Q&A with Dr. Sampson:
(Please share your questions for Dr. Sampson in the discussion section below)
Q: What do you think are most important aspects of interfaith dialogue? Why?
A: Sincere exploration of mutual solutions. Because it encourages both parties to engage in sincere exploration and the design and implementation of their own road map to peace; it also enable parties to deal with the deep rooted issues that have affected them; it help parties to see the danger of lack of integrative solution and to appreciate the gifts each side brings.
Q: How do you help people overcome their fears and invite them to dialogue?
A: Through significant amount of brainstorming. Through confidence building mechanisms. Through the envisioning of a joint future.
Q: How might the principles of interfaith dialogue apply to race and tribal relations?
A: By promoting understanding and transforming the negative perceptions about others. By knowing each others differences and learning the techniques of tolerance and co-existence.
Q: Thank you for your work and ministry. You have given me hope. What message would you share with young people who are living in a world where violence is the norm?
A: I encourage young people to strive to become great dreamers of peace and justice. They should take risks for world peace by speaking out against violence and injustice.
Q: Your statement about a privilege group’s treatment of “the other”, opening the doors of hatred, is powerful. How do you reach out and advocate for dialogue when people already have deep assumptions and bias towards another?
A: Help them build trust toward each other; help them build bridges of trust that culminates in acceptance, self respect, tolerance, forgiveness and true reconciliation; help them express their feelings toward each other; help them come to a point of realization of their common needs and values that have been threatened by the conflict.
Rev. Dr. Joseph Sampson is the director of Reconciliation Trainers Africa, an organization that provides community training and resources in conflict mediation, leadership, and human rights education. He has written extensively on the subject of peace building, specifically as it relates to inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict. His passion for bringing communities together has been recognized throughout Nigeria and on the continent of Africa.