ACU member universities are invited to participate in our new initiative on faith and mutual respect – an ambitious exercise to identify ways in which universities with a strong faith mission can develop practical means of promoting respect, understanding, and objectivity among staff, students, and their local communities.
The programme draws on the ACU’s uniquely diverse membership which includes faith-based member universities from five major religions across the world. Designed to be highly practical in nature, it will identify ways in which mutual respect can be actively promoted through teaching and extracurricular activities. Initial funding has been obtained from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Findings will contribute both to the work of participating institutions, and to wider international debates on the role of universities in creating open-minded graduates and moderate societies.
The initiative was developed during the ACU Conference of University Leaders, held in Ghana in July 2016, which featured a plenary session on ‘universities, faith and tolerance’. The session, led by vice-chancellors from Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian universities, discussed how institutions can help contribute to common understanding, emphasising the need for openness and dialogue.
The next stage will be a small, specialist seminar for faith-based institutions, hosted by Liverpool Hope University, UK, from 30 January to 1 February 2017.
Over the next few months, the programme will broaden beyond its initial group of participants, seeking to develop a public library of good practice from throughout the Commonwealth, a digital campaign to define and promote common values, and staff and student exchanges between institutions from different faith traditions. Ideas, examples, and expressions of support are welcome. Participation is open to all ACU member universities.