15 December 2021

The Role of YOUth in Interreligious Dialogue: An Interfaith Event in London

With the support of the John Paul II Center, an interfaith event, “The Role of YOUth in Interreligious Dialogue,” took place on December, 2, 2021, on the premises of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London.

The event’s main speaker was Rev. Jan Nowotnik (Cohort X, UK), Director of Mission and National Ecumenical Officer at Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The event was moderated by Dr. Taras Dzyubanskyy (Cohort III, Ukraine), theologian and lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University, Director of the Institute Religion and Society, and Senior Alumni Advisor at the JPII Center.

The goal of “The Role of YOUth in Interreligious Dialogue” was to have an interactive discussion with young adults interested in interfaith relations. What is interreligious dialogue, and how youth can be engaged in interfaith activities? These and similar questions were discussed in an informal conversation with Rev. Nowotnik and Dr. Dzyubanskyy.

The second part of the event was dedicated to learning how interfaith dialogue can happen online, on social media, and in virtual space. Four young religious leaders and media makers – Dr Maryyum Mehmood, Sabah Ahmedi, Lauren Keiles, and Atif Rashid – who recently took part in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Intercultural Initiative EDIN (Empowering Dialogue and Interfaith Networks) showcased their social media campaigns.

Such campaigns aim to highlight positive examples of peaceful coexistence and interfaith harmony among three Abrahamic faiths and celebrate diversity, promote inclusion and tolerance, address radicalization, hate speech, prejudices and biases, extremist views about ‘the other’ and related violence.

According to Rev. Jan Nowotnik, “The Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Dialogue is an excellent example of an interfaith programme that gives knowledge and expertise in the interfaith field. The diversity within the John Paul II Center Leaders Network provides a chance and an opportunity for dialogue and interaction to happen before students actually learn theology and history of dialogue.”

This initiative was funded by the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue. We congratulate Rev. Jan Nowotnik and Dr. Taras Dzyubanskyy on the rich outcomes of their project promoting interfaith dialogue among the youth in the UK!