“Igniting a Movement Down Under,” By Freeman Trebilcock

Posted on July 21st, 2010 | Filed under Best Practices/Non-Profit, InterViews, Video

Nivy is a Hindu. She loves Aussie rules football. And her goal is helping others.  When she was growing up in the Middle East, Nivy experienced firsthand how religious identity shaped the way people related to one another.

Recovering in the hospital after a serious accident, Nivy's background as an Indian Hindu all of a sudden became an issue, and had she not also been an Australian citizen it is likely her treatment would have been jeopardized. Now, years on, this experience of prejudice remains with her as a vivid memory. Nivy is a young person in an era of inter-religious conflict, and in understanding just what is at stake she is working to build global interfaith cooperation. She is part of a movement of religiously motivated young people who (although their individual stories are unique) share a common vision.

Nivy is just one of the young leaders helping to build InterAction, a multifaith youth network based here in Australia. InterAction has a mission of fostering mutually enriching relationships and respect for identity by engaging young people in common action for the common good. We are inspired youth from diverse cultural, spiritual & religious backgrounds, working together side-by-side to build a better world. Through collaborative service projects, InterAction links like-minded groups and individuals to make positive contributions to their local communities and humanity as a whole. By doing so, we aim to replace conflict and competition with cultures of co-operation and peace.

We subscribe to the model of action-focused interfaith engagement. Not everyone can be an expert in theology, but each person already is the expert of their own experience. In building inter-religious harmony, the doorway to dialogue is action.  By collaborating on service projects which tackle issues of common concern, we can truly come to recognize one another as allies and friends.  In this way, not only can people of different faiths share the one table, we can each enjoy our different dishes and come away feeling mutually nourished and enriched by the experience.

InterAction is interested in fanning the flames of a social movement. As Eboo Patel (founder of the Interfaith Youth Core) says, movements happen when people feel so inspired to hear the music playing that they go out and start their own band. We've started a band here in Melbourne, and we want to see others do the same – across the country, and beyond. Why?  Because the fact of diversity is not enough. We need to engage it towards positive ends.

The Parliament of World's Religions came to our city last December. Among the sea of people working for interfaith cooperation across the world, you might have missed us, but we were there. One afternoon, in room 210, Nivy got up and told her story. At her side were her friends; six young people from six different faiths with six different stories – all sharing a common vision. The feeling in the room was electric. Our band was playing. The interfaith youth movement had arrived Down Under.

14 Responses to ““Igniting a Movement Down Under,” By Freeman Trebilcock”

  1. Jem says:

    Congratulations, IA! You describe the movement so beautifully and passionately. Keep up the great work!

  2. George Armstrong says:

    Great work Freeman

  3. Cecilia Tan says:

    So proud to be Aussie! Sigh!

    • ned says:

      It is good to see a peaceful aproach to religious discussion but as true christianity is the only correct and Jesus Christ is the only way that mankind may be saved so i’d suggest the search for the church of jesus christ should be everyones goal. THe new world order and its friends all aim to worship satan.

  4. Very proud of my 2nd cuz, Freeman! He stands for something we all dream of; united peace inspired by love. across the globe. There’s always positive movement Down Under. ‘We are one and we are many’. With people like Freeman Trebilcock highlighting the importance of inter-faith acceptance and peace, ‘Oz’ world is blessed even more. His ‘Mumma Bear’ also makes a positive beautiful difference. Every single drop of love is a powerful contributing force toward building inter-religious harmony. What a cohesive wonderful world it would be, if everyone supported this ideal! It’s a choice worth making.

  5. Bambi Quigley says:

    Good one Free and the team this very positive approach to community building is so simple and logical; we can’t help but wonder why someone didn’t think of it before. perhaps this is the global village we keep hearing about but not actually know

  6. Gael Shannon says:

    That is beautifully written, and of course, based on absoluite pure humanity.
    You’re a gem,

  7. jamieson Lowe says:

    fills me with hope and inspiration. thank you Freeman and everyone working on this.

  8. Peggy says:


    Good work. There is lots of pain and suffering among poeple. Allowing people to come together to share is just wonderful. One of my favourite sayings is that we are all different and we are all the same. Where we are all the same is that we all have the core human values of wanting to be love, feel safe, and be happy. At that same time lots of us live in fear – fear of not eing good enough, fear of abandonment, etc etc. So if we come together to help ecah other that is just excellent. keep up the good work. If I cna help please let me know. I will be out of the country form August to October. May you be well and happy Peggy

  9. Carol McD says:

    Hey Freeman,

    I remember you on stage at PWR that was electric too!
    Nivy’s story of potential health exclusion isn’t here, is that part two of your article next time?

    It was great sharing the car of a busload of people from around the world for the pre parliament GreenFaith Australia sacred journey. – I have written that up.

    Hey! My card – and my work email – has my longterm work name on it: IntoAction.Aus

    I think I better abandon it for you! Much more important what you lot are doing.

    Carol McD

  10. Congratulations Freeman! Positively inspiring that the youth of the world are communicating and action-ing together and that you are bringing awareness to the world about it. Thank you for your efforts. Showers of Blessings & Love to you all. CarolineC

  11. Tenzin Tsepal says:

    It’s very inspiring work you’re doing, Freeman! And so necessary. Proud of you, brother! 🙂


  12. inspiring…heart-warming…and down to earth – may this project take wings and fly! Please keep writing as well – you’re a born communicator. With love and prayers from Alison in London