For more information and to buy tickets visit: http://gycgala2012.charityhappenings.org/
Save the Date! GYC’s Second Annual Youth for Human Rights Gala 11 October , 2012
Animating Interfaith Culture for 5000 Teenagers a Year 10 October , 2012
by Tina Petrova
Scarboro Missions in Toronto has a long history of promoting the Golden Rule as a universal ethic. The jewel in the crown of their interfaith ministry may be a workshop called “Animating the Golden Rule with World Religions,” offered to hundreds of young people every week. The workshop opens a compelling, appreciative door into religion and spirituality in its full diversity. It introduces teen-agers to an ethic of reciprocity with joy and respect rather than judgment, with creative engagement rather than didacticism.
The achievement is remarkable. In a just world, Scarboro’s facilitators would be teaching teachers throughout Canada and far beyond. The world isn’t just, but it is networked, and with the story below and a few links at the bottom, you can learn much more about teaching and learning world religions through the lens of the Golden Rule. Ed.
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Lesson Plans in the Universal Ethic of Reciprocity
It’s a cold, snowy morning in Toronto Canada. At 9:15 am a group of 45 eleventh grade high school students get out of buses and file into a room. A music video with Bob Marley and Bono from U2 is playing loudly on the full sized screen behind them.
Most of them have fashionable hoodies obscuring their sleepy faces, covering I-pods or cell phone ear buds. A blank stare greets us from most.
During “Animating,” students break into groups and create skits exemplifying what they are learning about different religions.
Suddenly, they perk up. Images of Bob Marley performing a virtual duet with Bono flash life-size across the screen. The hoodies come down to their shoulders, and the ear buds come out. Chairs are pulled up closer to the front of the room, and the atmosphere shifts dramatically from resignation to interest and smiles.
Welcome to Scarboro Missions, an organization of lay and ordained men and women dedicated to spreading the good news, social justice, an ethic of reciprocity, and interfaith/intercultural dialogue.
“Animating the Golden Rule through the World’s Religions” takes students on an energetic six-hour fun, laughter and music filled adventure. They are invited into an experience of the beauty and wisdom of the world’s religions through the use of sacred symbols, stories, music, dress, movement, prayer, and meditation.
The journey these students take is the brainchild of Scarboro’s educational director, Kathy Murtha. She worked for more than 25 years developing curriculum for high school students before giving birth this particular program, working in collaboration with two award-winning Canadian artists, poet Kate Marshall Flaherty and filmmaker Tina Petrova.
“Animating the Golden Rule” draws nearly 5,000 Toronto-area students from high schools each year to Scarboro Missions Centre, mostly aged 16 and 17. It was designed to fulfill the requirements for a reflective, meditative retreat day for the Catholic School Board. Since starting in this format in 2005, though, the workshop has gone much further than the innovators dreamed.
The project has not gone unnoticed. Kathy and her team were invited to participate in a prototype multicultural program funded by Canada’s Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, in what may be Canada’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood, Regent Park. Designed for young people aged 16 to 25, it features six months of weekly sessions studying the arts in all its forms – hip hop, spinning music (as a DJ), fashion design, dance, photography and much more. Kathy and her gifted facilitators were chosen from a broad selection of organizations to provide an interfaith, intercultural experience for young adults from numerous backgrounds, including Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, and Rastafarian.
Both the high-school workshop and the Regent Park curriculum offer imaginative explorations of the Golden Rule. Paul McKenna, interfaith director at Scarboro Missions, is the creator the Golden Rule poster, one of the global interfaith movement’s most powerful and widely circulated resources. Paul has become an international spokesperson for the cause and oversees the translation and distribution of Golden Rule posters in numerous languages which are available at the Golden Rule movie. Video clips of the workshop can be viewed at GoldenRule TV.
Scarboro Missions has created a raft of educational tools, many of them downloadable for free at their website. The essence of the workshop has been captured in a DVD and Teachers Guidebook. For further information visit The Golden Rule Movie.
Originally posted on The Interfaith Observer: http://theinterfaithobserver.org/journal-articles/2012/9/15/animating-interfaith-culture-for-5000-teenagers-a-year.html
Global Youth Connect (GYC) announces a call for nominations for its second annual
Youth for Human Rights Award
Nomination Deadline: 9:00PM EST on September 21, 2012.
Global Youth Connect (GYC) brings together youth from around the world to share experiences and exchange ideas concerning human rights, and to take action collectively, individually, and in association with various human rights organizations.
GYC’s Youth for Human Rights Award honors young people who are exceptional human rights advocates and workers, and serves as a launch-pad for the award recipients to participate in GYC’s programming.
GYC’s first Youth for Human Rights Award honored Valentine Iribagiza (pictured at right), a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and advocate for human rights of young people across the world.
In honor of GYC’s recent launch of the Human Rights in the USA Program, this year the Youth for Human RightsAward will be presented to a young leader from the New York City area who has worked to advance human rights in New York City.
Who is eligible to be a Youth for Human Rights Award Nominee?
This year, all nominees must be currently working and/or living in the five boroughs of New York City, be between the ages of 16 – 30, and be working to advance human rights in NYC in some way. The nominee may advance the use of human rights as a concept for social change, engage in human rights education or learning, or promote/protect individual human rights through his/her work and initiatives.
A nominee’s area(s) of focus may include, but is not limited to, access to health care, sustainable economic development, access to shelter, food security, conflict resolution, the human rights of indigenous peoples, children, LGBT persons, freedom of expression, and gender equity. Essentially, the definition of human rights in GYC’s work is broad, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural human rights. The nominee may even have his/her own definition of human rights that is different from GYC’s definition. If you have any questions about this please just contact us!
The nominee will also demonstrate maturity, integrity and credibility in selecting and using his/her human rights tools, and courage, conviction and creativity in the advancement of his/her human rights objectives!
The winner will (i) receive a full scholarship to attend the 2013 Human Rights in the USA Program in NYC, (ii) be honored at GYC’s Annual Youth for Human Rights Gala in New York City to be held on November 10, 2012, and (iii) receive $250 to be donated to the non-profit cause of his/her choice. Two runner-up candidates will receive honorable mentions at the Gala.
Procedures for Nomination
Anyone can nominate a candidate for the Award. There is no limit to the number of nominations an individual/organization can make, but no self-nominations will be accepted. Note: If you would like to be nominated for the award and feel you are a good candidate, please feel free to ask someone you know to nominate you!
The deadline for submissions of the Nomination Form is 9:00PM EST on September 21, 2012. A shortlist of three candidates will be announced on October 1, 2012 and will be invited to interview with GYC’s selection committee. The Award winner will be announced on October 15, 2012.
To download the nomination form click here: http://bit.ly/U0CXPU
Christian Muslim Forum – Christians and Muslims Working Together 4 September , 2012
Interfaith Youth in Action/World Faith Pakistan became part of the Christian Muslim Forum network. TheChristian Muslim Forum develops strong relationships between Christians and Muslims and believes that faith is a resource for peace and conflict resolution. This is an important step to strengthen World Faith Pakistan’s international interfaith network and to demonstrate how faith can inform work for unity and peace.
Find out more about World Faith Pakistan and there work here:
Welcome World Faith Malawi 16 June , 2012
The World Faith community is growing! We are happy to welcome our new chapter, World Faith Malawi. World Faith Malawi is an interfaith youth organization, cooperating with different religious youth groups, organizations, and individuals in the pursuit of a just society. World Faith Malawi was founded by like-minded youth leaders from different faith groups, such as Christian, Muslim, and Baha’i who want to make a major contribution to fight poverty and social imbalances. They provide youth from different religious groups with the skills they need to improve their living conditions and empower their communities. Project focuses are social and economic justice, HIV/AIDS prevention and agriculture. The interfaith approach aims at creating an environment where religious diversity, love, and mutual respect form a basis for positive change.
For more information about World Faith Malawi click: http://worldfaith.org/africa/49-malawi
Women in favelas broadcast peace 1 August , 2011
Local women’s voices have begun to be heard over a community radio station now broadcasting in Complexo do Alemao, a clump of favelas or shantytowns on the north side of this Brazilian city that were ruled until recently by armed drug gangs.
Gender issues, social and health matters, local environmental problems, employment and women’s rights are the focus of Radio Mulher, or “women’s radio station”, which began to broadcast this month.
Before going on the air, the participants received a year of training about the workings of a radio station, including general courses for all, as well as specific training in different areas depending on each woman’s role in the station, as determined by each individual’s strengths and talents.
The new community radio station operators are aiming to “exorcise” difficult experiences that plague many girls and women in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and other cities in Brazil. “What are our ghosts? Sexual abuse and rape,” Anatalia dos Santos, one of the first 28 women to receive the training, responds without hesitation.
The radio stations wants to tackle these and other thorny issues “that no one wants to talk about, like beatings from husbands, economic dependency on men, mothers who have to raise their children on their own”, she said.
“Women appear to be more resilient and combative, but they weren’t raised to get a job, to be successful, to make it on their own,” said dos Santos, who works as a nursing aide.
Because of this, she said, many women in Complexo do Alemao and other favelas are trapped by the reasoning that “better to live badly with him than worse off without him”.
Dos Santos belongs to Mulheres da Paz [“Women of Peace”], as do the rest of the women at the radio station, which broadcasts in the Complexo and surrounding areas on 98.7 FM.
Dalai Lama, Religious Leaders Seek Common Ground 19 July , 2011
The rabbi, pastor and Muslim scholar shared their thoughts with the Dalai Lama before a sold-out crowd at Harris Theater for Music and Dance inMillennium Park. Eboo Patel, who founded the Interfaith Youth Core after an encounter with the Dalai Lama 13 years ago, moderated the panel.
Each religious leader shared how values of other religious traditions, namely Buddhism, had enriched their own spiritual journey. For example, RabbiMichael Lerner, activist and editor of Tikkun magazine, talked about not letting attachment to reality discourage him from seeking ideals.
Global Development and Faith-Inspired Organizations in South and Central Asia: Meeting Report 5 July , 2011
On January 10-11, 2011, 25 leaders from religious organizations, faith-inspired development institutions, academic institutions, and international development agencies met in Dhaka, Bangladesh to discuss the current activities and potential contributions of faith-inspired organizations in addressing South and Central Asia’s development challenges. The meeting was the sixth in a series of regional explorations by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, exploring the work, roles, and policy issues associated with faith-inspired development actors.
The two days of consultation reaffirmed the hypothesis that the intersection of faith and development is highly complex, reflecting the particularly decentralized web of actors, variety of faith traditions, and differing types of organizations. There is a significant base of scholarly knowledge, notably for South Asia, on religion and society, but policymakers and practitioners lack a comprehensive understanding of the development work that faith-linked actors undertake. Meaningful “mapping” of this work does not exist, and, more importantly, there are no commonly agreed upon definitions to help to identify or assess faith roles. Treating the South and Central Asian regions together was challenging because the two are very different, but the exercise identified significant links and common threads. The meeting highlighted an extraordinary potential for these institutions, individually and collectively, to bring about positive change. Many obstacles, sensitivities, and challenges, however, also were identified. The emerging issues highlighted by this report often echoed the key issues and agendas that the development community has identified, but the “faith lens” suggests some significant differences in approach and priorities.
National Scene: Youths Hold Interfaith Event for Peace 28 June , 2011
JAKARTA: Young people from the Indonesian Young Muslim Club, the youth wing of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) held an interfaith workshop for students that ended on Monday in Bogor, West Java.
Program coordinator Miftahul Huda said recent surveys reporting that students were vulnerable to radical groups recruitment had given them the idea to hold the workshop.
“It is time for students to get involved in peace issues,” Miftahul said in a press release made available Monday. “We don’t expect the workshop to result in conflict resolution, but at least we hope we can contribute to conflict prevention.