Keeping Faith: Indian Religions in the United States

A man makes wudu (ablution) to purify his body and mind before prayer at the Islamic Society of Boston's Cultural Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts.Photograph by Yusuke Suzuki. Courtesy of The Pluralism Project.
A man makes wudu (ablution) to purify his body and mind before prayer at the Islamic Society of Boston's Cultural Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Photograph by Yusuke Suzuki. Courtesy of The Pluralism Project.

Meridian International Center held an open call for submissions for an exhibition on Indian faiths and religious traditions in the United States. Funded by U.S. Embassy New Delhi and implemented by Meridian International Center, this project is designed to capture the diversity of the Indian American community and represent the broad range of religious traditions celebrated by various Indian faiths.


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About the Project

Meridian International Center (Meridian) has partnered with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi (India) to create an exhibition celebrating the diversity and pluralism of our vibrant democracies. The presentation illustrates how Indian Americans practice their faith traditions – such as Diwali, the Eids, Guru Nanak’s birthday, Holi, etc. – in the United States, and how Indian faith traditions have been adopted by American communities.

This exhibition will travel across India beginning in 2017. It is intended to spark dialogue between individuals and leaders from the civic, academic, business, faith, and government sectors. The exhibition aims to encourage conversations about diversity and religious tolerance across Indian communities.

Project Goals

    1. Capture the diversity of the Indian American community and represent the broad range of religious traditions celebrated by various Indian faiths
    2. Demonstrate how Indian traditions have been adopted and are practiced by a multicultural population in the United States
    3. Spark a conversation among Indian leaders and community members about diversity and religious tolerance

Organizing Institution and Partners

Founded in 1960, Meridian International Center is a non-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to promoting international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas, and the arts. The Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy (MCCD) designs and develops cultural exhibitions, exchanges, and related programming. Meridian works with the U.S. government, embassies, museums, and artists worldwide. For more information about MCCD, please visit meridian.org/mccd.

Dr. Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, will be a co-curator for this exhibition. Her academic work has a dual focus—India and the United States—and in both cases she is interested in religious pluralism in a multi-religious society. She also founded The Pluralism Project, which includes a network of some 60 affiliates exploring such topics as the growth of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, and Zoroastrian communities in the United States. For more information about Dr. Eck and her work, please visit scholar.harvard.edu/dianaeck. To learn more about The Pluralism Project, please visit pluralism.org.

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions in the world. Diplomatic ties with India were established in 1947 after India gained independence. The U.S.-India bilateral relationship is based on five pillars: strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economics, trade, and agriculture; science and technology, health, and innovation. Richard R. Verma is the 25th U.S. Ambassador to India. For more information about the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, please visit newdelhi.usembassy.gov.

Project summary

Keeping Faith: Indian Religions in the United States
Regions: South and Central Asia, Western Hemisphere
Countries: India, United States
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Culture
Partners: Diplomatic Corps, Individuals/Donors, Public Sector