NI should teach 'respect, not tolerance'

Published Wednesday, 13 February 2013
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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has prepared a video message on educating young people to respect different faiths and cultures, to be shown at a Queen's University, Belfast conference.

NI should teach 'respect, not tolerance'
Tony Blair addressed the conference in Belfast in a video message. (© Getty)

Teachers, policy makers and other delegates at Wednesday's Sharing Education conference are examining the issue of delivering religious education in Northern Ireland.

Representatives from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which promotes respect and understanding about the world's religions, are joining experts from across the globe at the event.

Mr Blair describes his Face to Faith programme as "linking schools the world over, from Brisbane to Beirut to Belfast" and says he believes it has "many things in common with a shared approach to religious education in Northern Ireland".

If we want to create a more peaceful and harmonious world, then we have to start by educating young people not just to tolerate, but to respect those of a different faith and culture to their own.

Tony Blair

He added: "I really hope we can work together so that our young people are properly equipped with the skills and attitudes and understanding that they will require in the world today."

The Queen's University Sharing Education programme was established in 2007 and has so far benefitted more than 10,000 pupils from 150 schools across Northern Ireland.

Tony Gallagher, from the university, says the event is being held at a time when "following years of division and separation, interest in sharing and collaboration in education is growing".

He added: "Tony Blair's message today serves to highlight that the delivery of religious education is a global issue.

"And we are proud that the School of Education at Queen's can continue to show leadership in this area, by facilitating discussions around the opportunities for enhanced shared religious education - and shared education more generally."

© UTV News
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4 Comments
David in East Belfast wrote (651 days ago):
Tony Blair should have been called Albert Blair. He has more faces than the Albert clock. No Mr BLIAR, come into the real world and stop being a hypocrite.
Peter in Limerick wrote (651 days ago):
Tony Blair is a credit to the UK
John in Co.armagh wrote (651 days ago):
What a joke him telling the ordinary people of anywhere about respect, were did he show any respect for the victim's of terror when he browbeat the law abbiding elected representiives of the people of Northern Ireland and forced them into a power sharing goverment with the aplogists for murder namely Sinn Fein.
James in Tyrone wrote (651 days ago):
Tony Blair is the last person to pontificate to anyone about respect. He said we should 'create a more peaceful and harmonious world' lets not forget he was in power in Britain when they went into Iraq and Afghanistan with all guns blazing.
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