The Institute of Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN) is a civil-society organization dedicated to the education and growth of the people of San Cristobal, Mexico. INESIN promotes peace in San Cristobal through interreligious and intercultural dialogue by carrying out projects which focus on topics such as the prevention of domestic violence, positive conflict transformation, migration, personal spiritual growth, Biblical translation, and strengthening local communities.
Over the past year, INESIN has conducted three intercultural workshops with guest facilitators from Holland, France, and Colombia. The themes of these workshops focused on Biblical interpretation, culture and citizenship, collective memory, and reflecting on different worldviews. The workshops were well attended, with participants traveling from the surrounding area to attend. Participants remarked that they were able to deepen their understandings of not only their personal religious and cultural worldview, but also those who differ from their own. Through the INESIN workshops, participants were able to begin to shift their paradigms in how they read the Bible—becoming more open to reading it in a constructive and contextual way, ways which more accurately respond to their realities in the world around them. One participant shared how reexamining the story of Paul taught her how to communicate God’s message of love to persecuted people in the midst of suffering and encourage them with God’s message of abundant life. Over sixty percent of the attendees perform pastoral or service roles in their own church community, and many expressed their excitement to incorporate what they learned from these workshops back home. The participants expressed that this was a beneficial and insightful experience of living in community and discussing the material with people who held other points of view. Many participants established friendly relations with one another and hope to meet again at upcoming events and workshops.
In the coming years, INESIN will continue to offer these workshops as well as expand their reach and availability. They hope to invite new resource people to lead as well. This goal is not met without challenges; however, INESIN will continue to further their mission of promoting and cultivating interreligious and intercultural dialogue in their community.
Read more about INESIN here.