For two months every summer, between ten and twenty Fellows live cooperatively as one group - sharing rooms, cooking duties, video games, household chores, pizza runs, and everything else housemates do together. And with DC as the backdrop, there are endless places outside the MPSN house to explore together - from monuments and museums to lectures and coffee shops.
This diversity is deliberate. It encourages uncomfortable conversations to happen in a comfortable safe space - the MPSN house. Late nights at the MPSN house often include lively disagreements about the top issues of the day. Should Muslims work inside or outside the system? Pray behind an imam of a different sect? Work for or against affirmative action? Black Lives Matter or Kashmir? MLI? #metoo?
As they connect, our Fellows quickly realize that each one brings something unique to the group. Each MPSN class is diverse – representing different races and ethnicities, genders, Muslim sects, political parties, economic classes, college and university rankings, regions of the country and world, and styles of religiosity and Islamic practice.
Muslim history shows us that unity does not require uniformity. By working from - not against - our natural human diversity, MPSN Fellows end up respecting and appreciating even those with opposing beliefs and different life practices. That's why so many of our alumni describe their classmates as extended family. These relationships last a lifetime.
But, of course, we are more than our positions on the latest controversy. MPSN Fellows learn this in real time because there is nothing quite like living together to see the whole person. The roommate you were just arguing with last night ends up driving you to the airport at the crack of dawn. The housemate who was making everyone crazy with the prayer rules is also the one with the best Netflix collection. And everyone loved the inside access to the African American History Museum from the local DC Fellow.