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Regional Workshop on Interfaith Learning for Educators and Teachers Held in Amman, Jordan

A regional workshop for teachers and educators was held inAmman,Jordanfrom 6 – 10 February 2007 under the aegis of the GNRC Arab States, the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children and the Ecumenical Studies Centre.

Over thirty teachers and educators from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and India and students from Jordan participated in the workshop whose theme was ‘Empowering Educators and Teachers to Promote Ethics Education Through Interfaith Learning.’
Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan said that all religions in their different contexts espoused and promoted the dignity of all human beings.

Her Royal Highness decried the wanton violence, hatred and bloodshed carried out in the name of religions, stating that it was mainly the children who paid the price for these mindless actions.

HRH Princess Sumaya said that no effort should be spared to face racism and discrimination in all forms by focusing on ethics education.

She underscored the need to focus on teachers and educators who in turn will pass on these values and teachings to children and students.

The Secretary General of Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children Ms. Agneta Ucko stated that the aim of the toolkit was to promote and teach ethics and values in an interfaith context.

Ms. Ucko added that children were involved in order to empower them to develop their spirituality and learn to live in solidarity with people from other religions and civilizations. Twenty students joined the team of educators and teachers during the workshop.

GNRC Arab States Coordinator Rev. Dr. Prof. Qais Sadiq briefed the teachers and the educators about the history of the Interfaith Ethics Council when in 2002 Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto presented the initiative for establishing the Council at the United Nations during the special session for children. The Council was launched in 2005.

Rev. Dr. Qais thanked His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal for his continued support to the Council as the Honorary Advisor.

During the first day, Mrs Ucko introduced the participants to the various aspects of the toolkit including the approach to children, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), ethics education and interfaith learning, spirituality, content and methodology. 

On the second day, the participants learned how to prepare workshops, planning and delivery of sessions, context realities, methodology and activities to use. Twenty students joined in on the third day for experience-based training.

On the fourth day, participants went through an experience-based learning in an interfaith platform and later follow-up ideas were suggested and plans made.

The trainers during the workshop were Mrs. Riham Kawar from Jordan, Sr. Emilie Tannous from Lebanon, Mrs. Agneta Ucko from Switzerland and Dr. Mustafa Ali from Kenya.

Four participants from Palestine, two from Lebanon and two from Iraq could not attend due to the political and security situations in their countries, as well as travel restrictions.

The Ethics education toolkit has so far been tested in most regions of the world including Sweden in the Nordic Countries, Colombia in Latin America, Switzerland in Europe, India in South Asia, Tanzania in Africa, Japan and Spain. This was the first training workshop for teachers and educators focusing on the school community.

see photos from the workshop….

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