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, Imam Khalid Latif, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, and Yael Shy make up the Institute's leadership team, overseeing programs, events, and student engagement throughout the year.
Melissa Carter, Head of Mindfulness Education and Innovation. Mel Carter is the Head of Mindfulness Education and Innovation for New York University. After a decade long career as a music business executive in a number of roles including Hip Hop management to digital marketing and sales for the number one music company in the world, Mel embarked on a spiritual journey that inspired transformations in both her career and daily life. For the last ten years, Mel has served as a meditation teacher, holistic, wellness and intuitive lifestyle coach. While Miami served as home base for the last three years, her private practice brought her to 16 different countries to facilitate online group programs, workshops, and seminars focused on intuitive intelligence and mindfulness. Her work in Miami was devoted to serving as a mindfulness consultant for various companies, colleges and C+ executives to identify gaps and needs within those cultures to foster stronger mindfulness foundations, tools and leadership.
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.
Yael Shy, Esq., OM Co-Founding Director. Yael directs all operations and guides the vision for the Global Spiritual Life Office and the Of Many Institute, where she was one of the founding Directors. Yael is also the Founder and Director of the NASPA award-winning MindfulNYU at New York University. Yael has led meditation workshops, classes and retreats all over the country and the world, including at NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Berlin, NYU London, NYU Tel Aviv, Wisdom 2.0 Next Generation, Romemu, Pardes Institute, Hebrew Union College, Academie of Life in NYC and elsewhere. She teaches regularly at MindfulNYU and at the meditation studio, MNDFL, in Greenwich Village. She graduated with honors from New York University with a degree in Sociology and Gender Studies and from Northeastern University School of Law. Yael has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Women’s Health Magazine, the Huffington Post, Inquiring Minds, the Journal of Interreligious Studies, the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, the Clinical Social Work Journal, Sports Lawyers Journal and elsewhere.
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.