By Robin Gomes
The document entitled, “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective”, was presented by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) during a conference in Geneva on May 21 on “Promoting Peace Together”.
The document has been defined by the signatories as “an important milestone in our ongoing commitment to strengthening ecumenical relations through the promotion of interreligious dialogue”.
Among those present at the release of the document were PCID Secretary, Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, WCC Secretary-General, Olav Fykse Tveit, Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies in Geneva, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič and the representative of the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates, Aalya Al Shehhi.
The conference devoted ample time to the historical “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi on February 4.
Terrorism threatening planet
“Our daily experience confirms that we live in a fractured world and that polarization is increasing,” Bishop Ayuso noted in a brief presentation. The ecological crisis and political, economic, and social instability, he said, continue to threaten the well-being, if not the very existence of the planet.
“Deadly terrorism, acts of religiously motivated violence, radicalization or self-radicalization via social media, hate speech, as well as extremist preachers, missionaries, and religious institutions that sow the seeds of hatred and violence are social scourges that must be addressed,” he said.
Religions for peacebuilding
For this reason, the Spanish bishop said, the document is “grounded in our shared conviction that education has a vital, indeed essential role to play in resolving conflicts, preventing their recurrence, healing the wounded, restoring justice, and upholding the equal dignity of all.”
Even though the joint PCID-WCC document is written by Christians for mainly Christians, the bishop pointed out that peacebuilding needs to embrace everyone. He hoped that the document will generate a broad interaction on education for peace involving followers of other religions, as well as social and political actors in our multi-religious world.
The document “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective” is divided into three sections.
The first section gives seven reasons why Christians should engage in education for peace. The second section points to twelves areas and strategies for implementing peacebuilding through education. The final part offers ten recommendations to Churches, Christian educational institutions and the national and regional confessional ecumenical bodies for prayerful reflection.