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Noor's story

Read about Noor's experiences of participating in Danmission's "Teachers of Tomorrow" workshop, which deals with respect and tolerance for each other's differences.

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"The most important thing I have learned from Teachers of Tomorrow is to accept other people - regardless of religion, age, color, nationality, and not see "the other" as an enemy just because he comes from something different"
Noor El-Deen Al-Zhoubi, participant in Teachers of Tomorrow workshop PHOTO: ROYAL INSTITUTE FOR INTER-FAITH STUDIES 

For the past four years, Danmission has run a project in Jordan that trains tomorrow's school teachers. Through a workshop series, teachers gain tools and knowledge to be able to teach their students tolerance and respect for each other's differences, thereby promoting coexistence across boundaries.

Just as much as the primary school is a place for book learning, it is an educational institution that must equip the students to be part of society in the best possible way. This is also true in Jordan, where prejudices across religious, ethnic and national boundaries threaten cohesion. But it is rare that the country's teachers have the tools to carry out this task.

“The years we spend in school are formative years, and teachers have a great influence on their students' lives. It is therefore crucial that they do not contribute to discord or create mistrust. Instead they must promote mutual respect and teach children to see the value in each other despite differences, "says Thea Hochar, project manager in Danmission's regional office in Lebanon.

Under the heading ‘Teachers of Tomorrow’ (ToT), Danmission has put together a workshop series where it is the school teachers, who are on the school bench. Here they learn to teach their students values ​​such as diversity and tolerance, to be able to answer questions about "the others" and to promote coexistence across immediate differences. In short, they learn to create dialogue rather than conflict.

The acceptance of others is the most important thing
33-year-old Noor El Deen Al-Zoubi has been an imam for 14 years. For the past five years, he has also taught 11-15-year-olds Islamic religion at a private school, but since joining ToT in 2020, something has changed. Or rather: Everything has changed.


"I am no longer the same. Before, I had some very square ideas. I do not have that at all anymore. I have changed a lot and my whole view of the world has changed. My life as a human being has improved”, he says through a Zoom-connection from Jordan.

During the ToT course, Noor El Deen Al-Zoubi met Christians for the first time in his life, and he discovered how much he gained from talking and exchanging with them:

"The most important thing I have learned from ToT is to accept other people - regardless of religion, age, color, nationality, and not to see 'the others' as an enemies just because they come from something different."

Noor El Deen Al-Zoubi has brought that knowledge into his own classroom, where he now involves other cultures and religions in his teaching, teaches his students about tolerance, and gives them a positive view of diversity.

"I did not include that dimension in my teaching before," says Noor El Deen Al-Zoubi. "I have been given some tools that enable me to communicate about these things and to explain to my students that they should not be afraid to have a dialogue with someone who is different from themselves."

Participantsin the Teachers of Tomorrow workshop. Photo: Royal Institute for Inter-FaithStudies 

Pass it on
This year is the fourth time that the ToT project is running. Each round consists of four phases, where the teaching becomes more and more in-depth and comprehensive. Out of the original 46 participants, therefore, only the seven most motivated are allowed to continue all the way to the fourth phase, which is a four-day intensive workshop.

Built into the project is also a continuation of knowledge. For example, there is an implicit expectation that ToT participants should teach their peers at their respective schools the tools and knowledge they have acquired in the course. It is also expected from former participants to come and give presentations to new ToT students and to share their experiences of using the tools.

For Noor El Deen Al-Zoubi, this principle of "passing it on" is an essential aspect of the training.

"When you are a new student, it is very valuable to hear other people's experiences - how they have used the tools and what it has meant for them to participate in the ToT," he says and emphasizes that he would be very happy to contribute to the next training courses and participate in the project in the future:

"I'm so happy. I have been to many other courses, but it is the first time I have been able to feel a real change inside myself as a human being. ” The great change that has taken place in and for Noor El Deen Al-Zoubi benefits not only himself, his loved ones and his students. As an imam, he has the opportunity to influence an even broader group. He tells how in his first sermon in the mosque after attending ToT he chose to talk about diversity and the response was overwhelmingly positive.


"Every time I preach, there are more than 1,000 people who listen, so my training has an impact there too," he concludes. Danmission has developed the ToT concept in close collaboration with the Jordanian The Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies (RIIFS), which is also responsible for conducting the courses.

This article was prepared by Danmission. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not take responsibility for the content of the article.