The Alliance and member organizations hold conferences, panels, and symposium focused on social issues facing our communities. Topics include peace building, tolerance, interfaith dialogue, and the importance of access to quality education.
Misunderstanding or lack of information often breeds intolerance. This is why the Alliance and its members hold symposiums, conferences, and lectures centered on the importance of education and its role in building tolerant communities. Past topics have included “Islamic Traditions of Peace and Nonviolence”, “Education as a Resource for Building Bridges”, and “Culture and Society: The Need for Inclusion.”
Last January, our member organization, Peace Islands Institute collaborated with Martin Luther King Foundation to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by teaching interested participants how to write calligraphy. Calligraphy expert, Mr. Salih Gocmen demonstrated how to use tools as well as, taught different styles and technique to volunteers. Following the training, the attendees were able to create their own work and develop their skills. Peace Island Institutes goal of this event was to show their support of projects that cultivate peace and intercultural understanding.
A Peace Islands Institute event
We also aim to inform people about different cultures by holding a speaker series, inviting distinguished professionals to give a speech on any number of topics. Last year, the President of the University of Dallas, Thomas W. Keefe, delivered a speech about the impact of education in building unity to an event hosted by member organization the Institute for Interfaith Dialog. President Keefe spoke about the importance of education to creating understanding among people of diverse backgrounds as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series.
International Conference on Peacebuilding Through Education
Fountain Magazine organized an international conference titled “Peacebuilding Through Education: Challenges, Opportunities, and Cases” on September 24, 2012 in New York. Alliance for Shared Values and four other partner organizations took on exploring how education can be an agent of peacebuilding around the world.
We face many questions and challenges as to how we can coexist in peace with contemporary neighbors—neighbors who are now greater in number than before yet less familiar with our culture and beliefs. How can we transform our encounters with one another into enriching experiences, rather than as hateful gatherings? Is sincere understanding of the “other” ever possible? Can “dialogue” bring satisfaction or has it simply become a formality to bear? What sorts of methods can be implemented to achieve tangible results out of theoretical discussions and good wishes uttered all over? How will our generations respond to the rise of global dynamics vis-à-vis local identities and cultural riches? And how can education and cultural activities play a role in this response?