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Interfaith Council Committee Assembled for its Third Meeting

The Interfaith Council Committee held its Third Meeting 9 - 10 July at Ecogia in Versoix, Switzerland. Committee members and GNRC Coordinators met to review the Second Draft of the Toolkit and to identify missing areas and suggest ways for dissemination of the Toolkit

In the opening remarks, Rev. Miyamoto thanked Interfaith Council Committee for its dedication to the ethics education initiative and declared that the steady progress has been possible thanks to their guidance and commitment and to the cooperation of the GNRC coordinators.

The 13 members of the Interfaith Council Committee present at the two day meeting interacted with the GNRC Coordinators to suggest gaps in the Toolkit and identify strategies for filling these gaps, adding necessary resources and suggest effective ways for the dissemination of the Toolkit. The participants confirmed that the Second Draft of the Toolkit has improved substantially by integration of the lessons learned from the Test Workshops that have been organised in various regions of the world with the assistance and support of the GNRC regional networks. It was said that the Draft Toolkit communicates a clear message and that it is mostly a matter of finetuning the text and adding additional resources before a final version can be published.

The participants were updated on how the Second Draft had been conceived and got glimpses from the ten test workshops that have been arranged since November 2005, when the first draft was ready. The test workshops have all provided valuable learning and resulted in a refining of both the content and the learning modules. A short video presented the test workshops and the lessons learned were presented in a Powerpoint presentation.

The participants underlined the value of adding resources from the regions as this would give the necessary flavour and connection to real situations that is needed for any international tool that aims at serving the local communities. The particpants worked in groups to list the gaps that need to be filled and committed themselves to assist in resourcing the Toolkit from their specifc contexts.

The need to assure that facilitators and teachers using the Toolkit are well trained for the task was strongly underlined. The Interfaith Council Secretariat has organized training workshops in some of the regions already and recently embarked on a one year training process of young adults to assist the GNRC regional networks to build capacity for making use of and promoting the Toolkit.

The Second Draft of the Toolkit exists in three language versions, English, Spanish and French, and can be accessed online. At the meeting two Committee members offered to provide translation of the final version into Arabic and Swahili; a contribution that is highly appreciated. The review of the Second Draft will take place during the month of September.  UNESCO has committed to make a review of the Toolkit before the final version is concluded and give feed back and input as well as assuring links to UNESCO resources. UNICEF has offered to assist in the editing of the Toolkit and the dissemination through its country offices as part of their longstanding relationship and partnership with the Arigatou Foundation and GNRC. Both UNICEF and UNESCO are committed to endorse the Toolkit.

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