Interreligious dialogue organizations are highly dynamic

30 Nov 2015
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Conventional wisdom says that the field of interreligious dialogue (IRD) is static and ritualized. The KAICIID peace map challenges this assumption: the Peace Map lists in the IRD Directory over 450 organizations that employ interreligious dialogue with an international outlook. This field is highly dynamic. In the first decade of the second millennium of the Common Era (2000-2010) the field experienced a significant growth peak.

One of the main features of the Peace Map is the ‚time line‘-option (bottom-left part of the screen) that adds a historical dimension to the present day IRD activities that are included in the IRD Directory.

Initially, the time line reiterates the impression one gets as soon as one visits the Peace Map: as far as the headquarters of IRD organizations with an international outreach are concerned­-not to be confused with the activities they are conducting-there is a strong presence especially in North America, and Europe. But headquarters can be found in all other regions of the world too.

In addition, this particular display of the data in the directory helps to understand two other characteristics of the development that led to the present-day IRD landscape around the world: (a) Many of the organizations presently using IRD have old historical roots going back centuries, although they may have begun using IRD only much more recently, and (b) the majority of the organizations included in the Peace Map IRD Directory were founded only in the last decade and a half.

Finally, it is possible to notice a very recent slowdown in the number of new organizations in this IRD field over the last 5 years. Does that mean that IRD development has passed its peak? To avoid drawing the wrong conclusion from the Peace Map, more data will be needed and we will need at least another two years to answer this question.