KAICIID Fellows from India Plan New Ways to Connect their Institutions in Dialogue

08 Feb 2019

Although many of them graduated from the KAICIID Fellows programme several years ago, for many of the KAICIID Fellows from India, the connections and cooperation remain as strong as ever. The KAICIID Fellows Network (KFN) of India held its first meeting in Bangalore from 8 to 9 February, where current and past Fellows shared their views on the current challenges for interreligious cooperation in the Indian context, and discussed ways in which they could continue to work together. Many of the Fellows also represent Hindu, Christian, and Muslim religious institutions in the country, and also on the agenda was how these institutions could cooperate with each other.   

“This is a key goal of the Fellows Programme – not only to equip religious leaders with tools to teach and facilitate dialogue, but so that they work together as a global network to support one another in promoting and facilitating dialogue,” said Mike Waltner, Programme Manager of the Fellows Programme. “We’re starting to see a lot of positive synergies emerging from so many highly-capable practitioners all over the world.

A diverse group, the ten participants came from all over the vast country, professed different faiths, and worked in a wide spectrum of fields from academia to activism. They were united by their participation in the KAICIID Fellows programme, a one-year training programme on interreligious dialogue for mid-career professionals in religious education administered by the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID).

The meeting was also attended by Maulana Arshad Madani, a member of the KAICIID Advisory Forum. Maulana Madani offered the support of his institution, the , Jamiat-e-Ulama-Hind, to organizea meeting among all the Fellows’ institutions.

"The KFN India members now look forward to take it to the next level and establish institutional-level networking where Fellows' parent organisations and institutions can come together to dialogue,” said Dr. Baharul Islam, a Fellow who graduated from the programme in 2016.

KFN meetings like this one are a key asset of the KAICIID Fellows programme. Although the official Fellowship programme only lasts a year, the participants continue to be connected to each other, both online and through events and conferences. Fellows who have graduated are encouraged to mentor and advise current participants, and all Fellows benefit from access to further learning opportunities and micro-grants through their participation in the programme. The end goal? To create and nurture a global network of men and women working to promote peace and dialogue in their communities.  

In India, the Fellows Network meeting ended on a note of hope,support and encouragement.

“India is a country with diversity, which is enriching in its own way. Together we can benefit from each other’s religion, culture, faith and tradition,” said Kenu Argawal, a 2019 Fellow. “Peace is necessary for development; we need unity for peaceful coexistence.”

The KAICIID Fellows Network

Upon completion of the KAICIID International Fellows Programme, the Fellows become part of the growing KAICIID Fellows Network. Through the network, KAICIID continues to support its Fellows in promoting a culture of interreligious dialogue and peaceful coexistence. In addition, KAICIID offers micro-grants to fund selected Fellow Alumni initiatives that are implemented in the Fellows’ home countries to amplify the effects that result from promoting a culture of dialogue in their respective communities.