Unlocking the leadership potential in young South Africans

Is Religion only for the Religious? – Interfaith Day hosted by St Cyprian’s School and Herzlia High School Student Leadership

On the 21st of June, the student leadership of St Cyprian’s School and Herzlia High School co-hosted the annual Interfaith Day, inviting fellow grade 11s to participate in a day of dialogue and engagement around questions of interfaith. The day included interactive activities facilitated by Face to Face | Faith to Faith, as well as a panel discussion on the question of ‘Is religion only for the religious?’ Below are some thoughts and reflections from participants and organisers.

Students interacted in small groups meeting new people from different backgrounds, faiths and traditions

Students interacted in small groups meeting new people from different backgrounds, faiths and traditions

“The Interfaith Day 2015 was an incredible experience, not only as an organiser of the event but also as a participant. We asked our panelists and students to consider various aspects about religion through the question ‘is religion only for the religious? ‘ and through this we were able to learn so much about faith,  beliefs and the future of our society. This also facilitated open and free discussions between students from different religious backgrounds.

Personally, I feel that we, as students, received so much insight from a few hours of open and honest discussion. We were able to explain our views on various topics and the different facets of our beliefs.  Through this we also learnt about different religions: what their practices and beliefs are and why they are significant.  Most importantly, we learnt that we all share common principles and values.

I feel that this day was a highly successful event for each and every participant as we gained so much from the experience. I learnt that it is events like this, in the hands of the youth, that will facilitate positive changes in our communities and most importantly, that religion, not matter what your background, beliefs or status, is different but also stands for everyone. ”

– Alana Williams, Head Girl of St. Cyprian’s School

Panelists representing different faith traditions and perspectives

Panelists representing different faith traditions and perspectives

“The St Cyprian’s School and Herzlia High Interfaith Day provided us, as students and young South Africans, to engage with people of different beliefs, backgrounds and opinions. There was healthy dialogue and all who participated left with a better understanding of themselves and of those around them, along with a strong motivation to be the change that they’d like to see in our communities. “

– Kyla Damonse, Academic Portfolio Team Member and a Member of the Model United Nations at St. Cyprian’s School

Participants of Interfaith Day 2015

Participants of Interfaith Day 2015

“What stood out for me from this event was there was a clear message that came through in the participants’ discussions and interactions. This was simply that the young people of today cannot believe in a religion that excludes the ‘Other’. Whether it be around issues of homosexuality, gender in religion or just simple divides of religious beliefs, young people are calling for a space of where they’re free to be who they want to be – and religious leaders and institutions need to be listening to this.”

– Sarah Oliver, Face to Face | Faith to Faith Facilitator