In multicultural and post-conflict societies schools and teachers play a crucial role in the promotion of interreligious dialogue, mutual understanding and social cohesion. The aim of DIDAR is to develop teacher competences in facilitation of dialogue, peace-building and intercultural understanding. We think this is best done by practicing what we preach – so we focus on student participation, practical exercises in dialogue and cooperation with civil society organizations. Dialogue cannot be leaned in theory, it has to be lived and practiced. Therefore DIDAR combines theoretical studies with the development of practical competences and the fostering of inclusive attitudes to religious and cultural diversity. We base the program on the principles of equality in difference, mutual respect and human rights.
The first DIDAR program was initiated in August 2014 with participation of students from Lebanon, Russia, Turkey and Europe (including Danish students from UCC). We study the role of schools and teachers in facilitating of mutual understanding, conflict transformation and the practice of dialogue.
The DIDAR program combines several activities:
- Intercultural education in theory and practice with the participation of students form many different countries and cultures
- The study and practice of conflict transformation, intercultural/ inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation in multicultural and post-conflict societies
- The development of sustainable partnerships between educational institutions in Denmark and Lebanon (and possibly in the future other countries in the MENA region)
- The development of new and innovative didactics of dialogue and reconciliation – in collaboration with and between participating students.
DIDAR has received funding from “Danmission fund for MENA-DK Interreligious Dialogue Initiatives”, which is part of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program, and it was developed in cooperation with Notre Dame University: NDU, Lebanon
The two universities have engaged in a partnership in order to develop sustainable programs for student exchange and cooperation. In the first DIDAR classes five students from NDU participated at UCC in the autumn of 2014 and two more are participating in the spring semester of 2015. Five Danish students and two professors from UCC spent a week in Lebanon in February 2015 practicing dialogue and studying religious diversity, conflict transformation and reconciliation together with students and professors from NDU. A new group from Denmark will be visiting NDU in May 2015.