On Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of September 2017 the Director of the DLCC, Alex Norman, accompanied by a small group of DLCC personnel attended Children in Crossfire’s (CiC) Compassion in Action conference, a celebration of the charity’s 20 years of activities.
Children in Crossfire was founded by DLCC Fellow, Richard Moore, and aims to make a significant and lasting contribution to tackling poverty for the most vulnerable communities and children in the world’s least developed countries. At the same time it provides accredited primary and post-primary local and global citizenship training to teachers in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The event included a public talk by CiC patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a more intimate dialogue between His Holiness and Richard Moore, as well as numerous lectures. These took place at at Derry’s Millenium Forum conference centre.
His Holiness reflected on several challenges facing society today, including war, poverty, and climate change. He put forward the view that contemporary education is too materialistic, and that real progress in addressing these challenges requires that, in addition to their other studies, children receive an education in ethics.
He proposed that whilst religious traditions have much to contribute to ethics education, the variety of religious beliefs, and large number of non-believers in the modern world requires that ethics education be secular. His Holiness emphasised that by this he does not mean that it should be anti-religious but that it should be equally open to all religions and to non-believers.
His Holiness also emphasised his view that a successful approach to ethics education cannot be developed without sustained academic research into the relevant areas, especially the mind and emotions, drawing on a broad range of traditions, from ancient Indian psychology to modern western science.
Other talks included a compelling discussion of the relevance of neuroscientific advances to ethics education by Dr Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Accociate Professor of Psychology, and Associate Director of the Center for Compassion, Integrity, and Secular Ethics at Life University. Dr Ozawa-de Silva emphasised the opportunity for organisations working in this field, including the DLCC in Oxford, CiC in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and a number of other institutions to coordinate their work for mutual benefit. The conference closed with an address by Joanna Lumley.
This event proved an inspiring and informative opportunity for delegates from a large number of organisations to share ideas, and build networks. The DLCC is extremely grateful to Children in Crossfire for organising this pioneering event, and looks forward to sharing its work with them in the future.