Printer Friendly

A day for reaching out.

If you ask someone what is the biggest issue to be addressed in today's world they might suggest the Middle East, overpopulation, global warming, the gap between rich and poor, the impact of globalization or any one of dozens more seemingly intractable problems.

Few can doubt that improved human relationships would increase the chance of global cooperation on some of the problems that, at first sight, may seem purely technical.

But whose job is it to build bridges across divided communities or between rivals? Reaching out to `the other' is so important that it cannot be left to politicians and academics alone.

If every person could meet someone from `the other group', away from the spotlight and without an agenda, it could be the first step in opening up a dialogue, and perhaps discovering that he or she has qualities on which a basis of understanding could be built.

It would be a long journey from such individual contacts to building better relations between different religious and ethnic groups, let alone nations, but, as the proverb says, `The longest journey starts with the first step.'

A realistic first step is being promoted by Initiatives of Change. 1 June this year is being designated as a reaching-out day, with the theme, `Open homes, listening hearts'. Everyone, in whatever country he or she lives, is being asked to open their heart and home to a person, family or group from a community different from their own and with whom they would not normally interact. This will mean crossing religious, ethnic, tribal or social barriers, and being open to hearing the other person's concerns, views and assumptions even--or perhaps especially--where they are contrary to our own. It will be an honest attempt to break down stereotypes and make a contribution, however small, to bridging global divisions.

In this issue of FAC we feature some who have reached out to people of other cultures and religions. Through their initiatives they have enriched others and they have themselves been enriched. Reaching out involves risk. You may be misunderstood by your own side, or by the other. But history shows that the risk can often be worth taking.
COPYRIGHT 2002 For A Change
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Initiatives for Change declares June 1st to be a day for cultural understanding
Author:Noble, Kenneth
Publication:For A Change
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:362
Previous Article:Ear to the ground.
Next Article:A time for dialogue between the West and Islam; Frederic Chavanne argues that it is more important to get to know Muslims than to have opinions about...
Topics:


Related Articles
Let's take a close look at mental health issues.
A brief (and personal) glance back: David W. Baker: past editor, SchoolArts (1978-89). (A Look at the Past).
From the Editor.
Teaching across cultures in an international seminar.
From the editor.
Editorial.
The new face of risk.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters