11 October 2011

Interfaith Week lands at Sydney Uni!

On the wall of the law building library when you enter this week you will find a small exhibition with designs of the Temple of Solomon based on detailed sketches drawn by none other than Isaac Newton, who was a gifted polymath with various interests, among which he took a particular interest in Christian theology.

It is apt that yesterday was the first day of the first week of the first interfaith festival on campus. It marked the reinitiation of a tradition of student institutions engaging with religion on campus after a hiatus starting in the 70s. At the launch event there was a sense of excitement that this was the start of a more full intellectual dialogue on campus. A dialogue which would acknowledge and respect the fundamental role faith plays in shaping the behaviour and beliefs of many. This dialogue, however, is not just between the USU and the students. It's between the religious clubs themselves. In our multicultural community it's essential that we promote harmony between the faiths to prevent the flaring up of sectarian tensions which occasionally occurs on campus and the wider community. Interfaith week, the brain child of 2010/11 Board Director, James Flynn, will be buttressed by an interfaith council next year, to help promote the values of mutual respect and harmony and improve the engagement of the USU with this large and active body of students on campus.

The launch event, which took place at the student owned and run space, Hermann's in Wentworth, was a modest success. A panel including the leaders of various religious societies on campus spoke of the significance of faith in the university experience. The frank and respectful discussion revolved around how university is a time for many when we work out what we believe, how we make ethical decisions, and try to identify the greater purpose in our life. For the 1000 students actively involved in the 18 religious clubs on the main campus and for many others involved with religious institutions in their local communities, God and a sacred text are central to that search for truth.

The 2011 interfaith convenors, Sarah Segal (AUJS) and Kate Wilcox (EU), along with the leaders of the various religious clubs on campus, have put on a fantastic schedule of events for the week. Please check the program below:

The religion and women panel, chaired by the USU Board of Directors' own Brigid Dixon; The "10 Things I Hate about Jews" AUJS event; The Great Debate; The Religion and LGBTIQ Panel; The combined Christian clubs event about the Historicity of Jesus and the Interfaith Poetry Slam (which it's still not too late to enter!) should all prove to be highlights. Rock up to at least one, you never know where it will take you. University events are where relationships are born, faith is won and lost, and formative experiences gained.

Thank you to the convenors and USU staff, especially Mona Jindi for their excellent preparation for and execution of the festival so far. 

The USU Board looks forward to catching you at some of the events during the week.


Mina Nada
Board Director

No comments :

Post a Comment