February 1st through 7th is the United Nation’s World Interfaith Harmony Week, and we at Kikori are so excited to embrace the themes of this holiday for this week’s blog post! Interfaith dialogue is crucial for the development of understanding and cooperation between folks of different religions in our communities and in the wider world, so here are three reasons why it is especially important to focus on in education:
#1: Interfaith Dialogue Builds Cross-Cultural Skills
During these turbulent times, all of us can think of instances in which we’ve felt the strain of divisions between vastly different groups of people, and as we look towards bridging these in the future, tools for cross-cultural communication will be necessary. Interfaith dialogue can help with that! Effective communication between folks of different faiths helps students develop a greater understanding of and empathy with those who are different from them. Furthermore, skills obtained in this process, such as active listening and perspective-taking, can be transferred to new social situations in which they are required.
#2: Religion is an Important Part of Understanding and Appreciating Diversity
When we teach about diversity in schools, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, gender, and sexual orientation tend to be the main focus, so adding religious beliefs to this exploration can add an additional dimension of understanding how we all are different. In the same way that we train students to be open-minded towards folks from different countries and/or cultures, so too can we help them be receptive to people of a diverse array of religions that they cross paths with in life.
#3: Interfaith Harmony Makes the World a Better Place!
Why dedicate a week to interfaith harmony? According to the United Nations, the event is rooted in the belief that “...dialogue among different faiths and religions [enhances] mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.” At its core, interfaith dialogue is about creating a future where religious differences augment global unity instead of taking away from it!
Looking for resources to help teach students about cultural differences? Check out this week’s spotlighted content creator, Play For Peace!
Play for Peace is a global organization dedicated to using cooperative play to bring youth together in areas affected by conflict. Through laughter and compassion, they help to create a more peaceful and accepting world! Learn more about them at their website (https://www.playforpeace.org/) and check out many of their amazing activities on the Kikori app!