OUR MISSION

The Philos Project is a dynamic leadership community dedicated to promoting positive Christian engagement in the Middle East. This community is centered on a growing network of city-based chapters located in North America and around the world.

Philos equips a new generation of Western Christians to support friends in the region who share our vision for pluralism. We offer educational resources, immersive travel programs, and networking and advocacy opportunities that help Christian leaders understand and engage with important Middle East issues and support innovative projects that help advance liberty and justice on the ground.

THE STORY OF PHILOS

Philos Project founder and Executive Director Robert Nicholson recounts the journey that lead to the creation of the organization, why it exists today and how Philos plays an important part in the conversation about the Middle East. 

LEARN MORE

Check out our Youtube channel for more informative videos on our programs, trips, initiatives, fellows, events and more! 

What is The Philos Project?
The Philos Project is a dynamic leadership community dedicated to promoting positive Christian engagement in the Middle East. This community is centered on a growing network of city-based chapters located in North America and around the world.
What does Philos actually do?
Philos offers educational resources, immersive travel programs, and networking and advocacy opportunities that help Christian leaders understand and engage with important Middle East issues. We also support innovative projects that help advance liberty and justice on the ground.
What is “positive Christian engagement”?
Positive Christian engagement is learned, principled, practical, relational, and action-oriented activity that defends human life, human thought, and human diversity.
In a word, what is the Philos worldview?
Pluralism.
What is the Philos vision?
A Middle East based on freedom and rule of law where nations, tribes, and religious communities live beside each other as neighbors.
What kind of Christianity does Philos espouse?
Philos is a non-sectarian organization whose board, staff, and members belong to various Christian churches and hold to various schools of theological interpretation within the realm of Nicene orthodoxy.
What is your position on the gospel?
The gospel “is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) We insist upon the right of all people to embrace, pursue, and discuss the gospel in every country, basing that right on the dictates of our faith and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
What kind of political views does Philos hold?
Philos is a non-partisan organization.
What is your position on the State of Israel?
We believe that the Jewish nation is an indigenous nation of the Middle East with a right to live in its ancient homeland. We believe that the State of Israel is a legitimate expression of Jewish nationhood. We also believe that Israel has the right to defend itself, as well as the obligation to protect its citizens regardless of race, creed, or color. Our support for Israel’s legitimacy does not imply support for any particular party, ministry, legislative or executive action, or public statement issued by any government official. Israel is a state and should be held to the same standards as any other state.
What are your theological views about the Jewish people and the State of Israel?
The Jewish people played a special role in the history of Christianity, and therefore deserve a special place in the Christian conversation about the Middle East. With regard to precise theological views of the Jewish people and their relationship to the church, Philos takes no official position. Some of our members have deep theological views about the Jews; others have none at all. We seek only a more thoughtful and respectful conversation on the topic.
What is your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Our position begins from principles, not paradigms. We support Jewish security and self-determination in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea; we also support Palestinian security and self- determination in the same area. Broadly, then, we support some variant of the two-state solution – ideally a Jewish state with a Palestinian minority and a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority – although we are open to new approaches that recognize both Jewish and Palestinian rights, including innovative ideas about confederation. We adamantly oppose those who deny the connection of Jews or Palestinians to the land, or who call for violence against the other. Both the Jewish state and the Palestinian state should be democratic and pluralistic.
What is your position on Christians of the Middle East?
We affirm the right of all Christians to live and flourish as indigenous citizens of the Middle East. Given the long history of discrimination and persecution, we believe that Middle Eastern Christians deserve unique protections – even affirmative action – in order to preserve their language, culture, and religious practices. We call upon all Middle Eastern states to embrace Christians as equal members of society, not second-class citizens. We also call upon Western states and non-state actors to steward their resources and influence in a way that advances the best interests of Middle Eastern Christians in their ancient homelands.
What is your position on Muslims?
We make a distinction between Muslims and Islam. Muslims are human beings made in the image of God who merit the same dignity and respect accorded to all human beings. Islam is a world religion, even a world civilization, with views about faith and politics that diverge from Christian views at key points. As Christians we recognize commonalities between our two religions: a shared patriarch in Abraham, a commitment to monotheism, and a joint affirmation of traditional values. We also recognize a tremendous range of opinion within the Muslim world. As Christians, however, we reject the central truth claim of Islam – that God superseded prior revelations by giving one final revelation to Muhammad in the Qur’an – and disagree with those schools of Islamic interpretation that reject pluralism, denigrate non-Muslims, or seek to impose Islamic doctrine through violence. We respect and affirm the right of Muslims to practice their faith freely. But we respect a religion only until it forces itself on those who don't believe. We seek to build lasting friendships with those Muslims who share a commitment to pluralism and endorse the right of Jews and Christians to live as equals in the modern Middle East.

WORK AT THE PHILOS PROJECT!

SPRING SEMESTER INTERNSHIPS

The Philos Project Internship Program is a competitive, paid, part-time or full-time program for young pre-professionals interested in the Middle East, advocacy and research. Philos Project interns are provided unique networking, training, educational and professional development opportunities while working out of our NYC-based office. All applications are due by December 16, 2019. The internship will begin on January 13, 2020.

 

Communications Internship: 

  • Aids in creating content for and maintaining social media & marketing platforms, website and more 
  • Assists in creating marketing & social media strategies 
  • Assists with office administrative tasks and event planning and execution 

Applicants should be pursuing a degree in a Communications and/or Research field. Please include a resume, portfolio and writing sample in your application. 

 

 

Leadership Development Internship: 

  • Assists the Leadership Development Director 
  • Aids with chapter events and trip planning 
  • Assists in the organization of programs that engage Philos leaders
  • Aids in data input (including Salesforce)

Please include a resume in your application.

 

LEADERSHIP NETWORK DIRECTOR

 

The Philos Project is looking for an experienced Leadership Network Director to manage and execute the programs that engage and organize the leaders, partners, and alumni in our network. This position requires an experienced and skilled manager with significant knowledge and expertise in program strategy, event planning, outreach coordination, and CRM software (particularly Salesforce Enterprise). He/she should be a strong staff manager, mentor, strategic thinker and effective collaborator in order to fully leverage Philos' expertise in leadership programming. 

Requirements: 

-3-5 years proven experience as Leadership Network Director or equivalent position

-Passion for leadership engagement/development

-Outstanding written and oral communication skills

-Demonstrated abilities in relationship management, partnership building, and coalition leadership

-Meaningful work experience with nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and/or multilateral agencies

-Project management skills

-Working knowledge of Middle Eastern history, politics, and culture

-Working knowledge understanding of Christian doctrine and institutions

-Ability to travel domestically and internationally as needed

-Experience with Mailchimp, Salesforce, Eventbrite, SurveyMonkey

-Undergraduate degree in relevant field; graduate degree a plus

-Language proficiency beyond English a plus

 

 

Responsibilities: 

-Work with the ED, DD, and OD to set network goals and create projects that promote Philos' mission forpositive Christian engagement in the Middle East

-Develop, monitor, and manage the Network team’s annual operating plan and budget in collaborationwith the ED, DD, and OD

-Manage all aspects of the Network team’s including budget, planning, and staffing

-Participate in conferences, partner events, and trips as needed

-Take the lead in planning our annual Nexus conference

-Network and connect with organizational partners in the space

-Oversee the development of programs that engage the members of the network

-Communicates new programs, initiatives, and campaigns to the network

-Manage and overseeing the AAL, Hispanic, and Young Leaders network directors

 

PART-TIME GRAPHIC DESIGNER

 

The Philos Project is looking for an experienced freelance and/or part-time graphic designer to create collateral that represents the mission of the Philos Project. This position requires an experienced designer with proven skills in Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Suite, HTML and CSS. He/she should be a strong communicator, responsive with quick-turnaround, responsible, and excellent at time management and deadline fulfillment. 

 

Requirements:

 -3-5 years of experience in graphic design

-Knowledge of layouts, graphic fundamentals, typography, print, and the web-Familiarity with HTML and CSS preferred-Knowledge of Adobe PhotoShop, Illustrator, Sketch, InDesign, and other graphic design software

-Compelling portfolio of work over a wide range of creative projects

-Strong analytical skills

-Excellent eye for detail

-Understanding of Christian doctrine and institutional landscape. 

 

Responsibilities: 

-Create and design various materials for print and digital collateral-Ensure projects are completed with high quality and on schedule

-Establish creative direction for the company as well as brand guidelines

-Prioritize and manage multiple projects within design specifications and budget restrictions

-Perform retouching and manipulation of images

-Work with a wide range of media and use graphic design software 

 

"No one takes on the hard questions like Philos. Traveling with them in the Middle East, I saw firsthand how they navigate the complex border between religion and politics and maintain relationships with real people on all sides of the issues. This is what constructive Christian engagement in the region should look like."

Walter Russell Mead

Ravenel B. Curry III Distinguished Fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship at the Hudson Institute

"Philos is one of the most exciting, dynamic organizations working on religious pluralism in the Middle East. This isn't your grandmother's interfaith dialogue. Philos starts from the premise that religions are different and that pluralism and deep understanding come not from from papering over those differences but acknowledging and understanding them on their own terms... If you're looking for rich and challenging conversations about religion and politics in modern life, Philos should probably be at the top of your list... This isn't where you come to feel good about peace and love and unity. This is where you learn about the hard but necessary working of living and thriving with difference. That's after all what any true pluralism is about." 

Shadi Hamid

Senior Fellow | Brookings Institution

“Philos excels at cutting through the noise and confusion to expose the fundamental issues that make the Middle East so challenging, frustrating, and captivating for people in and outside the region. There is no other organization that presents the Middle East's diversity and its complex interplay between religion, society, and politics in the way that Philos does.”

Mike Watson 

Research Associate | Hudson Institute

"The trip I took to Israel with Philos was one of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve ever enjoyed as a reporter. The depth and richness of our encounters with people from across the politicaland religious spectrum has given me an entirely new appreciation of the complexities of Israel/Palestine, and food for thought that I will be chewing over for many years to come."

Megan McArdle

Columnist | The Washington Post

"In my thirty years as a journalist, my travel experience with Philos was beyond doubt the best one I've ever had. I got to meet people from every corner of Israeli society: a Haredi rabbi, Palestinian refugees, West Bank settlers, Druze and Christian minorities, young Kibbutzniks nonchalantly looking on as a bomb exploded on the Syrian side of the border. In the process I was forced to rethink many of my beliefs about liberalism, nationalism, tribalism and the politics of identity that are transforming the world. Israel is a laboratory where the basic components of modernity are being remixed in exciting, unpredictable, thought-provoking, sometimes worrying ways. Thank you for showing me around."

Adrian Wooldridge

Political Editor | The Economist

"The Philos study tour opened my eyes to new dimensions of the land, state, and people of Israel. The balanced yet provocative content and open-minded approach is exactly what’s missing from American discussions of the region."

Samuel Goldman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Political Science | George Washington University

“Philos packed more educational punch into a single week than I thought possible, introducing us to an extraordinary range of viewpoints and religious and cultural identities. I didn't leave with any definitive answers or strong opinions, except this one: Accommodating pluralism, in the West as well as the Middle East, is going to be a perpetual challenge with no easy solutions.”

Jason Willick

Assistant Editorial Features Editor | The Wall Street Journal

"The Philos Project’s Israel trip for Catholic leaders provided a vital and unique opportunity to learn about the peoples of Israel and Palestine, to consider contemporary political, religious and cultural questions, and to reflect upon the history and the continued life of the region.
 
The trip was further enriched because its participants included so many U.S. Catholics who are deeply engaged in the life of their country.
 
As a working journalist, I particularly appreciated the broad spectrum of experts and commentators assembled through Philos and the opportunity to engage with Israelis and Palestinians on a personal level. The visit provided particular clarity about Jewish-Christian relations, the contemporary experiences of the Jewish people, the cultural richness of Jerusalem, the geography of Israel and the security situation in the country."

Kevin J. Jones

Senior Staff Writer | Catholic News Agency / EWTN News

"I attended the Philos Leaders Conference in December, 2017. I was very much impressed with the Philos Project, with the staff, and with all the alums of the program. As a native Israeli, I felt like Philos has a very even-handed, direct analysis of the Middle East and the problems plaguing the region. What most impressed me was a group exercise in which each of our groups had around an hour to brainstorm solutions for the endemic political problems in the region. It was a real challenge, and I feel that it gave us an idea of the real stress and short deadlines policymakers usually have to face when dealing with these issues. Overall, it was a great experience, and I would highly recommend it to any Christians who have an interest in Israel specifically, or in the Middle East in general."  

Elad Vaida

Harvard University '16 | Middle Eastern Studies 

“Nothing compares to being on the ground and meeting people. The experiences set up by Philos didn’t transform my assumptions  but it transformed the way I understand those assumptions: the trip deepened them, it added texture to them, and made it more intimate than it was before."

Joseph Capizzi

Professor of Moral Theology and Executive Director of the Institute for Human Ecology | Catholic University of America.

“It is great to know that organizations such as Philos Project exist, because they teach about the reality and actual context of the Middle East."

Pastor David Herrera

President | Asocaciòn de Ex Becarios de Israel Shalom

"I’m very thankful for The Philos Project for hosting this Catholic Leadership Trip and to the benefactors and supporters who helped bring this vision to life. The trip helped me to more fully understand the situations here in the Middle East like in Israel in such a personal way, one that highlights the important history of the religious sites and the geo-political climate that exists in a land steeped in such ancient times. The Holy Land is truly place for everyone, and I am very happy to have walked where The Holy Family themselves walked. I am deeply thankful for this tripand will continue to keep both The Philos Project and its benefactors in my prayers."

James Ramos

Staff writer | Catholic News Service

“I read and follow news about the Middle East and religious minorities much more closely now. I have a group of friends now with that shared experience who I stay in touch with, and we support each other and our career goals. I am planning to go back to Israel next year with my graduate program and I plan to introduce them to a lot of the ideas and controversies we explored in Philos. I have become more attuned to how religious minorities shape the region, and how protecting their rights is both difficult and of utmost importance. And lastly, I plan to work in macroeconomic development and foreign policy, and this trip directly fueled my interest and opened my worldview to the complexity of the region.”

Alex Entz

Public Interest Fellow 

“I read and follow news about the Middle East and religious minorities much more closely now. I have a group of friends now with that shared experience who I stay in touch with, and we support each other and our career goals. I am planning to go back to Israel next year with my graduate program and I plan to introduce them to a lot of the ideas and controversies we explored in Philos. I have become more attuned to how religious minorities shape the region, and how protecting their rights is both difficult and of utmost importance. And lastly, I plan to work in macroeconomic development and foreign policy, and this trip directly fueled my interest and opened my worldview to the complexity of the region.”

Alex Entz

Public Interest Fellow | Philos Leadership Institute '18

"We met with Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian leaders, religious and secular Jews, Israeli settlers and Palestinian refugees, pollsters, military officers, water engineers, feminists, environmentalists, theologians from a plurality of Christian denominations, Bedouins in the Negev, Syrian refugees in the Za’atari Refugee Camp, Iraqi Christians in Amman, Aramean Christians in Jish, kibbutzniks, Arab citizens of Israel, and a professor of Sharia Law. Is there any other organization that provides the opportunity to listen to an Orthodox rabbi settler next to a young Palestinian refugee and then a Catholic priest next to a Sharia Law professor?"

Amanda Atchman 

Philos Leadership Institute '17