Faith work adopted by Europe

By Leon Symons, June 13, 2008

A Jewish-inspired project to integrate faith and ethnic minorities through schools and youth programmes is to be adopted by the European Commission.

Representatives from all 27 EU member states participated in a two-day conference in Belfast last week, where they were briefed on the Shared Futures scheme, begun in Britain by the Board of Deputies and the Pears Foundation.

Shared Futures offers schools programmes that they can undertake with schools from other faiths and ethnic minorities. The scheme is part of the government’s community-cohesion ethos and is already under way in schools in different parts of the UK.

The Board’s director of community issues, Alex Goldberg, ran a seminar and a workshop explaining how Shared Futures worked in Britain and how it could work across Europe.

“The Jewish community in Britain has been leading the way in developing community-relations programmes and now they are being taken on to a Europe-wide platform, to see how they impact on European Commission policy,” said Mr Goldberg.

“What we have been thrilled about is the fact that the EC has shown such interest in the project and is willing to try it out.”

In Britain, the Board has been working with the Association of Muslim Schools, the Hindu schools’ I-Foundation, as well as Catholic, Sikh, Anglican and Greek Orthodox communities.

Last updated: 11:49am, June 12 2008