Interfaith Scotland’s Youth Committee has organised seven youth conferences. The most recent of these was held at the University of Dundee. Members of the Youth Committee met every few weeks for several months to plan the conference. They decided on the title ‘From Conflict to Co-operation’ as they were keen not to shy away from the fact that there are many conflicts in the world, and that religion can be used both as a tool to incite hatred and division as well as a force for positive change in the world. The conference also highlighted the key role that interfaith dialogue can play in peace building. The keynote speaker was Rev Thaddeus Umaru, who has worked with the Imam and the Pastor in Nigeria who brought reconciliation between warring Muslim and Christian groups there.
There was a fascinating array of workshops on offer. Elaine Watts from BEMIS shared about the potential that Human Rights Education can have in promoting a peaceful, more equitable and just world. Nadia El-Nakla from Amina MWRC looked at negative stereotypes that people can have about people of faith, and how to combat these. Thaddeus Umaru from Nigeria and Haroon Ahmed lead a workshop looking at examples of faith inspired conflict resolution. Students of Religious and Moral Education at the University of Dundee showcased a variety of fun activities that can be used in the Peace Education curriculum. Alastair McIver, a storyteller, gave a very enjoyable workshop on Storytelling and Conflict Resolution and Interfaith Scotland youth volunteers lead a workshop showcasing some of Interfaith Scotland’s youth activities.
Alongside the speakers and workshops, there was a very colourful exhibition giving information about the different faiths, which was put together by the volunteers. Lunch was a vegetarian buffet and some attendees made short videos about what faith meant to them. The event came to a close with a panel discussion made up the speakers alongside representatives of each of the faith communities.