When Doaa Baumi arrived on Hartford Seminary’s campus in Connecticut to study interfaith dialogue, she was asked to live with a Roman Catholic roommate. Baumi, an Egyptian Muslim, had eagerly soaked up information about Judaism and Christianity while studying religion as an undergrad at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, one of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious schools. But this was the first time she had ever shared a living space with an a Catholic -- nevermind an American. And, she admits, she came into the situation with stereotypes in her mind. The response she got from the roommate surprised her -- and set the tone for her year at Hartford Seminary. “She asked me to wake her up as well, so that we could pray together,” Baumi recalled. “So we tried to wake up together. I prayed and she prayed. And it was awesome.”
Hartford is unique among American seminaries because it offers classes taught by full-time Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faculty. The school puts an emphasis on creating spaces for students of different faith backgrounds to interact.