Kids4Peace looking to start conversations
March 27, 2019
King’s University College Campus Ministry is pleased to host Carmiel Frutkoff and Ismat Othman, who are visiting Canada from Jerusalem on behalf of the nonprofit organization Kids4Peace Jerusalem, Inc.
They will be hosting a series of inter-faith workshops for students across Southwestern Ontario during the week of March 26 to 29. The workshops are aimed at secondary school students from Catholic and Public schools. The goal is to engage young people with stories of interfaith community and inspire them to see faith as a way to build peace and understanding. As well, they will be guest speakers at the Veritas lecture at King’s on March 28th. Both the workshops and lecture are co-sponsored by the Centre for Jewish, Catholic, Muslim Learning at King’s and the Diocese of London.
“We hope this will help to build better communities for everyone’s sake,” Frutkoff says.
Frutkoff explains the workshops will engage back-and-forth conversation between the participants. The first conversation, entitled “My First Encounter,” will discuss significant times the students met people from outside their faith community. A second conversation, entitled “Mapping Jerusalem,” will be about creating a map of their own identity with regard to faith. “We look at the idea that ‘if I can start with peace with myself, then I can do it with others,’” Othman says.
One of those workshops will be taking place in the Vitali Lounge at King’s on Thursday, March 28. Students from the London District Catholic School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board have registered to attend, including A.B. Lucas Secondary School, Medway High School, Regina Mundi Catholic College, Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, and John Paul II Catholic Secondary School. Similar workshops were scheduled in Windsor on March 26 and Stratford on March 29.
Acknowledging that London and Jerusalem are very different cities, Frutkoff says “there is still a lot we can learn from each other. We can inspire each other to create better cities.” Frutkoff describes Kids4Peace as “a community of people, navigating the very difficult space between faith and politics. We’re trying to create the Jerusalem we want to live in.”
Frutkoff will also be hosting a public lecture entitled “Conversations with Kids4Peace” as part of the Veritas Series on March 28, 2019 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre. The lecture, entitled “My Jerusalem Story,” will touch on the core issues of border, identity, faith, dreams, and aspirations of those who live in the city.
Othman, a Muslim and former carpenter, began volunteering with Kids4Peace in 2012 as a Muslim advisor. He is now the Educational Director for Grades 8 and 9 at Kids4Peace Jerusalem. Frutkoff is the Kids4Peace Director of Public Relations and Partnerships. He is a Jewish educator and former delegate of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism.
Father Michael Bechard, the Chair of the Centre for Jewish-Catholic-Muslim Learning, extended the invitation to them to visit London following a study tour in the Middle East.
“The Centre strives to bring people of different faiths together as a way of building bridges and breaking down walls in our local community. Kids4Peace does this work in one of the most troubled areas of the world. Their work not only facilitates dialogue but saves lives and builds a future for Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. After meeting Carmiel in Jerusalem a year ago, I knew his words and actions will help us to be peacemakers wherever God calls us to be,” says Father Bechard.
For more information, visit www.kings.uwo.ca/veritas
For more information on Kids4Peace, visit https://www.k4p.org/.