The Hilltop has a long-established record as a forum for dialogue between members of many different religious traditions. Between the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown has proven a qualified and appropriate place to have interfaith dialogue.
It comes as a welcome announcement then that Georgetown officials are in the midst of talks to create a new Interfaith Prayer Center on the Hilltop. These conversations follow widespread support among student groups and Campus Ministry officials for more on-campus spaces that foster interfaith dialogue and understanding.
The space would serve as a prayer center for students of all faith orientations, and would include several prayer rooms, a common gathering space and a kitchen. In constructing such a space, Georgetown would further prove its commitment to the ideal of interreligious understanding both in theory and in practice.
As beautiful an ambition as constructing a new prayer center is, it too has its potential obstacles. It is no secret Georgetown is experiencing an era of great growth and development, as evidenced by construction of the Thompson Athletics Center, Northeast Triangle Residence Hall and the recently opened Healey Family Student Center. Truly, Georgetown’s ambitions are taking shape to complement its established Jesuit foundation.
It is frustrating that a project like this may sit on the back burner while the university pursues more urgent construction endeavors to meet the requirements of the 2010 Campus Plan agreement. Hopefully, Georgetown will be able to continue pushing for projects, like an Interfaith Prayer Center, that reflect our character as a university, while complying with our day-to-day needs as an institution.