McGill teacher training student encouraged by a different way to teach religion
While I have spent parts of the past four years studying religion and religious culture at McGill University, there has not always been a true sense of attachment to what has been presented. The opportunity to learn about a program such as Face to Faith, by video conference, demonstrated to me that there are many untapped resources that can be used to teach young people about religion and the various associated cultures. My fellow students and I were very fortunate to hear from a man who had a wealth of knowledge, and a deep sense of commitment, to this endeavor.
Mr. Ian Jamison joined us via the internet from London to teach us about the innovative program that has been introduced to the world by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. While I was listening to Mr. Jamison speak about the program, I found myself moved by what Tony Blair and the Foundation have created. We live in a world that is often in conflict over religious differences and, while we may not be able to resolve the conflicting and diverse views easily, there are steps that can be taken to help better understand each other. The Face to Faith program has taken the first steps by initiating and encouraging inter-faith dialogue between religions and cultures – it has brought young people together in a safe environment which allows them to learn and better understand the world around them. The internet, and social networking, have become a major everyday part of the lives of young people and the Face to Faith program uses these tools to provide students with an environment in which to foster caring and understanding. While the program is designed for children and teenagers, I believe it can grow to be a part of the curriculum for students in universities; there is no age restriction with respect to learning about how lives are lived on this shared planet. Not only does the program teach students about each other’s faiths, it exposes students to global issues – issues that will require resolution by the young people of today. The issues of poverty, health, art, and the environment are all topics of growing concern and leaders and educators should assume the responsibility for preparing young people for the life-time challenges that lie ahead. Face to Faith and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation are clearly doing their part to ensure that young people can“be the change that they wish to see in the world” (Gandhi).
John Patrick Mancini
John Patrick is a teaching student studying at McGill University who last week received training by video –conference on the key principles of the Foundation’s global schools project ‘Face to Faith’ which connects young people of different faiths and cultures from around the world. Find out more at www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/facetofaith