Sunday, 12 June 2011

Faith, Poverty and Development Seminar

Onn 2nd May I attended a seminar on Faith, Poverty and Development at City Hall, Cardiff.  It was organised by Cyfanfyd, the Welsh organisation supporting ESDGC (Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship).  It was attended by representatives from many organisations:

The seminar began with a highly personal and moving keynote speech by Omer Williams a white Welsh convert to Islam. After this there were three short speeches from representatives of Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and Oxfam.  It was inspiring to hear of their work and aspirations.

There then followed a choice of two out of three workshops.  These were:
  • Faith and development - looking at the influence of faith in the past and how it can contribute in the future with regard to international development; 
  • Faiths in the Media - how the faiths are represented in the media; 
  • Faith Tools and Resources - faith as a tool and resource for development in schools and communities.  
Choosing two was difficult as they all sounded interesting, but I decided on Faiths in the Media before lunch and Faith Tools and Resources after lunch.

Faiths in the Media was a slightly misleading title, as only one faith was looked at: the Muslim faith.  It was an interesting and informative workshop and I was shocked to discover quite how biased media reporting has been towards a negative view of Muslims.  I was a little disappointed however that no other faiths were considered, though perhaps this was unrealistic to expect in the time available.

Faith Tools and Resources focused on One World Week.  It was more interactive than the previous workshop and included an exercise to guess from which religion came a set of scriptural quotations.  Working with my partner we only got three correct and I did not guess the Buddhist quotation correctly!  It was fascinating to see how similar were the messages of all the quotations.

I enjoyed the seminar and valued meeting new people from different organisations and faith groups.

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