On Wednesday 8 August, Newman College hosted the Building Bridges Project. This project, which brings together young people, from four of the great faiths, fosters harmony and friendship, as well as a clearer understanding of each other’s beliefs. The students have discovered during the first two workshops, that our similarities far outweigh our differences.
Through their participation in the project, our students develop their interpersonal and leadership skills. This was certainly evident when witnessing how they conducted themselves as they welcomed our guests from the Australian Islamic College, Carmel School and Carey Baptist College.
The workshop commenced with the Acknowledgement of Country, followed by a formal welcome by Mr Finneran. Following this, there was a very moving moment when all participants – Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews were united in a moment of silent prayer for the success of our workshop and for the role these young people will play in Australian society, in the future.
This moment of reverence gave way to the popular concentric circle activity in which the students engaged in a “speed dating” style of dialogue, which provides the opportunity for each student to talk to around 25 different students in about half an hour. The final part of the workshop consisted of morning tea and small group discussions led by facilitators, who are former students of the schools. We are very grateful to Yadava Ellegala, Angela Powell, Tom Crellin and Hala Shanableh for their ongoing support as facilitators.
Next week, we are off to Carey Baptist College in Harrisdale.
Jenny Lindsay, Social Justice Mentor
Meeting students from the Australian Islamic College, Carmel High School, and Carey Baptist College was a very exciting and interesting experience. The workshop was a day of learning I will never forget. Asking questions and learning about different religions allowed me to understand the many religious communities within Perth. Finding similarities within the different faiths helped me to create friendships with many of the students. It also allowed me to see that we were all Abrahamic religions, and everyone has the common goal to live a good life.
Sarah Ranieri, Year 11
The Building Bridges Project offers an amazing platform to collaborate with people from other religious backgrounds, challenge stereotypes, create new friends and celebrate our diversity. We have learned so much about each other’s faiths and where common values and beliefs become myths in the moment. It is a great program, with a great result.
Matthew Giumelli, Year 11