[Media Release] Fostering Lasting Friendships and Interfaith Understanding Among Young Adults

Part of the Catholic Church’s 200th year celebration in Singapore with a sculpture design competition open to all

SINGAPORE, 25 March 2021 – As part of Catholic200SG, the Catholic Church invites young adults, 18-35, from different faiths to dialogue and journey towards achieving lasting friendships in Singapore. Called the DialogueSpaceSG Interfaith Forum for Young Adults, it will take place (in person) on 23 May 2021.

The Forum will include the unveiling of a sculpture design meant to serve as a symbol and reminder to all of us of the importance, significance and power of interfaith dialogue in today’s society. DialogueSpaceSG Interfaith Forum for Young Adults is organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue (ACCIRD) in partnership with the SMU Wee Kim Wee Centre (WKWC) and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).

2. DialogueSpaceSG Interfaith Forum for Young Adults will see young religious leaders and representatives from ten faiths in Singapore come together to listen to Catholic, Islamic and secular perspectives based on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which encourages the formation of friendships and fraternity among the young. The young adults will then engage in group discussions among friends of other faiths to identify actionable steps which will lead towards achieving lasting friendships and mutual understanding in Singapore.

3. Panel speakers will include:

Catholic Perspective

Friar Derrick Yap, OFM
Custos of the Franciscan Friars in Singapore & Malaysia

Islamic Perspective

Asst Prof Dr Mohamed Bin Ali
Assistant Professor at Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

 

Secular Perspective

Asst Prof Dr Justin Tse
Assistant Professor of Humanities (Education) in the Office of Core Curriculum and School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University (SMU)

4. Artists or aspirants of all ages residing in Singapore are invited to design a sculpture to inspire interfaith dialogue and action for the common good among young adults in Singapore, and remind future generations of this commitment and continuous engagement. Designs can be submitted at catholic200.sg/dialoguespacesg-sculpture-design-submission. Submissions close on 3 May 2021, with the winner announced on 14 May 2021. The winner will get the opportunity to share their design, its inspirations and meanings, at the DialogueSpaceSG Interfaith Forum for Young Adults on 23 May 2021.

5. Speaking for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore Monsignor John-Paul Tan, OFM, Vicar General for Interreligious Relations said, “The young aren’t just the future leaders, but the present, and it is absolutely crucial that the seeds of friendships and harmony be planted in them, so that despite what the world throws at us, our young people will have the necessary tools to engage in meaningful and helpful dialogue among cultures and religions in Singapore”.

6. Professor Elvin Lim, Director, Wee Kim Wee Centre, Singapore Management University said, “There are about 7.8 billion human beings on earth. For all our quarrels and disputes, we have also managed to coexist in numbers that far exceed most other species. This is in part because the ability to communicate and dialogue, which is a distinguishing feature of our species, has accorded us the wherewithal to articulate and transcend our differences and to understand our shared humanity. This Forum will bring young leaders in our interfaith community to exercise this talent, and SMU is honoured to be a part of it.”

7. Ambassador Mohammad Alami Musa, Head of Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) expressed, “The Catholic Church is in a good position to play a leading role in developing interreligious dialogue in Singapore. It has the advantage of having clear positions to guide its congregation to be actively engaged with Singaporeans of other faiths and beliefs. We look forward to more initiatives beyond the DialogueSpaceSG Forum so that interreligious dialogue becomes widely embraced as a platform to strengthen Singapore’s interreligious harmony.”

8. Asst Prof Dr Mohamed Bin Ali who would be one of the speakers at the 23 May Forum added, “We need to work harder to ensure our communities view each other first as a sacred unit of humanity and fulfill the rights of brotherhood in the name of one big family.”

9. For more information about DialogueSpaceSG please visit catholic200.sg/event/dialoguespacesg-interfaith-forum-for-young-adults/.

 

About the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore oversees 360,000 Catholics. The Titular head is the Most Reverend William Goh, Archbishop of Singapore. The Archdiocese has 32 churches spread across five districts in Singapore. From providing spiritual formation and pastoral care for its members and those in need, the Archdiocese in communion with the Pope; carries out its moral and social responsibility by working in collaboration with the government, NGOs and IRO, to preserve peace and unity, promote justice and truth in our society.

www.catholic.sg

About Catholic200SG

Catholic200SG marks the 200th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s presence in Singapore. Throughout its history, the Catholic Church has impacted the development of the nation for the common good, through shaping ethical values, education, social justice, healthcare and interreligious dialogue. This commemoration seeks to engage and share with Catholics and Singaporeans about the role of the Catholic Church in Singapore through festivals, talks and public events so as to strengthen communal relationships and build community resilience.

www.catholic200.sg/about

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