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Mrs. Mercedes Román, is the former GNRC Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean and is currently Ethics Education Advisor for the region.

The term “violence against children” refers to very diverse situations. The report of the United Nation’s General Secretary (2006), takes the definition from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 19: “... all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse”, synthesized by David G. Gil as: “situations that prevent the fulfilment of their innate human potential” (Violence Against Children, Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 33, No. 44) The classification made by the Report on Violence from the World Health Organization, WHO (2003) on types of violence –self-inflicted, interpersonal and collective- helps to understand what we are talking about when we refer to violence against children in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

It is interesting for me to realize the interconnectedness of the notions ‘ethics’ and ‘interfaith dialogue’; That is, both of them more or less are related to a word: relationships. According to my understanding, I support the explanation on ‘ethics’ provided on the Learning to Live Together Manual of Arigatou International: “how one chooses to relate to oneself, to others, and to earth, which sustains all life, is the primary manifestation of ethics and values”. It is the relationships with all those around us. On the other hand, interfaith dialogue is related to ‘deep listening’ in order to ‘learn, grow and change’ from the misunderstanding to the better understanding. Although one is still able to keep ones’ own position, it is expected that in the process of dialogue, one may touch the similar experiences of common humanity such as fear, anxiety, loneliness including search for happiness and avoidance of suffering. When one can touch and realize the similar destiny of our human beings, one may be able to transcend ‘otherness’ of others. That is to say, it is about ‘relationships’ between oneself and others. As Sean Rose said, “it’s not about religion, it’s about relationships!”

I strongly believe that children have an innate potential for spiritually. We need to listen carefully to children s…

"I had a professor once who used to say there are two things you should read every day: the Bible and the New York T…

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