«Под общей редакцией: М. Абусеитовой, К. Исак, Л. Ерекешевой. Составители: Л. Ерекешева, А. Асадова. Составление резюме статей на англ. языке: А. Асадовой. Перевод с ...»
Professor Doron introduced the participants of the round table to one of the more effective tools of educating toward openness, acceptance of the Other, mutual respect, and cultivation of intercultural dialogue through a role-play called “Delicate Balance” where each participant has to assume the emotional perspective of the Other while fully adopting his attitude and state of mind. The roleplay is set in the medieval historical city of Toledo, which became the greatest symbol of intercultural dialogue and multicultural cooperation in the history of mankind due to the prolific cooperation between Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities. In Toledo, members of the three communities cooperated in fields such as economics and culture, while preserving their spiritual and religious identity. As a participant, personal involvement in a delicate situation based upon a historical background creates a psychological distancing from the painful conflicts of the present, thus enabling to develop a greater awareness of the various dimensions contributing to a pluralistic culture of peace, while advocating human rights, non-violence, tolerance, intercultural understanding and cultural diversity.
The role-play presents a hypothetical situation: the mosque in the Muslim Quarter was burnt down where women and children died in the awful fire; rumor has it that the perpetrators were young Christians. The coordinator who plays the role of the representative of King Alfonso The Wise, introduces the participants to the event;
They in turn assume the role of one of the community leaders who are faced with this intriguing dilemma of whether to respond with segregation, demand vengeance, or perhaps condemn the violent act and suggest ways of rebuilding trust. Professor Doron noted that generally role-play participants feel awkward or embarrassed when assuming different personalities.
During the process, each participant expresses his attitude, feelings and reaction to the violent event. The role-play obliges participants to listen to each other and exchange ideas. Unlike in reality, where only the first immediate sentence of reaction is heard - for example: “Let’s kill them...” - the role-play invites participants to listen to a second alternative sentence that usually leads to more complex thinking such as: “What would be the consequences?” or “Would it really be worthwhile?” Role-play participants embark on a journey where they develop a mature perception of the complexity of coexistence and become aware of its difficulties and obstacles together with possibilities of conflict resolution. At the end of their journey, they generally realize that joint efforts to eliminate all evil, and reaching out to one another to promote tolerance, pave the way towards harmony and prosperity.
Grebnev Victor General Director, the Republican Fund of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan) In his presentation “The objectives and activities of the Republican Fund of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan on international dialogue”, Mr. Grebnev noted that the Fund was established as a national cultural center in 1995, which operates on the territory of Kazakhstan and abroad. The strategic goal of the Fund is to support the work of the Assembly in development of cultures, languages, customs, and traditions of the people of Kazakhstan; and the research in the field of inter-ethnic relations with a view to provide practical recommendations.
The ancient proverb says, “How many people - so many traditions and rituals.” For people of Kazakhstan, it is true by the fact that its inhabitants have all conditions for their cultural development.
The country established and operates more than 30 national cultural centers, which is a great characteristic of the political-ethnic of Kazakhstan and an example of friendship and open development of ethnic groups.
As citizens of Kazakhstan, representatives of ethnic groups not only have equal rights and duties, but a real opportunity to celebrate national ceremonies, traditions under the auspices of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan. Moreover, members of the Assembly elected their representatives to the Majilis and Senate of the Parliament. This election consolidated balance of power and formation of a democratic political system of the country.
A new step towards the development of the Kazakh society and country will include the following ambitious, but achievable objectives:
Strengthening unity and patriotism of Kazakh people;
Active participation of the Assembly in the implementation of the language policy, including the cultural project “Trinity of languages” with the aim of Kazakhs mastering three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English;
Improvement of the Assembly’s legal framework and adoption of a separate law governing its activities; and Popularization of the Kazakh model in inter-ethic harmony abroad.
Every year, the Fund conducts Days of Culture of various ethnic groups, competition for journalists for the best coverage of civil peace and interethnic accord, competition for the knowledge of the state language, and sports competitions among national and cultural centers. All these activities contribute to the strengthening of interethnic and inter-faith harmony in the Republic of Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan’s identity.
Lehr-Lehnardt Rana Researcher/ Editor, Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief (USA) Ms. Lehr-Lehnardt introduced the Tolerance Stories Project of the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief during her presentation “The Power of the Story in Teaching for Tolerance”. The Project is in the process of creating a one-volume resource book filled with thought-provoking stories of tolerance collected from fiction, history, and biographies. The resource book will feature stories that discuss various aspects and areas of tolerance and intolerance, but the book will place special emphasis on religious tolerance, which is the focus of the Oslo Coalition’s work. This resource book will hopefully enable educators in elementary and secondary schools to introduce discussions of tolerance by supplying a wide array of narratives.
Creators of the Tolerance Stories Project chose to collect and prepare narratives to teach tolerance because stories are the first and most enduring literary form and they have the power to shape people’s understanding of the world and to change their lives. Thus, stories from millennia ago or centuries ago, or only days ago, can all be easily included, side by side, in one resource book with commentaries and questions to help guide the reader and educator with discussions regarding tolerance. The value of these stories, even those stories from long ago and about people so different from ourselves, is that we learn about ourselves from learning about others.
Furthermore, additional authoritative power seems to emanate from the written word, as opposed to mere speaking. Children believe what they read in books; if the books they read are full of accounts of intolerance or intolerant speech, then children will be swayed toward thinking that behavior or speech is acceptable. But if children are given stories illustrating principles of tolerance, stories that show the humanity of all people regardless of skin tones, religion, and customs, they will learn that tolerance toward the Other and respect toward differences is acceptable. And as children read more and more stories of tolerance, they will emulate the heroes of these stories, they will influence those around them.
Intolerance is reported and written about so often, it might seem to youngsters that intolerance is simply a normal part of our world.
The Oslo Coalition’s Tolerance Stories Project recounts thoughtprovoking stories of selfless acts of humanity, the inspiring courage of those who fight against prejudice, trumpets the benefits of a diverse society, and shows the destructive power of ignorance and intolerance. Stories of tolerance are of infinite importance; they help individuals better understand the Other, they help individuals gain empathy, and ultimately act according to that empathy. And importantly, they show youth that intolerance is not the only response available to them, it shows them a better path to follow, one of dialogue, one of understanding, one of solidarity as equal human beings.
The Project seeks to compile good stories of tolerance from around the globe. A global perspective on tolerance shows that the struggle for tolerance is not limited to a single country or overcoming a single problem, but that intolerance is present in every society and must be addressed by those it affects.
Shankman Steven Chairholder, UNESCO Chair on Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue and Peace; Professor and Researcher, University of Oregon (USA) Professor Shankman’s presentation “University Mantle, City and Globe: the New UNESCO Chair at the University of Oregon” highlighted the activities of the UNESCO Chair on Transcultural Studies, Inter-religious Dialogue and Peace at the University of Oregon, which is the first Chair in the United States in UNESCO’s Intercultural Dialogue Program. A related goal of the Chair is the establishment of an International Licentiate in Transcultural Studies and Inter-religious Dialogue to be offered by the University of Oregon and also by the institutions participating in the network of Chairs in UNESCO’s Intercultural and Inter-religious Dialogue Program. This certificate would accompany the awarding of an advanced degree in any number of different fields and would vouch for the degreeholder’s having had hands-on experience, somewhere in the world with actual intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.
The Chair has been engaged in an on-going and regular series of conferences and symposia in collaboration with a number of centers around the world. The symposia and conferences held at the University of Oregon are open to public, and events are disseminated through television and streaming video that can be accessed anywhere in the world by logging onto the website of the Oregon Humanities Center.
Some examples include:
• The symposium entitled “Deep Listening: Buddhism and Psychotherapy East & West” was a joint effort of the Open Research Center of Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan, the University of Oregon, and the Institute of Buddhist Studies.
• The panel discussion on “The Role of Spirit in Healing”, which featured the book of Richard P. Sloan of Columbia University entitled Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine and Mark Unno, author of Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures:
Essays on Theories and Practices.
• The international symposium entitled “Witnessing Genocide:
Representation and Responsibility” held by Oregon Humanities Center, which explored various modes of representing genocide and an inquiry into the ethical obligations of the witness.
• Proposed is a symposium at the Russian Institute for Cultural Research in St. Petersburg, Russia, in partnership with the UNESCO Chair at the University of Oregon and with Harold D. Roth, Brown University on the physiological effects of spiritual experience.
• Proposed is a symposium on Interreligious Dialogue (Jews, Christians, Muslims) in Medieval Spain in partnership with Professor Aviva Doron, UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
The Chair actively promotes inter-religious dialogue among communities in the town of Eugene: