Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government about education as means to tackle violence based on religion or belief

chelmsford170119bOn 10th July 2019 Baroness Berridge asked the Government  “what plans they have to recognise the newly designated United Nations Day for commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief on 22 August”. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, perhaps I may say that, on behalf of many of us, we welcome the Government’s support for this day, although we hugely grieve for the fact that such a day is necessary. One of the best ways that we will tackle continuing violence, based on religion or belief, in the long run will be through education. I wonder whether Her Majesty’s Government are planning or investing in the training of educators and religious leaders from countries where there are high levels of freedom of religion or belief violations, so that we can promote respect and peaceful coexistence. This would be a very profitable investment.

Baroness Goldie: I thank the right reverend Prelate, who makes an extremely important point. To reassure him, the Government agree with his assessment. Indeed, education is key to our work on freedom of religion or belief. To illustrate: between 2016 and 2018, the FCO funded a programme run by Hardwired in which 56 teachers from Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco created and developed innovative educational curricula that promoted greater respect for the rights and freedoms of all people, especially those who think and believe differently from them. Over 1,000 schoolchildren took part in the programme. The right reverend Prelate is absolutely correct, and we will continue to look for further ways to promote respect through education.