Student peace ambassadors meet at Auschwitz

Endeavouring to promote interreligious dialogue as a tool for building peace, members of the International Movements of Catholic Students have met with students from other major monotheistic faiths at the International Youth Centre in the Polish town of Oswiecim, better known to the world by its German name of Auschwitz.

Malta's Di-ve reports that the group of 32 interfaith students met at Oswiecim under the direction of the IYCS-IMCS (International Youth Catholic Students - International Movements of Catholic Students) in collaboration with European Union of Jewish Students, Forum of European Muslim Youth Student Organisation and World Student Christian Federation - Europe.

Located next to the former German Nazi KL Auschwitz-Birkenau, this was an ideal venue for Christian, Jewish and Muslim youths, aged 15-28 from eleven European countries to discuss "Youth Interreligious dialogue as a bridge to peace."

The seminar at the International Youth Centre opened with an introduction on the topic of human rights in the context of the various religious communities.

Dr Piotr Cywinski, the newly-elected director of the Auschwitz Museum, delivered a lecture entitled "God, human and Europe after Auschwitz" which served as a prelude to a visit to the former concentration camps.

Students from eleven European countries participated in the program which also included a visit to Cracow city.

Recommendations from the seminar included efforts to promote interreligious dialogue and ecumenism.

"Governments of different countries should implement projects with the aim of increasing religious tolerance amongst their citizens," the students said in a statement prepared at the seminar.

"It is therefore necessary for the state and religious authorities to show respect to one another. We must remember that the human religious person is not split in two: one must integrate in society while practicing one's faith.

"Finally, we feel that it is our duty to act as ambassadors of peace in our countries and movements committing ourselves to develop further projects in the field of inter-religious dialogue," the students concluded.

Summerweek 2006 ( Di-ve.com, 20/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
International Young Christian Students (IYCS)
International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS)
European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) (Wikipedia)
Forum of European Muslim Youth Organisations (FEMYSO)
World Student Christian Federation Europe

21 Aug 2006