On Wednesday 31st October 2012, professor Gus John is expected to address the academic community of the prestigious University of Birmingham. His lecture will focus on the challenges for education in promoting intercultural dialogue between Europe and Islam.
Globalisation and the movement of people from the South to the North as economic migrants and as refugees and asylum seekers escaping armed conflict and political repression have led to a much changed social landscape in Britain in the last four decades. Notions of cultural diversity and multiculturalism have been challenged vociferously, undergirding the growth of Islamophobia in Britain as a consequence of the 2001 disturbances in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham; the 9/11 massacre in New York and the subsequent USA/Britain initiated ‘war on terror’, and the July 2007 bombings on the transport system in London.
In this lecture, Gus John explores the need for an education system in Britain that focuses more pointedly on intercultural education and for internal dialogue within and between ethnic and religious communities, such that those communities do not become polarised while the education system continues to operate as if it is dealing with an undifferentiated mass of people whose ‘diversity’ is acknowledged as ‘enriching Britain’, while systems of oppression within and directed against those communities continue apace.