In an increasingly interconnected world, marred by escalating geopolitical tensions, the role of Australian schools in fostering interfaith and intercultural understanding has never been more important.
As school and community leaders, principals possess the unique opportunity to instill in their students not only academic wisdom, but also the tools to navigate a diverse global landscape. Indeed, cultivating empathy, respect, and knowledge across different cultures and faiths can form the bedrock of a more unified future. By championing these values, schools can prepare young people for a world where differences are celebrated, and commonalities are the bridges that bring us together.
On Thursday 19 October, NSW high school students from across the state and all school sectors will converge for the 2023 Together For Humanity (TFH) NSW Youth Summit, being held at the Parliament of NSW and St Stephen’s Uniting Church.
The summit, uniting students from 17 schools spanning the state’s Independent, Catholic and Government sectors, will see Catholic, Islamic, Jewish and other faiths represented, enabling a rich opportunity for young people to voice their ideas around diversity, inclusion and community cohesion.
During the summit, students will speak specifically about issues that are directly impacting their local areas and school communities and also present to politicians and local leaders, brainstorming solutions that push for a prejudice-free Australia.
“The aim of the Together For Humanity NSW Youth Summit is to create a space for young people centred on collaboration, belonging and cohesion,” Annette Schneider, Relieving Chief Executive Officer, Together For Humanity told The Educator.
“The theme is ‘Diversity and Connection’, so it’s important that we facilitate an event where differences are shared and celebrated, everyone can contribute and use their voice, and where students from a variety of schools work in collaboration.”
Schneider said when young people are encouraged and enabled to actively engage with issues they find important, it’s inspiring to see the ideas and solutions they come up with.
“We expect it to be a day of inter-school and intercultural connection, where students can learn from each other and from our special guests,” she said.
“We know they will leave feeling empowered to become positive changemakers in their schools and communities, and eventually the wider world. With schools from across NSW attending, we’re sure there will be some wonderful new friendships formed as well.”