Religious Diversity in Latin America

A recent blog post by one of PADF's partners, Facing History and Ourselves, sheds light on the issue of religious diversity in Latin America. While most people think Latin America isn’t very diverse, it’s home to one of the most religiously-diverse countries in the world: Suriname.

In “What Exactly is Meant by Religious Diversity,” Dr. Yael Siman, founder of Nenemi Paxia in Mexico and a scholar at University of Chicago, examines the ways in which stereotypes and assumptions affect the way we view the world. Siman writes:

Last year, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and Facing History held two online workshops that brought more than 400 Latin American educators, students, and activists from a dozen countries together to examine the historic roots of antisemitism, and its connection with local issues of religious intolerance. As a result, high school and college teachers in Mexico City, Quito, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá have designed lessons that include a case study of antisemitism, this hatred’s historic development, and its contemporary expressions in Europe and the Middle East, as well as right here in Latin America.

As we open up the dialogue about religious diversity, starting in little ways in our own communities, more and more people will have the opportunity to engage in honest conversation about myths and stereotypes, history and its legacies, and the specific ways in which individuals can create tolerant communities and societies in an increasingly multicultural region.

A  collaboration between PADF, Facing History and other civil society organizations, the “Cree en la Tolerancia” project is an online platform that serves as a clearinghouse for information related to religious tolerance—including anti-Semitism—in Latin America. 

In March 2015, PADF and Facing History signed a two-year commitment to promote awareness and tolerance of religious diversity.