Interfaith leaders as examples for diversity in dialogue: KAICIID Secretary General continues to raise the profile of religious leaders and interfaith dialogue at DAVOS
As key global political and economic leaders and influencers from over one hundred countries descended on the Swiss town of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), in its first ever participation in the WEF, continued to drive home the importance of religious leaders and faith-based organizations as indispensable actors in providing leadership and fostering dialogue for global cooperation.
In a panel entitled ‘Interfaith Leadership and Dialogue for Global Cooperation’, KAICIID Secretary-General, Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaammar, emphasized the intrinsic value of religious leaders as drivers of peace and reconciliation in many communities that have been ripped apart by the misuse of religion to sow seeds of hate and division, often leading to violence and conflict.
“We must never underplay the fact that over 84% of the world’s population identify with a religious belief or tradition and so have earned their right to have a voice and to be heard.” Bin Muammar continued to elaborate: “For too long religion has been unfairly perceived by many, at all levels of society, as being the root cause of the conflicts and crises faced by the world today. However, the reality is that religion is a necessary part of the solution. It is this belief that has driven us at KAICIID to advocate for religious leaders, with their unique grassroots influence, as being advocates for a dialogue-based solution, and in enhancing their role as inseparable partners to policy makers in peacebuilding and in countering extremist narratives, be they religiously or politically-driven.”
He touched on the worrying and growing rise in far-right extremism and populism in Europe, in light of the increasing refugee and migration crisis. “Existing religious and ethnic minorities have been increasingly viewed as outsiders, rather than equals with shared and common citizenship.”
KAIICID, which has fast become one of the world’s leading advocates of interreligious and intercultural dialogue since its inception in 2012, currently works with over 40 key international governmental and civil society organizations, including the UN, UNDP, the African Union, UNESCO, OIC, OSCE and the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect. It should be mentioned that KAICIID is a key contributor to the 2017 UN Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent and Counter Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.
In 2018, Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar was elected as Co-Chair to the Advisory Council to the UN Interagency Taskforce on Religion & Development. The Advisory Council represents a significant enhancement of the role of faith-based organizations and actors at the UN and international political level.
Furthermore, KAICIID also participated in last year’s G20 Interfaith Summit in Buenos Aires, which Bin Muaammar believed was, “a testament to KAICIID’s pioneering role in building bridges of cooperation between religious leaders and policy makers to find sustainable solutions for peaceful coexistence.
“Religious leaders are credible and effective drivers for peace and reconciliation. The interfaith and intra-faith dialogue platforms which KAICIID supports in Nigeria, Myanmar, the Central African Republic, the Arab Region and Europe, continue to provide hard and tangible facts that male and female religious leaders and actors are effecting positive change.” He went on to say, “we must also never underestimate the role of women and the youth as equally effective agents of change, peacebuilding and fostering of tolerance.”
He emphasized the extensive work that KAICIID has undertaken in providing social media training to youth across the Arab Region, empowering young women and men to promote narratives of tolerance and coexistence.
KAICIID’s participation in Davos, as well as that of other faith-based organizations, indicate the growing recognition that is now being placed on faith leaders and organizations as partners in the dialogues required for finding responses to the governance, societal, economic, political, and technological issues facing our world today.
KAICIID is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to promote the use of dialogue globally to prevent and resolve conflict to enhance understanding and cooperation. Over a seven-year-long negotiation and development process, KAICIID’s mandate and structure were designed to foster dialogue among people of different faiths and cultures that bridges animosities, reduces fear and instills mutual respect. Intercultural and interreligious dialogue helps build communities’ resistance against prejudice, strengthens social cohesion, supports conflict prevention and transformation and can serve to preserve peace.
As an international organization, KAICIID supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The Centre also combats all forms of discrimination based on culture, religion or belief. We implement programmes to overcome stereotypes in a long-term process that leads to a culture of dialogue that enables greater understanding of people of other cultures and followers of other religions.
Our work is the continuation of a journey to fulfill a vision to bring together religious leaders and governmental representatives in a sustained dialogue for peace.
About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is the only yearly gathering that brings together leaders of global society. The heads and members of more than 100 governments, top executives of the 1,000 foremost global companies, leaders of international organizations and relevant non-governmental organizations, the most prominent cultural, societal and thought leaders, and the disruptive voices of the Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers and Technology Pioneers come together at the beginning of each year to define priorities and shape global, industry and regional agendas.
Participation is by invitation only and reserved for members of the Forum’s communities. The ongoing close collaboration with those communities in cooperation with a Network of Global Future Councils ensures the solution-oriented substance of the Annual Meeting. Numerous initiatives of global importance have been launched in Davos.
The World Economic Forum is an independent and impartial International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. Its objective is to improve the state of the world. It does not promote any political, commercial or personal interests, nor does it use the names of its participants for promotional purposes.
The Annual Meeting aims to be open and inclusive. Transparency and public inclusion are achieved through broad international media participation, televised sessions and webcasts, and through the Forum’s millions of followers on social media. The Annual Meeting achieves the greatest media impact compared to any annual event outside the world of sport.