As part of the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme’s (SRP) fifth anniversary celebration, SRP held its first combined workshop on inter-religious dialogue in collaboration with all six memorandum of understanding (MOU) partners.
The workshop entitled “Joint Workshop on Inter-Religious Relations: Aims, Theories, Skills, and Practice” was held at the MUIS Academy on Saturday, 6 April 2019. About 80 participants from all six MOU partners – Buddhist College Singapore, Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore, Hindu Centre, MUIS Academy, Taoist College, and Trinity Theological College – attended the workshop.
Prof Julius Lipner started the workshop by presenting his keynote lecture titled “The Theory and Aims of Dialogue”. He laid out the importance of dialogue in a globalised and “religious” world. Prof Lipner also outlined several types of dialogue: discursive, contemplative, and practical dialogue.
The workshop continued with a presentation by Mr Gerald Kong, a representative from the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore, on the Catholic perspectives on dialogue. He discussed Nostra Aetate, a document from the Vatican outlining the Christian position on promoting inter-religious relations and harmony.
SRP’s faculty member, Assoc Prof Paul Hedges, presented a paper on “Dialogue Skills and Facilitation” during which he outlined several important ingredients in achieving effective dialogue: listening, respecting, suspending, and voicing. The paper presentation also included a hands-on activity where participants get to engage one another in a short dialogue.
A panel discussion by representatives from each MOU partner presented the idea and practice of dialogue from their own religious traditions. A Q&A session and panel discussion with representatives from MOU partners concluded the workshop.