Sunday, 5 August 2012

Cooperation requires tough collaboration

COOPERATION is a natural thing, but it isn't easy. It requires a real willingness to work together across different world views.

That was the message of keynote speaker Dr Stephen Cherry, from the Anglican Diocese of Durham, as he helped launch the 2012 Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

A rich cultural mix and a meaningful religious exchange requires more than polite toleration or middle-class liberalism, he said. Rather it involves a much more gutsy, world-changing effort. We need leadership that makes for peace.

'Collaboration for peace' is a good way of extending the 'cooperation for change' message of the Festival, suggested Dr Cherry. It is a challenging business. Sometimes collaborators are suspected of being traitors. A combination of idealism and realism is required.

Likewise, peacemakers will face awkward questions, become critical friends. They will need to develop visionary determination, honourable virtues and spiritual maturity.

The business of building peace and collaborating for change is a duty for people of faith, but not an invitation to turn things into an olympic race between beliefs. Rather, we need a peace olympics that uses our distinctiveness to good purpose, said Dr Cherry.

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