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Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Greater efforts sought to inculcate values of tolerance in societyCourtesy - Daily Times
KARACHI: The first ever teachers’ expo, held under the aegis of ‘Badal Do’ initiative, concluded on Saturday with calls for collaboration to improve the sector education sector.
Speaking on the occasion, former federal minister Javed Jabbar said it was high time education departments of provincial governments were linked up with academic reform initiatives of the private sector so that their impact could be multiplied.
Teachers and students associated with government-run school systems, particularly those of the Sindh Education Foundation, should be made part of initiatives like ‘Badal Do’.
He said such initiatives were needed to inculcate values of tolerance, diversity, pluralism and civic responsibility among teachers.
The first panel, moderated by Rumana Hussain, was on the theme: ‘Is education all about textbooks and examinations?’
Educationist Saleem Mughal, Sheema Kirmani of Tehreek-e-Niswan, social activist Qurrat Mirza and Sana Barni of SABAQ were the panelists. They stressed the use of creative techniques as part of education and character building measures during schooling.
Another panel discussion was moderated by Afia Salam on the following theme: how well do students understand the world they live in?
Humaira Bachal of Dream Foundation Trust, Farieha Aziz of Bolo Bhi, Nazia Hasan of I Am Karachi, senior journalist Wusatullah Khan and Tasneem Ahmer of Uks Media and Research were the panellists. They highlighted that disparities in the education system of the country were preventing many students from realizing their full potential. However, they said how those who remained focused could still break down barriers, provided an enabling environment was provided to them.
Alongside these panel discussions, Badal Do Expo also featured graduation of the over 400 teachers based in Karachi in the first phase of a training. The participating schools were awarded shields by Shahnaz Wazir Ali, former special assistant to the prime minister and ex-chairperson of Higher Education Commission
Speaking on the occasion, she said the initiative had rightly targeted school teachers as they were the most effective agents of change in the society.
The expo showcased the work done by teachers during the training. Senior journalist Zubeida Mustafa inaugurated the exhibition of photographs taken during the training, reflecting on their perception of diversity and plurality. The photographic exhibition featured some of the best historical, cultural, and heritage sites of Karachi.
The short films made by them on social messages were also screened at the exhibition.
In the next phase, the ‘Badal Do’ initiative plans to target a broader community engaging the entire system of schooling including the management, teachers, and students, as well as parents, guardians and other community members, through involvement of 5,000 teachers in 300 schools of the city.
At the event on Monday, there were performances by Zambeel Readings, Tehreek-e-Niswan, Sounds of Kolachi, and The Sketches band, besides story telling sessions for children, and stalls by educational publishers and educational tools companies.
The expo ended with pledges by many schools to become part of the Badal Do way forward.
They all demanded for calling collaboration between government and citizens-based initiatives in the arena of education especially to improve school learning methodologies.
Published in Daily Times, February 27th 2018.
· Good News keeps coming
Courtesy CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
In this 2013 file photo, interreligious leaders gather in Beirut for Adyan Foundation's launch of their first toolkit for faith-based educational institutions on values of citizenship and public life. (Credit: CNS photo/courtesy Adyan Foundation.
BEIRUT - Adyan, a Lebanese foundation for interreligious studies and spiritual solidarity, is the recipient of the 35th Niwano Peace Prize.
Lebanon now moves “a firm step further toward its recognition as a world center for dialogue between cultures and religions,” said Maronite Father Fadi Daou, president of Adyan Foundation, in announcing the international award in Beirut Feb. 19.
“Peace has a specific name in Lebanon, and that is ‘living-together,'” he added.
Daou is one of the five founders of Adyan (“religions” in Arabic), each of whom are followers of different denominations of Christianity and Islam.
Since its foundation in 2006, Adyan “has worked to take interreligious dialogue from apologetic debates and populist complacency, to a common commitment in what we call ‘religious social responsibility,'” Daou said.
The Tokyo-based Niwano Peace Foundation established the Niwano Peace Prize in 1983 to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to interreligious cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace. It is named for Nikkyo Niwano, founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai.
The award’s selection committee commended Adyan for valuing “religious diversity in promoting peace and social justice” and cited Adyan as “a visible and committed actor for peace in Lebanon and the broader region.”
Past Niwano Peace Prize recipients include Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara; Jordanian Prince El Hassan bin Talal; retired Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa, Israel; the late Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico; Father Hans Kung, a Swiss theologian; the World Muslim Congress; and the Sant’Egidio Community.
Daou recalled St. John Paul II’s declaration that “Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message” of coexistence for East and West.
“I really believe that this award, coming from Japan, is ‘another voice’ - now from the East - to remind us of what John Paul II said,” the priest said.
“Worldwide, peace today signifies justice and the liberation of oppressed people,” Daou said. “It also means stopping the implication of religion in political choices and ending linking religion to violence and extremism.”
While it is important to discover what is common among religions, Daou noted, even more important is “to discover the differences between religions and to educate people - especially the youth - to respect those differences, as an expression of our belief in freedom of conscience and our refusal of all forms of coercion and takfirism (considering others as infidels),” he said.
Daou said the “problematic reality” in the Middle East “pushes us to go a step further in order to promote interreligious solidarity in the combat of extremism and of injustice.”
Recent Adyan initiatives include offering interfaith mediation dialogue and peace education to vulnerable Syrian citizens, both in Lebanon and Syria. In Iraq, working with journalists and civil society activists, Adyan focuses on spreading the values of inclusive citizenship and interreligious solidarity, particularly to heal the society from the traumas of Islamic State.
Daou said that Adyan will continue on its path “for the adoption of pluralism as a social and political value in Arab countries.”
“It will also work for the promotion of resilience to all forms of extremism and for the development of social cohesion, spiritual solidarity, intercivilizational encounter and world stability,” he added.
By 2016, a decade after its foundation, Adyan had more than 3,000 members with some 35,000 direct beneficiaries in 29 countries.
The Niwano Peace Prize ceremony will take place in Tokyo May 9.