Last Tuesday on the 18th, after much hard work and perseverance, "The Dialogue: Education For Peace" was held at the Faculty Dining Hall at Lehman College. And it was very successful.
Members of the World Youth Parliament, Idente Student Association and All Is Love, with The Symbol himself, attended this crucial meeting to discuss how peace is practiced and put forth by various religions and to find the commonality of what keeps us all connected despite our different religious backgrounds.
Among the panelists speaking at the event was Dr. Anthony Cernera, the former President of Sacred Heart University, a Bronx native and renowned President of Inter-Religious understanding, Jonathan Berenguer, a fellow Bronx native of Christian faith, Siddiq Nadeem Mohammed, another Bronx native of the Muslim faith and Avena Ramautar also from the Bronx, of the Hindu faith.
The event was full of profound testimonies from each panelist, with the audience asking profound questions: what are the misconceptions of religious belief? What is the main cause(s) of misunderstanding amongst people of faith? What can be done to engage in a dialogue free from prejudice and maintain deep friendship and understanding? Is this possible?
Each panelist respectfully answered each question with profound accuracy, based on their own personal experience of trying to understand the other. It was completely agreed that it is a viewpoint of ego and ignorance within the human person that causes prejudice and malice amongst the religions. But the most profound answer that all the panelists came into agreement was, simply: A need for Empathy. Our overarching desire to teach others peace despite differences by embracing humility and fostering friendships driven by love is a Universal desire. This, the panelists agreed, must be promoted more frequently by living our lives by the virtues of Peace, Love and understanding. "We all have a 'call' to our own vocation", said Dr. Cernera, "which is to understand that 'I am a blessing for others'". Though not all the questions could be asked, each person attending, including the panelists themselves, came from the meeting touched profoundly and more deeply committed to live out their lives, that we are all teachers and educators of peace.
During the discussion a video made by the World Youth Parliament was shown, documenting the events of the International Session in Berlin, Germany which took place this past August, as well as some of the participants discussing their impressions on the Manifesto of Education.
The Dialogue was followed up by a smaller meeting at Lehman College today. More info on that soon.
Much gratitude and thanks to all who participated in creating this great event, as well as attending, sharing and learning from each other.