When the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was unanimously approved by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989, it was widely heralded as a landmark in children’s advocacy, and provided a useful framework for developing programs and advocating for children’s well-being. However, many children’s programs are still designed with little thought to religious or cultural diversity, even though the importance of culture was highlighted at the convention.
Religious Dimensions of Child and Family Life examines the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child from the perspectives of eight of the world’s most-practised religions—Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, North American Native spiritual belief, Judaism, popular Chinese religious practice and Bahá’í. The authors of each article pay special attention to religious moral codes of conduct governing parental behaviour, child-rearing norms and the role of children in spiritual practice. They pinpoint where positive support is provided, but also where the religions criticize or disagree with the ideas of the Convention. When considered in relation to the UN Convention, these ideas provoke a lively discussion.
About the authors
Harold Coward is a scholar of international reputation with distinguished contributions to both the University of Victoria and University of Calgary throughout his extensive career. After retiring from the University of Victoria as director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, he continues to be involved as a research fellow. He is currently a member of the Genome BC Board of Directors, where he serves as a specialist on ethics and biotechnology. In June 2002, Dr. Coward was also selected as one of the twenty-five power thinkers in British Columbia by BC Business Magazine.
Leslie S. Kawamura is an Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Calgary, Alberta. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, in Far Eastern Studies (1974). He has studied at the Kyoto University (Japan) and has taught at the Nyingma Institute (Berkeley), Institute of Buddhist Studies (Berkeley), and the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon). His publications include Mind in Buddhist Psychology (with H.V. Guenther, Dharma Press, 1975) and Golden Zephyr (Dharma Press, 1975). He was a founding member of the Honpa Buddhist Church of Alberta and the Canada-Mongolia Society.
Philip Cook is a professor of Psychology and Child Development at the University of Victoria. In addition to his many academic qualifications, he is very active with UNICEF in promoting programs of child development with First Nations and in Third World countries.
Other titles by Harold Coward
Silence, the Word and the Sacred
Fifty Years of Religious Studies in Canada
A Personal Retrospective
Language in Indian Philosophy and Religion
Readings in Eastern Religions
Religion and Ethnicity
A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics
Population Growth, Resource Consumption, and the Environment
Seeking a Common Vision for a Troubled World
Climate Change in Canada
Mystics and Scholars
The Calgary Conference on Mysticism 1976