JPII Leader Nataliia Pavlyk (Cohort XII), just began an internship at the Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation department of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. Nataliia, originally from Ukraine, says “I am excited to become a part of the world leading organization active in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.”
“The main field of my work is to strengthen interreligious encounters through bilateral and multilateral dialogues,” explains Nataliia. These dialogues focus on such topics as religion and violence, perception of “the other” and the search of identity in pluralistic society.
Reflecting on the current state of the world, she said that she “hopes to qualitatively contribute to building bridges between representatives of different religious traditions, especially during the global quarantine when people have become physically and emotionally isolated from each other.” Achieving this will not be easy, Nataliia thinks the most challenging part will be implementing new interreligious initiatives at the grassroots level involving people of different faiths who suffer from pandemic.
She recognizes that the way we do interreligious dialogue may have to change, explaining that “now we see that only theoretical dialogues between famous religious leaders are not enough, we have to move to practical actions encouraging interfaith engagement among ordinary people globally. Such an approach should plant a seed of tolerance and solidarity for future interfaith encounters after the pandemic.”
As a very recent graduate of the Russell Berrie Fellowship program, Nataliia sees how that experience has significantly enriched and prepared her for the work at the WCC. She observes that “a strong academic formation and a number of practical interreligious activities in Rome and Israel provided me with unique key competences needed for contemporary interfaith engagement on a high professional level.”
We are very proud of Nataliia and wish her a wonderfully enriching internship experience!