Schools: Challenges of Middle East Dialogue
27 / 11 / 23
09 / 06 / 21
by Raahim Zafar
Since 2004 F&BF has been working in schools to enable students to meet and learn about people of different faiths and beliefs. We run workshops and linking programmes across with schools across the country and have won several awards along the way.
To succeed in today’s complex and diverse world, young people need to be able to communicate sensitively and effectively with anyone, regardless of beliefs or background.
The Faith and Belief Forum runs school workshops to give students, at both primary and secondary school age, the opportunity to hear from and interact with speakers from a diverse range of faith backgrounds. These speakers all share their personal stories of faith (or no faith!) and how their lives have brought them to where they are today.
Living in a society where talking about religion is oftentimes at least a little bit taboo, it is hard to imagine what people of a worldview different to yourself think and have experienced, and so these workshops provide an invaluable insight into the mind and beliefs of another. These workshops are hosted by an expert facilitator from F&BF and alongside the stories that the students hear from 3 individuals, they also learn principles of dialogue that are at the heart of F&BF’s work and vital for positive, beneficial discussion.
In 2021 we also created a series of online F&BF speaker stories for schools to use along with supplementary resources. These can be found here and for anyone interested in booking in person workshops anywhere in the country they can find the application form here.
“I feel it was more about just getting to know each other. I actually made friends. I got to learn about their beliefs and they learnt about ours. We got to experience each other’s lives and how different but also how similar we are.”
– Secondary School Student
In addition to the workshops, F&BF runs a School Linking programme The School Linking Programme that matches students and classes from different cultural or faith backgrounds to explore issues of identity, community and belief.
Over the course of three Link Days over the academic year, students and teachers deepen their knowledge and understanding of different backgrounds and beliefs developing and refining thereby skills of communication, empathy and reflection which are vital to build a healthily plural society that F&BF was set up to work towards in 1997.
Moreover, the sessions contribute to schools achieving their targets for providing lessons in British Values and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC). Teachers attend 3 CPD days and gain resources to further their work in cultivating students for an ever increasingly diverse society with tact and cultural sensitivity.
See more about school linking here: