The Temple of Understanding (TOU) was founded in 1960 by Juliet Hollister. In its early years, the organization convened large “Spiritual Summits” in Calcutta (1968) and Geneva (1970) bringing together religious and spiritual leaders of diverse traditions to engage in dialogue and address problems of intolerance, injustice and religious persecution throughout history. This network was supported by a distinguished group of “Founding Friends” including Eleanor Roosevelt and H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama. TOU continues to promote constructive social change through expanded public discourse on religion and spirituality.
The Temple of Understanding (TOU) fosters a culture of peace through interfaith education.
Our programs address the new challenges of an interconnected global society by advancing an innovative model of interfaith education. The experiential approach of our work goes beyond a static “lecture hall” model to include site visits, service learning, and immersion experiences in many traditions and cultures. Our programs integrate religious literacy with cross-cultural understanding, conflict resolution, and youth leadership in training.
The Temple of Understanding Youth Council is a dynamic group of young leaders and activists connecting experiences with interfaith encounters to work for constructive social change. The Youth Council meets regularly and organizes events and projects including The “Gandhi, King, Chavez Season for Nonviolence” at the United Nations. This event addresses a different theme each year and draws more than 500 junior high and high school students from the tri-state area. Students learn more about nonviolence and ways to create peaceful local and global communities in history.