Multi-faith action from Pakistan to Mali to the USA
This has been a very busy few months for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF), thanks to your support. We're really pleased with the many ways you've found to show the world how people of different religions can work together.
Our Faiths Act volunteers are active in 36 countries, our education projects in 15. And you can now subscribe to our blog to hear stories of partnership, learning and multi-faith action from Pakistan to Mali to the USA:
A few extracts below give you a sense of how we are working to promote understanding of and between people of different faiths -- and none -- as well as how we're working to empower multi-faith action.
"Who are my new friends at Banyan?" asks a 13-year-old in Bolton
On 23 October, 10 students at Westhoughton High School in Bolton linked up with students at Banyan Tree School in Dehli, India for an introductory video conference. The conference was part of Face to Faith, our schools programme that helps secondary school children from different faiths around the world learn from and about each other.
Jo Malone, Religious Education teacher at Westhoughton described her sense of excitement about the event: "There is a real buzz at school about Face to Faith. The real joy of this programme is that our young people are enjoying their experiences so much they forget they are learning. Today has been the highlight so far of my 13 years of teaching."
Faiths Act Fellows, mobilising communities to fight malaria
The life of a young interfaith leader is a busy one. Campus tours, workshops, fundraising, blogging and, for some, gearing up for a plenary session at the Parliament of world religions in Melbourne... It has been non-stop for the Fellows since they joined their host organisations in the US, UK and Canada. These 30 young leaders have had two months of intensive training, including a month in Africa, and they're now working to inspire multi-faith action to eradicate malaria.
Faith and Globalisation programme going global
On 5 November Yale University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) linked up with Tony Blair for a joint seminar as part of the Faith and Globalisation initiative.
Professor John Richardson of NUS says they have been doing much "more than meeting; they have been sharing perspectives on a topic for which perspective really matters".
With these courses well underway and Durham University just about to embark on a Faith and Globalisation post graduate course, we are now looking at taking the course to new continents.
Debating faith and development
Representatives from nine African states, the US State Department and development experts and funders came together in September at a conference to explore the role of faith communities as a partner in national malaria strategies. Hosted by TBFF, Yale and KPMG with the support of Yale World Fellows and CIFA (Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty), the conference led to a groundbreaking new report with concrete next steps for joint action.
Concurrently, a six-part seminar series at the RSA in London exploring "New Perspectives in Faith and Development" hosted jointly by DFID, TBFF, Islamic Relief, World Vision and Oxfam was taking place. Tony Blair began the debate by stating his conviction that there is a lot that the faith community and those who work in development can learn from each other if each has a little humility. Highlights from the seminars included Tariq Ramadan's discussing ethics in the marketplace, Secretary of State Douglas Alexander stressing the importance of faith groups in health and education provision, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's call for "a willing and intelligent partnership" between members of the faith and development communities.
Your action inspiring us
Time and time again we have been overwhelmed by the dedication and compassion of our Faiths Act volunteers. People like Onkardeep Singh, who cycled from Berlin to Istanbul to raise money to combat malaria and, in his own words, "serve the world by promoting unity among faiths and spreading love amongst all." Or Michael, who saw how malaria was affecting his community in Uganda and reached out beyond his own Christian congregation to Muslim and Hare Krishna groups to support the Faiths Act campaign and provide information and education on preventing malaria.
Staff and friends of the Foundation will be blogging every few days on how these projects are developing. Sign up for updates now to stay informed and find out how you can get involved along the way: