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20 February, 2007

Interfaith dialogue event at the British Library

Diversity and Dialogue and the British Library are holding an event on Tuesday 20 February 2007 for young Londoners aged 15 to 18 to discuss, and produce creative responses to, contemporary issues of religion. Diversity and Dialogue is a Citizenship Foundation project aiming to create better understanding between young people from different faiths and backgrounds.

Taking place at the British Library, participants will have the chance to express themselves through a packed day of workshops in media, drama, spoken word poetry and visual arts. They will also take part in discussion groups and have a rare opportunity to question representatives from all the major religions.

Discussion sessions will include:

• ‘Right to offend’ examining freedom of speech in the context of religions;

• ‘Faith in the developing world’ exploring the role of faith international development;

• ‘Living in a multi-faith society’ looking in particular at London and causes of tension;

• ‘The sanctity of life’ and ethical decision making both within and outside religion.

There will be also be an opportunity for participants to record their views on faith and diversity to camera. These recordings made in a ‘diary room’ will be made available online to schools across the country. It is hoped that some of the discussions may also be included in the British Library’s new exhibition, Sacred, which opens on 27 April.

Diversity and Dialogue Project Manager, Becky Hatch said, “This one-day event is a great opportunity for young people to have their say on important faith-related debates such as freedom of speech, feminism, global issues and multi-faith societies.” She added: “Inter-faith dialogue is gaining increasing importance within religious education and this event will provide a valuable opportunity for students to engage in dialogues about religious issues with other young people from across the city.”

To find out more please email:

Notes for editors:

1. For further information about the event, see:


2. Event flyer:


3. About Diversity and Dialogue

The Diversity and Dialogue programme is managed by an advisory group with representation from a range of secular and faith-based organisations. Diversity and Dialogue brings young people to work together for a sense of shared citizenship. http://www.diversityanddialogue.org.uk/

Future Diversity and Dialogue plans include developing a youth interfaith advocacy group and an urban-rural interfaith exchange programme.

4. About the Citizenship Foundation

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent charity (no.801360) which aims to empower individuals to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society, Founded in 1989, it focuses on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding. Its work includes resources, training, active learning programmes, community projects and research. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

5. The British Library is the national Library of the United Kingdom. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection.


All workshops use creative arts to explore and express ideas of faith, diversity and identity

Spoken Word Poetry:

“Mr Gee” – hip-hop/funk DJ, radio presenter, and hugely talented performance artist will teach you the creative skills to express yourself in spoken word poetry


Have you ever tried “Forum Theatre”? Then get into character with this modern, expressive and physical style of drama. Improvise, socialise and analyse!

Visual Arts

Art as protest! – Taking art out of the galleries and onto the streets with this hands-on visual arts workshop.

Explore the World's Knowledge

Never really explored what the British Library has to offer? Then take a journey through the British Library’s galleries and public spaces and ask questions about knowledge, information and libraries.

Media Journalism (morning session only)

Who writes the news? Who makes the news? Hit the headlines in this creative session that will get you thinking and writing a like real journalist – only this time in your own words!

Photo Media (afternoon session only)

Do photos just generate stereotypes? Or can they change the way we think? Get involved in exploring representation and identity through photographic media. Get the picture?!


Right to offend?

What is freedom of speech? Does it mean you can say anything you want about religion? Or are there limits to this fundamental human right? How to have your say in a democratic, multi-faith society. Includes speaker from Article 19 (international freedom of expression organisation)

Faith and the developing world

Should faith play a role in international development? How does religion affect the work of international charities? What are the MDGs and what are faith-based charities doing to help achieve them? Includes speakers from Christian Aid, World Jewish Relief and Islamic Relief.

Living in a multi-faith society

Do you think young people of different faiths and backgrounds get along in London? If not, what are the causes of tension? Should schools lead the way? Who can make a difference and do something at a local level? Have your say on an issue that affects you.

The sanctity of life

Does religion help us make ethical choices? What if about those who don’t have a religion? What’s your opinion on stem cell research, euthanasia, capital punishment and suicide? Should we choose or follow rules? State your opinions on these heated debates. Includes speaker from Life organisation.

Faith in the family

Does your family expect you to behave in a certain way? Should men behave one way and women another? How do faith and culture influence family values? Express your opinions and exchange experiences with people of different faiths. Includes clips from contemporary films.

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