the beginning of 2003 the SAO redefined its operating principles,
one of which is: Mutuality
- The SAO seeks a world where relationships between persons
and among nations are based on equality, mutual respect and
the interconnectedness of human life with all of creation.
The choice to take Creating
a Culture of Peace as one of four
priority areas is obviously connected to this priority.
This decision came after reflecting on the current
global and national climate of fear and misuse of power
and significant rise of fundamentalism. The planning
group decided that the focus for 2003 would be to provide
material and opportunities for people to reflect on
and discuss the issues around a Culture of Peace -
to provide individuals with material to reflect on
the importance of attitudes and of non-violent ways
of living and acting. Other strategies included promoting
events organised by other organisations and to host
a Culture of Peace Forum.
An evolving process for the SAO is the establishment
of Circles – the Sophia Circle, the Water
Circle and then the Peace Circle. Those who
had indicated their interest in pursuing the Creating
a Culture of Peace agenda met and thus the Peace
Circle was established. This group decided to begin
a reading group and are meeting monthly to read and reflect
on the topic. A Peace Forum was planned and held on 25 October
unplanned and exciting development in this agenda area has
been the establishment of a Women of Faith group.
Wendy Flannery rsm asked if, as part of the agenda area of Creating
a Culture of Peace, the SAO could include some dialogue
around Women and Islam in Australia. The initial goals were
Challenge the stereotypes of Islamic women
generated by Australian media
To eliminate the targeted abuse of Islamic
women in distinctive clothing, in the context of recent terrorist
To build intercultural and interreligious
understanding and tolerance.
After several meetings of a small group of
three religious and one Muslim women (and engaging the expertise
of Pauline Rae smsm in Sydney), a proposal was established
to form a group Believing
Women for a Culture of Peace. This was an
exciting development in progressing a more peaceful world.
The vision for this project was:
At a time when people of Islamic faith have become identified
in popular understanding with violence and terrorism, with
the accompanying rise of stereotyping and abuse of Islamic
women, believing women find themselves called to:
build alliances that will counter the
contribute to a lasting culture of
collectively acknowledge and celebrate
the bonding of religious faith.
you are interested in joining this group please visit their new
website for contact details.