Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, only three weeks left to apply by Tony Blair
It was in May last year that I first met a group of 30 young people who have been a source of learning and inspiration to me ever since. Back at that first meeting I was blown away by their passion, their deeply held faith balanced with their openness to difference.
These 30 Faiths Act Fellows went on to lead an interfaith movement across 15 cities across three countries and gain grassroots experience of how we encourage peaceful co-operation in a globalised world. It was a pleasure watching them transform into exceptional young leaders as the year went on. Today our post bags and inboxes are full of people requesting them as speakers and advisors or wishing to recognize their achievements. Just a couple of weeks ago I was very proud to see Faiths Act Fellows alumni Nadeem Javaid win Prince Charles's Mosaic award for interfaith. It's hard to imagine that just a year ago he had very little experience of interfaith work.
I am very excited by the interest there has already been in the 2011 Faiths Act Fellowship, with over 17,000 people visiting the website. I am looking forward to seeing a new generation of interfaith leaders carry on the fantastic work started by the inaugural Fellows. This year, we will be extending our work and supporting some young leaders from India, as well as the UK, USA and Canada. Applications close on the 31st December and I hope that if you are between 20 and 27 you will put yourself forward to build a youth movement that proves to the world that faiths can act together.
Apply now at:
I have a set of beliefs that lie at the heart of the work I do with my Foundation: that religion can be and is for many a source of inspiration to take positive action. Much can be achieved when we work alone, but when faith communities collaborate and work together on global issues that affect us all, there is a double payoff: things get done and respect and understanding between them grows.
The Faiths Act Fellows brought these principles to life.
By bringing 14,000 people of different faiths together in shared action, educating 40,000 people across the UK, US and Canada about the Millennium Development Goals, they showed just how much can be achieved when we work together. They worked in interfaith pairs and told me time and time again that learning more about each other's beliefs enriched their own faith. They were 30 young people battling stereotypes, proving that the news so often reported in the media about tensions and divisions between people of different faiths only tells half the story. There are billions of religious people open and willing to work together to make a difference to their communities and the wider world.
The Faiths Act Fellowship sets out to harness some of that energy and I look forward to seeing your applications.