KAICIID Fellows A Fellows Live Blog

Graduation 2015

We have graduated from the KAICIID Fellows 2015. This seems to be end of the beginning but not the beginning of the end.

The Director-General of KAICIID warmly addresses all the graduates.

As mentioned below I have been asked to give an address with Nageeba on behalf of the Fellows in response to the Director-General's words. Really privileged to share a platform with her. She is doing such amazing work in Uganda... Actually, it was a real privilege to share a platform with all 19 other fellows.

In addition we are all presenting a short version of the projects that we have developed. Mine is a 2 minutes video presentation on the work we are doing in Surrey University.

So before I sign off: thank you to our fabulous teachers, the programme managers and assistants and KAICIID. Thank you.

In particular: the Secretary-General, Director-General and Deputy Director, Professor Patrice Brodeur, Dr. Shahram Nahidi, Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Anas, Sucith, Corrina, Dimitra, Georgina, Peter, Muhammed, Mariella, Caleb and Jana...

Thank you all. It seems fitting to end this blog with the words of Buber:

"When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, G-d is the electricity that surges between them."

So may that surge of electricity spark a light that shines from here and from here to the world.

GRaduation Speech Preparation

Nageeba and I were asked to give a graduation address on behalf of the KAICIID Fellows 2015. Very humbled to have been asked and to share a platform with her.

Nageeba identified that the main learning points could be summarised in four words: Respect empathy, responsibility and reconciliation. We will both speak on these themes alternately...

We are preparing the presentation together.

Here is a short excerpt of what I am about to say:

"A wise rabbi once said that when he marched with Dr Martin Luther King at Selma that he was praying with his legs…

We learnt that empathy is putting myself in another persons shoes

And on my journey I have been put in many pairs of shoes: those belonging to those from different faiths: Hindu, Catholic, Protestant, Shia, Sufi and Sunni and Buddhists, those of teachers, social researchers, professors, monks and a nun; those shoes made in Africa, Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia. I have walked in the shoes of both men and women.

I have walked in the shoes of those who seen conflict and those who have created peace. I have walked in the shoes of my teachers… I have walked in the shoes of women and men of stature. And all those have walked in my shoes.

And they allowed me to still be myself, to be true to myself, to walk at my pace and in my way and still be me in their shoes. I thought I was brave but now I know there are those who are braver. And I shall never walk in the same way again."

Designing An Activity Plan
Wiwin (from Indonesia) and Father José posing for a photo before discussing an activity plan for the new KAICIID network.

We are now designing an activity plan for the KAICIID network for 2016.

Lots of good ideas coming out from the Fellows: joint-research, conferences, exchanges, partnerships...

We have designed an alumni association and a plan for KAICIID Fellows going forward. Jessica has been elected to be our co-ordinator. I am honoured to have been asked onto the steering group to work on communication strategy.

We are now preparing for our graduation...

Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer: Fellows Network

Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer is facilitating a session on the future of the KAICIID Network and what it might look like in the future.

We are the first cohort of KAICIID Fellows. The 2016 KAICIID Fellows are upstairs on the start of their journey together. Wishing them the best in developing their know-how, networks and projects...

Dhammananda from Sri Lanka explaining that the healing of society in conflict zones must be part of KAICIID's philosophy
Day 5: Building networks

We are now reaching the end of a nine month programme and we are looking at the future of our network.

We will graduate tonight...

It's Nageeba Time :)

Nageedba is talking about non-formal. She is speaking about the work she is doing with children in Uganda.

She has just made us close our eyes and remember what our memories from childhood. As well as interfaith she does necessary work in child safety.

Participants asked to close their eyes.
Briefing new Fellows on out Initiatives
Professor Muhammed Ilyas from Pakistan listening to Janini and Nourah talking about their book

We have selected some formal, informal and non-formal projects to present to the new fellows.

Father Jose gave a great presentation on a more formal process of education.

Seems that I am not the only one who is fan of Nourah and Janini and their joint-project... Can't wait for the book, documentary and perhaps one day the Hollywood movie...

Introducing the 2016-17 Fellows

Today we are meeting and introducing the new fellows who are just starting their Fellowship.

This is me with Justina who is Executive Director of the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Movement in Nigeria.

Day 4: Presenting to the new Fellows

The next cohort of KAICIID Fellows have arrived. We are spending the day presenting our activities to them.

Jessica is getting us all organised and pulling our afternoon show together.

Lots of memories... Good memories...

Designing a Manual for Future Fellows

This afternoon we are designing a manual for future fellows. This is Nageedba in full flow as she explains how best to design a manual... Go Group 4 (we are working on our branding...

Group Visit to Medieval Synagogue

We went to the Medieval Synagogue in Judenplatz.

Inside the remains of Or Zorua synagogue which was destroyed following the 1420 expulsion of the Jews of Vienna

We were taken around by an old friend of mine Rabbiner Shlomo Hofmeister.

We have not seen each other for 15 years. Participants are given a tour of the remains of the synagogue and the sometimes difficult history of the Jews of Vienna.

Evaluating Projects

Professor Patrice Brodeur looks at whether our programmes are formal, non-formal or informal.

Many of our projects seem to be a hybrids supported by Universities and have informal and non-formal (accredited parts of the programme).

Professor Muhammad Zia from Pakistan

Presentation looking at a course which focuses on Islamic sources for dialogue with other faiths.

Interesting approach to dealing with interfaith dialogue in Pakistan.

Day 3

We are evaluating many of our activities today and the projects which we have carried out of the last few months.

Sorry not to have been able to include all the projects but I was in synagogue when others were reporting... Respect and diversity in action.

Yusuf - From Yesterday
Yusuf explaining his project - I missed it :(

This is Yusuf who is doing amazing work in Indonesia. I missed his report though a huge fan of his work.

Spent Shabbat Services at Vienna's beautiful Staadttempel (Photo:Wikipedia)
Father Jose Nandhikkara from India

Jose is the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram and Head of the Department of Philosophy at Christ University, Bangalore. He also serves as Director of the Centre for the Study of World Religions.

His project was to create a academic course on dialogue. He wants to promote religious literacy and train religious leaders, priests and students who are in teaching roles.

Jose likes to use Wittgenstein's philosophy of language showing the notions of language games, family resemblance and form of life for inter-religious dialogue.

In addition participants visited Churches, Temples, Mosques and Viharas and Temples... This enable the Christian participants to meet with religious leaders. Also, they shared common meals to understand religions in the home...

Ali Khoei from NAJAF, IRAQ

Ali has a created an interfaith dialogue project in Najaf , Iraq involving Christians, Shia and Sunni Muslims.

This is an important project in a country that has been torn apart by was and conflict.

KAICIID and Ali will now go to Morocco and extend their work here.

Nourah and Janani

Confession here: we love these two. Nourah is from Saudi Arabia and Jananisri is from USA (via the UK). They have engaged in a very public dialogue together: Hindu and Muslim.

They met through KAICIID and now talk, Skype and speak to audiences around the world. They have introduced the other to their communities. They are writing a book and there may be a documentary to come too.

They are talking about their relationship, overcoming cultural, religious and linguistic barriers.

There book is called: "Two women, two religions, two cultures... A dialogue"

Professor Mohammad Alsheraifin

His project was to teach imams in Jordan about the culture of dialogue. Much of the project is aimed at undoing misconceptions about dialogue by teaching the value of dialogue through a Quranic lens.

The approach was textual. Six professors taught through 50 texts on the principles of dialogue with other faiths.

Other parts of the syllabus looks at freedom of choice, culture awareness and true role of religion looking at conflicts.

Mabrouka FrOm VIENNA

Teaching the teachers project in Austria. This project taught teachers and gave them methodological tools for inter-religious subjects and dialogues.

Mabrouka gave us the current cultural and political background in Austria.

She told us about a refugee project by one of her teachers. There was a shared a sock campaign in one of the schools. CARITAS had advised her that the refugees in Austria needed socks. The children brought in warm socks and distributed them to the refugees.

The teachers on this course were from Muslim, Catholic and Protestant background.

Mandalar From Mayanmar
Enjoying a meal together in Mandalar

Mandalar is from Mandalay, Myanmar. Participants on his course were Muslim, Buddhist, Bahai, Hindu and Muslim. The project looked at training religious leaders about other religions.

To fill up the knowledge gap and build up bridges among different religions by nurturing open-minded religious leaders with proper religious knowledge, in order to serve as active citizen in their society, in the religious communities and institutions for development, peace and harmony.

Katende Abdul-Fattah from Uganda
Muslim participant visits the Roman Catholic Cathedral on the course

Talking about a project in Uganda to bring students from Christian and Muslim faiths to build peace and understanding in Uganda.

This a training the trainers project: 30 trainers is all. They learn how to build peace and an understanding of each others faiths.

Christian and Islamic education is run separately within the secondary school and University.

DAY 1: Expectations

Just arrived at our third session of the 2015-16 KAICIID Fellowship. This is a group of individual educators, teachers and religious leaders who come from five faiths and across the world.

Previously, this group met for a week in Vienna and then a few days in Kuala Lumpur. We have training on the theory of Inter-Religious Dialogue and conflict resolution skills.

There are a number of projects that have been developed by individual members of the group. Also, KAICIID has asked us to develop personal projects in the locality.

The group has been working on developing local projects and will present them this afternoon but in the meantime we are looking at our expectations of working together, promoting peace and conflict resolutions and what we can offer each other in the future.

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