We live together, we speak together

We live together, we speak together.The project 'We live together, we speak together' is a study about tolerance and the culture of dialogue. The project attempts to encourage the positive change in the Czech society regarding increased tolerance, critical thinking and equal dialogue.

Caritas Czech Republic will offer the complex education program to elementary and high school teachers, simultaneously educating themselves but also the students they teach. Thus highlighting the increasing plight of many cultures and religions is becoming more frequent targets of passive or even active discrimination, especially in atheist Czech Republic.

Why does it make sense?

In recent times religious topics, especially Islam, may trigger certain emotions and reactions in the Czech Republic. Media sometimes propagate stereotypical assumptions, disinformation or hateful campaigns without providing context, which may then spread uncontrollably on social media. There is a deepening mistrust, fear and misunderstanding of cultures and religions differing from the norm.

The study of religion in institutions is not considered to be the norm and where taught, they often do not include relevant or interesting study materials. The students are neither encouraged to engage in critical thinking, nor to verify their information from several resources nor to lead a dialogue with culturally or religiously different individuals. They are, thus, not capable of the critical assessment skills needed to fully comprehend the masses of information disseminating from media or social websites daily.

What is the objective?

Teachers will be re-educated as to how to grasp inter-religious dialogue and how to safely and effectively include it in the educational syllabus. Islam, along with Christianity and other religious, as well as the relation between religion and atheism, state or society will be some of the many topics to be discussed.

The teachers will be taught new approaches to methodology in addition to well-tested, Czech-adopted international methodology in autumn 2016. Additionally, there will be other educational materials, e.g. videoclips with Czech subtitles, case studies, stories and information graphics.

The teachers and students will also meet with representatives of various religions (Czech people or foreigners living in the Czech Republic). This is an example of new methodology, known as "Live library". This is when an individual with certain life experience becomes a 'Living book' and share one's story with a 'reader'.

Individually, the schools can also partner up with a school abroad (e.g. in the Middle East) or within Czech Republic with a school whose students are of different religious views. The students will lean from such personal experience with the peers of different cultures and religious views via the Internet.

Each school can also choose the activities that fulfill its specific needs and gain support for its accomplishment (with the help of lecturers, Methodists, volunteers etc.). There will be three meetings a year, during which teachers will be closely introduced to the topic, and provided with adequate methods, as well as examples from praxis. They will then be able to take part in discussions with professionals and believers of various religions.

Partnership organization

Caritas Czech Republic formed a strong partnership with educational organization ARPOK, creating activities for elementary schools, high schools, and universities along with the organization, Insaan – a Czech-Arab centre for cultural dialogue that focuses on awareness raising of the public and of students in schools.

Caritas Czech Republic has consulted with prominent Czech professionals during religious and interreligious dialogues concerning the offered activities.

The project was supported and facilitated by the kind donations of the Czech Development Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, within the Programme of Foreign Development Agency in the Czech Republic.

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