11 months ago I arrived in Scotland. It was the beginning of an exciting, interesting, instructive and intense time. In today’s blog I want to review the first half of my time here in Scotland. The second half is going to follow next week.
In July I moved to Glasgow and started to settle in. I explored the city and it’s surrounding. I learned the basics of how Interfaith Scotland is working. I also started my work with Interfaith Glasgow, where I usually spend one day a week. In this month I also visited some places of worship, eg the Hindu Mandir and the Central Gurdwara in the Westend of Glasgow. I attended the Church of Scotland’s National Youth Assembly and visited the local interfaith group in West Lothian.
In August I continued my settling in process, and visited some more places of worship in Glasgow, eg the Andalus Centre. I started to help my colleagues to plan Scottish Interfaith Week by for example collecting information about Creativity and the Arts in the different faith traditions. I visited the Fife Interfaith group, Edinburgh Interfaith Association and the Dumfries and Galloway Interfaith group. I helped to organise and participated in the Annual Networking Seminar. With Interfaith Glasgow I supported the volunteer team at my first Weekend Club event for refugees and asylum seekers.
In September I explored the northern parts of Scotland for the first time and visited the local Interfaith groups in Orkney and Aberdeen. I also represented Interfaith Scotland at the AGM of Faith in Older People and with an information stall at the Cumbernauld Campus of New College Lanarkshire. In this month we also started to plan our national interfaith youth conference in St Andrews with a planning meeting together with the coexistence initiative at St Andrew’s university. With Interfaith Glasgow I helped to facilitate my first Faith-to-Faith event at St Mungo Museum. I was also invited by the Ayrshire Interfaith group to give a talk at their One Peace Day and attended an interfaith dialogue about Identity and Belonging.
In October I helped at the Scholl’ Interfaith Day for Roman-Catholic Schools and joined meetings of Interfaith Scotland with the Catholic Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald. I also attended an Interfaith Symposium organised by the Ahmadiya community in Glasgow. I represented Interfaith Scotland with an stall at Brannock Highschool and met the Caritas students group at Lourdes Secondary school on the southside of Glasgow. I travelled to London for the first meeting of the Youth Engagement Advisory Group, which had been set up by the Inter Faith Network for the UK. I also attended and helped at a Faith-to-Faith event and joined the Weekend Club for an trip to Edinburgh Castle.
The most important part of my work in November was of course Scottish Interfaith Week. I attended several events: A Scriptural Reasoning in Edinburgh, an interfaith evening with creative action and interesting talks in Ayrshire, an Dinner together with international European guests at the Glasgow Gurdwara, the Launch event for the Our Story exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, an evening about the Architecture of the Baha’i Houses of Worship, the annual interfaith lecture in Fife, an Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner at the US Consulate in Edinburgh, an creative lunch in Dumfries and several short events at St Mungo Museum. The two big events I helped to organise myself were the Launch event of Scottish Interfaith Week in Dundee and the Family Fun Day in Glasgow. After Interfaith Week I gave workshops at Airdrie Academy and we started to plan the national Holocaust Memorial Day event. The second planning meeting for the youth conference in St Andrews happened also in November.
After the intense November the December was quieter, but not quiet. I joined my colleagues from Interfaith Scotland and Interfaith Glasgow for our deserved Christmas lunch. I visited some schools, who had participated in the Art competion for Scottish Interfaith Week and brought them their prizes. I travelled to London again for another meeting with the Youth Engagement Advisory group. With Interfaith Glasgow I helped to facilitate the next Faith-to-Faith event and a Weekendclub event where we pre-celebrated Hogmaney.
During the first half of my internship I met many interesting people and got a very good insight into the work of Interfaith Scotland and Interfaith Glasgow as well as into some local interfaith groups, the Scottish school system, the work of the Inter Faith network for the UK and Scottish society, culture and history. Next week I’m going to write about the second half of my internship.