KAICIID Discusses Religious Pluralism as a Way Toward Global Citizenship

15 September 2014

Speaking at a UN High-Level Forum in New York on 9 September, KAICIID Senior Adviser, Mohammed Abu-Nimer said that global citizenship values – based on principles such as human rights, religious pluralism, environmental protection, gender equality and poverty alleviation, among many others – do not require an abandonment of traditional, ethnic or religious identities and are the basis for an “added-layer” of shared responsibility in the world.

Professor Abu-Nimer represented KAICIID on the panel entitled Global Citizenship as a Pathway to a Culture of Peace. In describing the basic assumptions of global citizenship, Professor Abu-Nimer explained that all people are “connected and our destinies are interdependent”.

Highlighting the importance of mechanisms to insure wider, greater, and more meaningful citizen participation in global governance institutions, Professor Abu-Nimer stressed that these mechanisms are needed to overcome the existing sense of alienation from global citizenship among many grassroots communities.

“Our diverse communities need to be connected to the global governance institutions in more meaningful ways than symbolic statements.”

To ensure that the discourse of global citizenship could be accessed by communities around the world, Professor Abu-Nimer urged countries to mainstream global citizenship education for every student. At the same time, the values of global citizenship are societal, as well as individual: global and national policies need to ensure that the media, economic, military and religious institutions also abide by these values.

Religious Pluralism and KAICIID

Professor Abu-Nimer noted that at KAICIID “we focus on religious pluralism as a value and dialogue as a tool for religious pluralism” and that the Centre’s work addresses the challenge of bringing “global citizenship into religious institutions and within reach and awareness of religious leaders.” It is important to avoid limiting global citizenship solely to secular world views: KAICIID is working to develop the concept of global citizenship “in an inclusive manner to also allow for communities who define their way of life around their religious values and identity…(developing) the concept of global citizenship from within Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism is a necessary step. ”.

KAICIID remains committed to promoting religious pluralism as a part of global citizenship: In June 2014, KAICIID created its Common Citizenship programme as part of the Centre’s Peacebuilding Programme to further this goal.

The High Level Forum was part of a more than decade-long series of UN resolutions to promote a culture of peace, beginning in 1999 with Resolution 53/24 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. The high-level forum brought individuals, organizations and UN member states together to discuss ways to build this culture. KAICIID was invited to participate in one of the two panels offered during the one-day event. The panel was moderated by H.E. Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations, and the other panellists were Mr. Federico Mayor, Former Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Dot Maver, President, National Peace Academy, Mr. Douglas Roche, Author, former Canadian Senator, Ms. Vibeke Jensen, Director, UNESCO office in New York, and Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Senior Adviser, KAICIID.v