GNRC Europe Meets in Paris to Plan Regional Initiatives

Eighteen members of the GNRC Europe met in Paris from May 25-27, 2007, to identify the main problems facing children across Europe and determine how the GNRC will respond in the region in the lead-up to the GNRC Third Forum in May 2008.

GNRC Europe members came from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK, and represented four religious communities: Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim. The Christian participants represented Anglican, Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic traditions. Prayer was an integral part of the meeting, with each day’s opening mediation led by a different religious community.

During the meeting, two young adults from the UK presented the Toolkit on Interfaith Ethics Education for Children to the group, sharing their enthusiasm and experience from the recent Training Workshop in India. 

Two Muslim participants from Denmark also shared the painful situation they are currently experiencing due to the stigmatization of their religion, and the group responded with a strong message of solidarity.

 The group identified the following critical problems facing children in Europe.

  •  the dissolution of family structure, and its negative consequences on children
  • violence — including physical and verbal violence, racism and the stigmatization of certain religious minorities
  • marginalization that particularly affects migrant families, the Roma people and other so-called “second class” citizens
  • materialism brought on by an erosion of values, by individualism, by the attempt to eliminate the idea of transcendency, and by selfishness
  • difficulties in communication and a lack of sharing

 The meeting also determined that the GNRC Europe will address these issues in the lead-up to the GNRC Third Forum through:

  • Ethics education with an emphasis on spirituality and the participation of children. Further training in use of the Toolkit in Europe was recommended.
  • Providing interfaith and intercultural learning opportunities, including the use of art and music and the sharing of celebrations, prayers and festivals.
  • Offering spaces for dialogue and encounter for addressing specific issues and facilitating experiences of participation and inclusion. The development of more effective communication strategies was recommended, in order to enhance the visibility of the GNRC in the media and among religious communities.


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