Filipino students hold virtual dialogue with Indian teens on religion, culture
It’s a face-off aimed at fostering understanding and quelling conflict.
A total of 20 students from a Pasig high school recently held a virtual dialogue with fellow teenagers in India to share their thoughts on culture and religion—a meeting geared toward increasing young people’s awareness of interfaith understanding.
Held on March 26, the video conference between students of Manggahan High School and St. Mark’s Secondary School in New Delhi was part of the Philippine debut of “Face to Faith,” a global initiative of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation (TBFF).
The group from the Pasig high school was the first batch of Filipino students to take part in the dialogue since Blair and Philippine education officials agreed to implement the program in the Philippines.
Veil of ignorance, mistrust
“When we get to know the culture, social and religious practices of people not known to us before, the veil of ignorance and mistrust is taken off so that trust and friendship can grow,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
The local implementation of Face to Faith is being facilitated by Xavier School, the program’s lead school in the country.
The video conference was moderated from the United States by TBFF’s Cory Davis.
‘Fantastic, genuine dialogue’
“I must say that this was one of the most interesting video conferences I have done. I think these two schools have kids that can produce a fantastic, genuine dialogue,” Davis said of the dialogue.
During the exchange, Indian students shared their religious practices.
“The Filipino students responded by sharing pictures and stories about religious feasts in the Philippines, as well as regional festivals … They were understandably nervous and excited at the same time. After all, how often do you get to actually speak with young Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians from India?” TBFF said in a post at its website.
The Philippines is the 17th country to adopt TBFF’s program which started in 2008 and aims to “promote respect and understanding between people and faith and those of none” and tap the power of “multi-faith action” to fight poverty and conflict.