Dialogue between religions and cultures: how is it done in Canada?

2018-03-06 09:15

Speaker –  Elyse Brazel, Project and Program Coordinator at the University of Calgary (Canada), Department of Faith and Spirituality.

The event was held by the Institute of Ecumenical Studies together with the religious internet resource "The Spiritual Greatness of Lviv" and the Center for Interfaith and Interreligious Dialogue "Libertas." The event was held within the 11th Ecumenical Social Week.

At the beginning of the event, the lecturer briefly described herself. According to Elyse, she has Ukrainian roots – her ancestors emigrated to Canada. She is currently working at the University of Calgary in the sphere of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

At her university, Elyse works with young people, helping to "build pluralism in a student environment" together with her colleagues. According to the speaker, in Canada, the issue of religious affiliation is considered quite intimate, it is not common to ask what religion you belong to. That is why you need to work with students.


Elyse's job is to help students learn how to build relationships between people of different cultures and religions, and how knowledge of each other can be used for the common good.

According to the Canadian speaker, she realized that God can be learned not from books, but only from working with people. That is why she began working with migrants at the Romero House, located in Toronto. The idea of this home, founded by a nun sister, is to welcome every person with Christian charity. Elyse worked with about 32 people helping them to adapt. They worked together on various projects.

Her boss made a great influence on her life and helped to see the world in a new way. Because, according to Elyse, she was brought up in such a religious tradition that made her always feel shame for her actions and words.

"Working at this center was my first intercultural and interreligious experience, from which I learned a great deal of value for myself," the speaker emphasized.


After a year of work with migrants, Elyse Brasel participated in a Vancouver fellowship program whose main purpose was to stop malaria and learn how to be open to accept other people. The scholarship participants were divided into several groups; Elyse belonged to the group that traveled to Africa. Through this scholarship, she met many new people, learned about other cultures and religions, and how to work together.

The experience of participating in various interreligious and intercultural projects brought to our guest a great deal of experience that she sincerely shared with us.


Nataliia Likhnovska

Photo by Valentyna Yevtushok