Putting faith in FCO China mission

Kisharon staff member Liebel Cowan returned this week from a Chinese visit as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office delegation.

The FCO party was in Nanjing for the latest round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, which centred both on the role of the faith community in society and efforts to encourage human rights reform in China.

Mr Cowan - community liaison officer for the learning difficulties support charity - spoke on the importance of religious freedom, stressing the contribution faith groups can make to society in general. He was one of a small number of experts invited by the FCO to highlight the impact of faith-group activity.

He explained that Kisharon and other Jewish charities had been created as a consequence of shortcomings in wider provision.

"My message was that it was a response to being forced to turn to our own community for support - and that, as a result, the standard of our services is considerably higher than the national average."

Mr Cowan - who was provided with meals by Chabad - said the experience had reinforced his national pride. "I have never struggled with my Jewish identity but until now I was never sure why I was proud of being British. It was quite an emotional few days."

Last updated: 1:04pm, January 19 2012