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How do we recognise and respond to a plurality of religions and beliefs in diverse educational contexts in Ireland?

How do we recognise and respond to a plurality of religions and beliefs in diverse educational contexts in Ireland? That is just one of the questions that will be addressed at the forthcoming conference, entitled Toward Mutual Ground: Religious Pluralism in Educational Practice in Irish Schools, taking place on Friday March 23rd 2012, at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick.

This one day conference will offer a unique opportunity for teachers and students from a broad range of schools and educational contexts as well as policy makers, academics and others to respond to questions such as ‘how do we accommodate diversity of belief, both religious and secular, in educational practice in Ireland?’  The conference workshops, which will bring together practicing teachers and students from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Multidenominational schools to speak about their experiences of religious pluralism in their own educational settings,  will provide an opportunity to hear a range of diverse voices address these and other relevant questions.

Speaking on the importance of a conference of this nature Dr. Patricia Kieran, from the Department of Learning, Society, and Religious Education at MIC said,

“This conference is both timely and unique. Timely because important initiatives are taking place in Education, for instance in 2011 the Minister for Education established a Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in Primary Schools which is expected to report its findings in the next few weeks.  The conference is unique in that it is the first time that any conference has brought together such a cross section of people with a range of attitudes toward religion, education and pluralism in the search of mutual ground”.

The conference, which is organised by the Department of Learning, Society and Religious Education at Mary Immaculate College, together with the Irish Centre for Religious Education (ICRE), in partnership with the Professional Development Service for Teachers, will feature key note addresses by internationally acclaimed academics Professor Gavin D’Costa (Bristol), Professor Marie Parker Jenkins (University of Limerick), and Dr. Anne Looney (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment).

“This conference is an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in religion and education to come along to participate, to hear what others are saying and to contribute to a debate which explores whether, in a cacophony of diverse voices, we can move toward mutual ground.  It is hoped that the whole day’s proceedings will contribute to a rich and dynamic debate. The voices of those who would like to see a nondenominational educational system in Ireland will also be heard in the workshop programme and an international dimension will focus on the practices in the UK, Poland and Northern Ireland” said Dr. Kieran.

This Toward Mutual Ground Conference is the second in a two part series of conferences. The first conference took place at Mater Dei Institute, Dublin, on October 21st, 2011 and was the inaugural conference of the Irish Centre for Religious Education (ICRE). 
The conference is open to all members of the public and is of relevance to those with an interest in religion, belief, education and the changing nature of a religiously diverse Irish society. It aims to generate dialogue which can sustain religiously inclusive educational practices Ireland. The full conference fee is €30 with a concession of €15 euro for unwaged and students. Conference fee includes lunch and refreshments. Details of keynotes and workshop presenters and a full conference programme, as well as details of booking, conference venue, local accommodation and transport, can be found on the conference website

The deadline for booking is Tuesday 20th March 2012. Please note that early booking is advisable.
Enquiries: Perry Meskell, Education Office, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick
Phone: + 353 (0)61 204925 Email: perry.meskell@mic.ul.ie


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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