Face to Face Encounters Education and Engagement for a Shared Humanity

Anthony Steel (1), Jude Butcher (2), Michael Bezzina (3)
(1) Australian Catholic University, Australia,
(2) Australian Catholic University, Australia,
(3) Australian Catholic University, Australia


Despite the prevalence of conflict and violence in the world, education offers hope for social transformation and a recognition of our shared humanity. Much of the hatred and violence has its origins in a fear of 'the other', while education has the potential to equip people with the knowledge and skills to overcome such fear, build social harmony, challenge injustice, and build bridges across cultural and religious barriers. Based on the recognition of our shared humanity and the practice of respectful dialogue, it allows students to explore together what really matters to them as human beings and as members of their society and communities. Case studies of such encounters in Australian educational contexts will be presented in this paper, analyzing their impact and discerning principles they offer for structuring education for a shared humanity.

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Anthony Steel
Jude Butcher
Michael Bezzina
michael.bezzina@acu.edu.au (Primary Contact)
Author Biographies

Anthony Steel, Australian Catholic University

Anthony Steel works in the Institute for Advancing Community Engagement at Australian Catholic University, with significant focus on interfaith and intercultural relations. He has a particular interest in human rights issues, and the role of faith communities in helping to foster tolerance and social harmony. He also lectures in theology at ACU’s Strathfield campus.

Jude Butcher, Australian Catholic University

Jude Butcher is Director, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement and Professor of Community Engagement at Australian Catholic University. Previously he has been Head of School of Education. Jude’s areas of study include community engagement, capacity building, social justice and education, and teachers’ professional development. He has been involved in Indigenous education for 25 years and in educational capacity building in East Timor for ten years. In 2010 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to Education.

Michael Bezzina, Australian Catholic University

Michael Bezzina is the Director of the Flagship for Creative and Authentic Leadership at Australian Catholic University. Previously he had held system leadership roles in Catholic education in the Diocese of Parramatta, significantly as Director of Religious Education and Educational Services. He also had a period as Interim Executive Director. In a rich and varied career Mick has been a classroom teacher, school leader, teacher educator, consultant, system administrator, process facilitator and researcher. He has a passionate commitment to working with leaders to promote authentic learning for all students.

Steel, A., Butcher, J., & Bezzina, M. (2012). Face to Face Encounters Education and Engagement for a Shared Humanity. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 12(2), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v12i2.599

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