peacebuilding. She has previously held positions at the Bronfman Center at NYU, the New York Southeast Asia Network, the Asia Society Policy Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Religion and Foreign Policy Program, and spent a year teaching English in Samut Sakhon, Thailand. Chelsea has over a decade of experience in interfaith activism, and today co-chairs a chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and is involved in the alumni community of Interfaith Youth Core. She is a member of the Spark Leadership Council at the Global Fund for Women and sits on the board of KAHAL: Your Jewish Home Abroad. Her writing has been featured in USA Today, the Diplomat, Religion Dispatches, Tablet Magazine, the Times of Israel, and MyJewishLearning.com. Chelsea holds a BSc in Communication and an MPA in international policy and management from New York University.
Imam Khalid Latif, Muslim Chaplain, OM Co-Founder, Senior Fellow. After attending NYU as an undergraduate student and serving as the president of the Islamic Center student organization on campus, Khalid Latif began to serve as Muslim chaplain to both NYU and the New York City Police Department. At NYU, Imam Latif began to conduct multifaith work with Rabbi Yehuda Sarna. Inspired by the thousands of students in religious services at NYU, Imam Latif was seeking to create an opportunity to work across faiths. Imam Latif, working closely with Rabbi Sarna, Chelsea Clinton, and Linda Mills, founded OM in response to NYU students who sought opportunities to cross faith boundaries. As an adjunct faculty member of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Imam Latif and Rabbi Sarna now co-teach a course at NYU titled, Multifaith Leadership in the 21st Century, a course that is offered in the Minor in Multifaith and Spiritual Leadership.
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Jewish Chaplain, OM Co-Founder, Senior Fellow. Rabbi Yehuda Sarna has been the Skirball Executive Director of NYU’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life since 2012. He has been deeply involved in multifaith work for his entire tenure at NYU. Joining the University in the wake of the September 11th attacks, Rabbi Sarna – collaborating with Imam Latif – has worked to ensure that the tenor of Jewish-Muslim dialogue on campus remains peaceful and supportive. Inspired by the thousands of Jewish students at NYU, Rabbi Sarna helped create a pathway for multifaith activities through Of Many, as one of its co-founders. As an adjunct faculty member at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Rabbi Sarna now co-teaches a course with Imam Latif titled, “Multifaith Leadership in the 21st Century,” a course that is offered in the Minor in Multifaith and Spiritual Leadership.
Chelsea Clinton, OM Co-Founder, Co-Chair, Advisory Board. Chelsea, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, works alongside her parents, President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, to drive the vision and work of the Clinton Foundation. Chelsea previously worked at McKinsey & Company and Avenue Capital. Chelsea serves on the boards of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the School of American Ballet, the Africa Center and the Weill Cornell Medical College. Chelsea holds a B.A. from Stanford, a MPhil from Oxford, a MPH from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and a Doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University. She, her husband Marc and their daughter Charlotte live in New York City.
Dr. Linda Mills, OM Co-Founder, Co-Chair, Advisory Board, Lisa Ellen Goldberg Professor. In 2010, Linda, working closely with Chelsea Clinton, Imam Latif and Rabbi Sarna, helped create a space for this student-led initiative through the development of an Institute called Of Many, located in the Division of Student Affairs. As a faculty member and Senior Vice Provost at the time, with oversight for student life at NYU, Linda, working closely with Chelsea, was supportive of students committed to developing multi-faith curricular and co-curricular programming; this pressing need was the catalyst for the creation of OM. Linda is also the Director of the film, Of Many, an official selection for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.