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Building Bridges

The aim of the Building bridges program is to promote mutual understanding, respect and ethical behaviour across our cultural and religious diversities and develop competent emerging global leaders. Over 2,400 students have participated since the program commenced in 2004, with more than 350 students from twenty-six independent schools taking part in the 2017 program. 

Each year, students engage in five two hour sessions, plus one full day of creative activities. The concluding event is a Presentation Night that provides an opportunity for representatives from each region of Melbourne to share their experiences, and for the students to receive their Graduation Certificate.

So far, we have enjoyed our first two evenings of interfaith dialogue, friendship and food, both halal and kosher. For our first evening, we began with a traditional Examen in the Xavier College chapel, a prayerful expression of Ignatian spirituality and reflection. Later in the same week we also prayed together at the East Preston Islamic College.  We learned about (and tried on if we wished) different forms of dress from Islamic cultures, and experienced making Wudu with the students (ritual washing).  

The Siena students have commented on how enriching the Building Bridges experience has been for them in their study of Religion and Society Unit 2 and understanding particularly of the Abrahamic religions. The experiential nature of the program provides opportunities for them to reflect upon, articulate and critique their core values, beliefs and experiences that have shaped them as they develop a better understanding of the different religious and cultural perspectives of our neighbours. 

Siena College will host a session in August, where we will delve deeper into our own Catholic tradition and faith, to explain it to others and explore its influence in our lives.




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