28 June 2018 – The intervention of the Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Francis Shaw: "School teachers play a fundamental role in the promotion of peace in Pakistan, we must offer them the opportunity to learn more and encourage them to continue to be educators of peace: It is very important to have sustainable and lasting peace in society, accepting each other and promoting tolerance". This is what Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Francis Shaw, president of the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE), in the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, said during a seminar organized in the last days in Lahore, entitled "Teachers as educators of peace".
As Fides learns, about 40 teachers from 9 different schools in Lahore attended the seminar at St. Mary's School, Lahore. The main purpose of this seminar was to promote peace and harmony in society, introducing the culture of peace in schools, universities and other academic institutions, as Fr. Francis Nadeem, executive secretary of NCIDE explains. Furthermore, the aim was also to develop an understanding of common human values that promote tolerance, mutual acceptance and peaceful coexistence.
There was great interaction and the participants were actively involved in various activities to learn the concepts of peace education. On the first day, those present discussed peace education and its urgency in the current context of Pakistan. Peace education was described as a process of promoting the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to implement behavioral changes that enable children, young people and adults to prevent conflict and violence at home, in schools and workplace. Peaceful resolution of conflicts were discussed and how to create favorable conditions regarding peace.
The concepts of inter-confessionality, harmony and diversity emerged, because all religions emphasize peace, coexistence, respect, tolerance. The concept of interreligious dialogue and its four levels were also stated: dialogue of theological exchange; dialogue of religious experience exchange; dialogue of action and dialogue of daily life. The seminar sought to integrate peace education in the various subjects of the existing school curriculum.
Even Muslim leader Maulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom was invited as a guest of honor. Muhammad Asim Makhdoom appreciated NCIDE's commitment to promoting peace through education and equipping teachers with the necessary skills. He also said that in the future the teachers of "madrasas" (Islamic schools) and private schools will be able to participate together with similar seminars to promote peace which, he said, should be organized in other parts of the country.
Father Nadeem tells Fides in conclusion: "To eliminate all forms of violence in society, it is the primary responsibility of teachers to propose these values of peace to students through the teaching of school curricula and actively involve them". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 26/6/2018)