More than 70 grassroots peacebuilders from around the world convened at KAICIID from 24 November to 4 December for dialogue trainings, programme evaluation and the graduation of the 2016 class of the KAICIID Fellows Programme. These peacebuilders, the KAICIID Fellows, come from many walks of life, religious traditions and countries, but have one thing in common – their dedication to fostering a culture of peace and respect through interreligious dialogue.
The Fellows are active, passionate peacemakers who have tremendously interesting histories and lives and are on the forefront of promoting dialogue and fostering peace and social cohesion in their communities. Through the programme, they have completed extensive dialogue training and peacebuilding projects in their own communities with the support and guidance of KAICIID.
The 2016 Fellows implemented their initiatives that called on their individual talents to reach out to youth, women, young religious leaders or their communities to promote peace through dialogue. Some of them included projects that have boosted women into leadership roles as dialogue facilitators in Nigeria, promoted understanding between Confucians and Muslims in Indonesia, introduced students to different religious and indigenous communities in Northern Argentina, and even built a mobile phone adventure game requiring dialogue skills to overcome complex and engaging challenges.
The November session was the final training of the 2016 class of Fellows, including the Southeast Asia regional cohort, as well as the first training for the incoming 2017 class. The graduating Fellows explored lessons learned, best practices, and evaluation of their completed projects and completed the final round of their dialogue training. The incoming class of Fellows received an introduction to interreligious dialogue, peacebuilding and conflict resolution and had the opportunity to interact with the graduating course of Fellows.
The Fellows also visited Houses of Worship in Vienna, including a church, the Islamic centre and the Jewish Museum where the Fellows had the opportunity to interact with local religious leaders and the public.
The Fellows Network
The graduating class of Fellows was inducted into the KAICIID International Fellows Network, a growing platform that connects the Fellows globally where they will continue to build on their knowledge through online courses, exploring best practices, collaboration with other Fellows and other opportunities.
After the graduation of the 2016 Fellows, the KAICIID Fellows Network has expanded to 64 members from 22 countries and six world religions, and will continue to grow in 2017. The Network has now established a steering committee that was formed by the Fellows and is looking to coordinate opportunities such as grants, trainings and other professional development.
About the Fellows Programme
The Fellows programme brings together religious educators and peacebuilders of different religious traditions from around the world for training in dialogue and in conflict transformation to build peace in their communities.
Through their initiatives, the Fellows have reached out to more than 3.600 people over the two years of the programme and are training the future religious leaders of more than 25 countries. Through these trainings and curriculums, they are giving future religious leaders the tools and knowledge to understand and teach the importance of coexistence and mutual respect through dialogue.