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Document Details :
Title: Learning from Experience, Leading to Engagement
Subtitle: Lessons from Belieforama for a Europe of Religion and Belief Diversity
Author(s): WELLER, Paul
Journal: Studies in Interreligious Dialogue
Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Date: 2017
This paper takes as its starting point a description and analysis of a concrete training programme and community of practice (Belieforama – http://www.belieforama.eu) that seeks to address and embody a focus on lived experience and narratives, while going on to identify some lessons that might be drawn from this. Belieforama includes a generic training that addresses Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination; specific trainings on Overcoming Islamophobia, on Overcoming Antisemitism, and on Reconciling Religion, Gender and Sexual Orientation; and, finally, on Facilitation Skills and Taking Action. Over 2000 people have taken part. It has won prizes for quality adult learning from the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, and also the BMW Group’s First Prize for Intercultural Commitment. Its approach was developed with input from both 'religious' and 'non-religious' organisations and people. It has been tested in a variety of national, language and other contexts. It works by drawing, in an interactive and inclusive way, on the lived experience and narrative of participants, aiming to bring them into better personal consciousness and also to take responsibility for action. This article highlights the learning reported by participants in Belieforama and discusses this with reference to wider potential lessons for a Europe of religion and belief diversity as well as specific recommendations relating to the European Union.