About 1000 high schools of various traditions, cultures and backgrounds are brought together annually in groups of 100 under the rubric of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ “Respect, Understanding, Acceptance” schools harmony program.
The objective of the program is to foster respect for diversity across all colours and faith groups, with a strong anti-racism component built into the day’s activities.
The program, which caters for Year 9, 10 and 11 students from schools across the Sydney metropolitan region, includes government, Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, Armenian and Greek Orthodox schools, focusing on respecting the tapestry of difference which comprises multicultural Australia.
The program currently includes 26 participating schools, with a number lining up to join in 2016.
A significant aspect of the program is discussion on combating racism, not being a bystander and understanding the richness of living in multicultural Australia. In addition, at the completion of each program, students share cultural or religious songs and music, leading to a bond of camaraderie among the students.
“This is the way of the future,” said NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff.
“It’s about respecting each other’s differences and about finding the commonalities which we share. These are the future leaders of our country and this is an essential message which needs to be taken on board.”