Students from the Palestinian Territories, India and the UK talk to Tony Blair

Education

Students from the Palestinian Territories, India and the UK talk to Tony Blair

10 Dec 2010

Today on UN International Human Rights Day students from Aboud Secondary Boys School in the Palestinian Territories, Salwan Public Afternoon School in India and Nottingham Girls' High School in UK engaged in a live video-conference with Tony Blair, Founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. They explored the theme of universal human rights from a faith perspective as part of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's global education programme, Face to Faith.

Face to Faith aims to break down stereotypes and broaden horizons by engaging students of different cultures, religions and beliefs in discussing global issues from different perspectives. Face to Faith connects students aged 11-16 from different schools in 15 countries across the world via video-conferencing and a secure website.

Sarah Edwards, Head of Policy and Campaigns, at Health Poverty Action – a UK-based charity that works to improve health services among the world's poorest also took part in the event as a guest speaker.

Speaking to one of the students from Salwan Public Afternoon School in India Tony Blair said:

"We are lucky as we have grown up surrounded by diversity, but this is not the case for everyone. This is why my Foundation established the Face to Faith programme; so that young people of different faiths can interact. For some young people taking part in the Face to Faith is the first time they have engaged with someone of another faith. "

Tony Blair also drew on the importance of building understanding between those of different faiths and breaking down stereotypes; " It is important to understand the true teachings of the main faiths, otherwise you only get an impression of what the different religions stand for from reading about conflict in the news."

Nottingham Girls' High School Students were thrilled with the opportunity to speak with Mr Blair; "It was great to be able to ask Tony Blair questions and to listen to questions from other young people in India and the Middle East.Everyone wanted it to go on for longer – it was very thought provoking and made you think of lots more questions to ask about Faith and human rights. It was inspiring, it makes you want to act to bring about change." Said one of the students.

Mrs T. Ford, Face to Faith teacher at Nottingham Girls' High School, reflected on today's video-conference; "This was a great opportunity to get behind the news and to get an authentic understanding of human rights issues which affect pupils in other parts of the world."

Simmi Kher, Indian Face to Faith Co-ordinator at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation way buoyed by the conversations between the students and Tony Blair and their eagerness and enthusiasm to make positive change in the world; "It was thrilling to see the young ones engage in such a meaningful and intense dialogue. It gives me sigh of relief that the future is in safe hands.