By Nirmala Carvalho
“Education has a vital role to play” to build peace, given that we live “in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society,” Fr. Magi Murzello rector of St Andrews College in Mumbai told AsiaNews.
He is also the editor of Edu Focus, a magazine that is distributed to principals, directors, and managers of all educational institutions in the archdiocese.
The growing fundamentalist incidents towards Christian schools and other minorities render educational efforts for peace even more urgent.
This is why EduFocus dedicated its July issue to a joint document, published by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Council of Churches, entitled “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective”.
After some theological reflections on education according to Christianity, the text considers the various “steps” that must be followed in order for education to build peace, through a profound self-awareness, an opening to the other, an attentive use of the media, an increasingly personal spirituality.
Although the document aims to raise awareness among Christians, it can also give hints and suggestions to other religious or non-religious traditions.
On 25 July last, Card. Oswald Gracias delivered a copy of the magazine to the Minister for Youth, Sport and Education of the State of Maharashtra (photo 1).The issue of EduFocus also contains a message from Msgr Indunil K Kodithuwakk, secretary of the Pontifical Council.
Among other things, he writes: “We live in a fractured world with wounds caused by ethnic, tribal, caste,religious and other types of violence and conflicts. Since children bear the brunt of these conflicts, it is a matter of great urgency to heal their wounds in order to assure ourselves of a peaceful future. We regard the school as the institution that forms the citizens of tomorrow.
Inclusive education shapes an inclusive society.”Msgr. Kodithuwakk also recalls the importance given by Pope Francis to education, in his speech in Abu Dhabi, at the global Conference on Human Fraternity: “Education — in Latin, it means “extracting, drawing out” — is to bring to light the precious resources of the soul. [ …] Education also happens in a relationship, in reciprocity.
Alongside the famous ancient maxim “know yourself”, we must uphold “know your brother or sister”: their history, their culture and their faith, because there is no genuine self-knowledge without the other.As human beings, and even more so as brothers and sisters, let us remind each other that nothing of what is human can remain foreign to us.
It is important for the future to form open identities capable of overcoming the temptation to turn in on oneself and become rigid. Investing in culture promotes a decrease in hatred and a growth in civilization and prosperity.
Education and violence are inversely proportional “.Msgr. Kodithuwakk concludes, pushing for the dissemination of the joint document.