Stephen Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis Introduction
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly of the United Nations, 1948) asserts that: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right included freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. This clear statement of the basic human right for freedom of religion and belief provides huge opportunities and significant challenges for Religious Education and for religious educators across the globe. It was discussion of these opportunities and challenges that inspired the seventeenth session of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV), convened at St Paul University, Ottawa, Canada, during July 2010. This volume on Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief draws together some of the key work stimulated and nurtured by that meeting of the seminar. The International Seminar on Religious Education and Values was formed in Birmingham University, England, in 1978 and has continued to meet every other year across Europe and North America. The Seminar now draws together over 223 leading researchers in Religious Education from 36 countries, embracing a variety of religious and secular traditions concerned with many dif ferent aspects of Religious Education relevant both to secular schools and to faith communities. Such informed diversity brought a rich range of perspectives to the theme of Religious Education and freedom of religion and belief. In the present volume...
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