NI should teach 'respect, not tolerance'

NI should teach 'respect, not tolerance'

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.

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

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