KAICIID’s partners, friends and beneficiaries from around the world are voicing their support and appreciation for the work and mission of KAICIID, following an Austrian parliamentary vote on 12 June to cancel the seat agreement of KAICIID and to forfeit the country’s position as one of the Centre’s member states.
Leaders and members of religious communities are calling for fair and thorough examination of the impact of the Centre’s work. KAICIID was founded in Vienna in 2012 by Austria, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Spain, with the Holy See as the founding observer.
The Centre’s record speaks for itself - thousands of people trained globally in interreligious and intercultural dialogue; thousands of hours of work towards reconciliation and understanding in regions torn asunder by instability; a long track record in using its unaffiliated convening and mediatory status to help governments, intergovernmental agencies, civil society groups and NGOs to consider interreligious dialogue as a means to achieving social stability and prosperity.
This is what is jeopardised by this move towards de-recognition of the Centre.
- The KAICIID Board of Directors
We are of course very concerned at this development, which has arisen in part because of the increasingly heated nature of Austrian pre-election politics. We are assessing the legal and practical implications and we will update as and when the picture becomes clearer. Whatever the case, any process arising from this move will take a long time to play out.
In the meantime we are committed to our mission and things will proceed as normal. KAICIID welcomes this opportunity to thank all of you, from Vienna-based staff to staff in the field, to the Board and Advisory Forum members, to all those involved globally in our programmes and finally to all organisations and individuals with whom we have worked, for your tireless commitment to partnership in interreligious dialogue.
- His Excellency Faisal bin Muaammar, Secretary General of KAICIID
The Board of Directors of the MJLC has worked with KAICIID closely over the last three years to launch the first European network for interreligious dialogue between Muslim and Jewish religious leaders. Under the MJLC, the two groups meet, build trust, and coordinate common actions to promote a culture of respect and to protect European minority rights.
It is clear that Muslim and Jewish communities need every opportunity to stand in solidarity and to work with European national and international organizations to ensure our perspectives are taken into account. The potential of networks like the MJLC is vast, but MJLC entirely relies on the support and coordination of reliable, neutral and generous organizations like KAICIID which act far beyond the normal realm of their individual member states. The loss of the Centre would leave a gaping hole in Austrian interfaith work which other organizations would be hard-pressed to fill, and would damage the trust between the state and those faith communities which have been helped by KAICIID’s work.
- Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council, a KAICIID-supported European platform (Full statement here)
Through our experience and work in the Arab countries and the Middle East, we express our support for KAICIID’s activities and work, for its great achievements in dialogue, non-violence, anti-hate speech, extremism and the promotion of coexistence around the world in general and in conflict areas in particular.
KAICIID’s remarkable efforts during the past years in bringing together religious leaders from different countries to solve many of the problems affecting the Middle East, North Africa and even Europe, have had a positive and influential presence at all levels.
Our desire to spread world peace and to build bridges of understanding and dialogue among all people according to their religions, nationalities and ethnicities makes us enormously responsible for the cooperation with KAICIID while supporting and blessing its steps towards a world filled with peace, love and reconciliation.
- The Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World, a KAICIID-supported platform
We are convinced that our partnership with KAICIID has added value to our work in promoting dialogue and building better understanding among young people. We have worked alongside KAICIID in providing educational experience for young people in major scouting events around the world and we are grateful for their contributions in advancing the values of dialogue and understanding.
- Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General, World Organization of the Scout Movement
“KAICIID did certainly not do a bad job. The Bishops in the Middle East have often expressed very positive feedback concerning the work of the organization. They know first-hand how important interreligious dialogue is and also how important it is to build bridges. I hope these bridges are not burnt prematurely”
- Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna
Since its establishment, the KAICIID Dialogue Centre has contributed significantly to bridging the barriers that divide us – and more importantly – to a peaceful future where people respect each other and cooperate regardless of their ethnic background, religion or culture.
From its beginning, I took part in all the major initiatives of KAICIID and will remain committed to its objectives and endeavours. I strongly hope and pray it will continue its blessed work to promote God’s will of love, respect and cooperation among all of us.
- His Eminence Shawki Allam, Grand Mufti of Egypt
We were surprised with the decision from the Austrian parliament to withdraw from KAICIID and close it, especially because Austria is the first European country that recognized Islam as a religion, and also because it is one of the founding member states of KAICIID. KAICIID has successfully built bridges between followers of different religions and cultures in the Middle East, in Asia, and in Africa.
I hope that the Austrian government will reconsider this decision out of respect for human values that Austria preaches, and out of respect for the good work that the Centre is doing in this context.
- His Eminence Abdullatif Derian, Grand Mufti of Lebanon
The King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna has a crucial role to play particularly nowadays where religion has started to emphasize its role in the lives of societies, sometimes with positive and sometimes with negative consequences and implications. World religions are based on peace, love, justice, truth and common values. It is very important to enhance these values in the lives of followers of different religions.
Christian and Muslim leaders, through education, should keep their followers away from such violence and misuse of religion. In this context, KAICIID’s mission, that I am well aware of, is of utmost importance and I highly appreciate and thank the Centre. The Armenian Orthodox Church will continue its collaboration and active participation to all KAICIID’s programmes and projects.
- Aram I Keshishian, head of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church
If KAICIID is not in Vienna, it has to be somewhere else. KAICIID’s work is obviously very important in our days. It is not the only one doing this work, there are many people working in this area of bringing people together and rescuing religion from those who have given it a bad name, but KAICIID plays an important role due to its convening power and semi-official (intergovernmental) status.
KAICIID is welcome in Nigeria. It has several advantages over other groups, but for me, the importance of KAICIID’s presence in Nigeria is that it is bringing assistance to the work we are doing by ourselves. If KAICIID hadn’t supported some meetings, those people wouldn’t have met. That doesn’t mean that people are not meeting, but there are different levels of meetings. The important thing is that the work gets done, and I think the level at which KAICIID is working is, for me, quite positive.
- Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja
We, the leaders of the Platform of religious leaders of the Central African Republic (PCRC), appreciate the collaboration with KAICIID, which has helped to support our dialogue and advocacy actions on the ground, to structure the secretariat of the Platform and to strengthen the capacity on interreligious dialogue of the prefectural dialogue mechanisms based in the field.
These efforts had a major impact in supporting a resolution of the Central African crisis and facilitated tolerance, the process of the return of the displaced persons, for peace, and the principle of living together in CAR.
But the challenges remain immense and we look forward to the continued support of KAICIID to sustain the dialogue between Christians and Muslims, as well as the government, in order to promote peace and social cohesion and to consolidate our achievements in interreligious and inter-communal dialogue.
- Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga and his Eminence Oumar Kobine Layama of the Central African Republic
The Coptic Orthodox Church lauds KAICIID’s great efforts to build bridges of dialogue, coexistence, and respecting the Other. KAICIID operates through various platforms and programmes in which the Coptic Church has participated, as we are members of the Arab Region Platform as core contributors through its Steering Committee. We are also members of the KAICIID-supported Network for Religious Faculties and Institutes, and we have participated in various Fellows training programmes over the years.
We have also welcomed KAICIID Board members and Fellows more than once to Cairo, and visited the KAICIID headquarters in Vienna in support of its programmes and initiatives. We pray to God that you (KAICIID) may succeed in your humanitarian efforts to do good in the world.
- Father Metta Zakaria Aziz on behalf of Pope Tawadros, as the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt in the KAICIID-supported Arab Region Platform
We would like to express to everyone at KAICIID our appreciation for your efforts under the leadership of KAICIID’s Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar. We trust that your message is one of humanitarian dialogue that aims to enhance respect and diversity. This results in peaceful coexistence and building dialogue bridges that address and combat present challenges facing communities. It also makes coexistence, understanding and cooperation between followers of different religions and cultures an effective way to build peace.
- Sheikh al-Aql Naim Hassan, Head of the Druze Council in Lebanon
Since its founding in 2011, KAICIID has set new standards in interreligious dialogue and the institutionalisation of peacebuilding. KAICIID's initiatives and projects, from Africa to Southeast Asia, cannot be matched by the United Nations and other programmes. In their Local Outreach programme, KAICIID has recognized the signs of the times, for example by bringing together a group of European rabbis and imams in the early establishment of the very active and successful Muslim Jewish Leadership Council (MJLC). With all the wonderful work that KAICIID has been doing, and which I have been able to witness since the Centre was established, I believe that KAICIID does not deserve to be prejudged just because of its name. Since the very beginning, tabloid media have been misinterpreting the organization’s purpose and its mission. KAICIID has the right to be measured alone by what it truly does in the framework of its mission statement, which was signed by all founding states. For this work, KAICIID actually deserves recognition.
- Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister, Vienna, Austria
KAICIID has created spaces for interreligious dialogue in the Middle East and has launched pioneering projects across the region, including the Dialogue Platform, the Arab Fellows Programme and others. KAICIID’s distinctive role is based on its long-term and profound impact strategy.
- Bihop Elias Toumeh, Bishop of Wadi al Nasara, Syria
We commend KAICIID for their unrelenting commitment to peacebuilding all over the world. The relevance of KAICIID has become more and more visible.
- His Eminence Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, President Christian Association of Nigeria
As interreligious and intercultural Dialogue Hub to us and many more across the world, we call on people in Austria and abroad to appreciate KAICIID’s commitment to global peace. Closing or moving KAICIID out of Austria will affect its mandate.
We stand for peace, we stand with KAICIID.
- International Initiative for Inter-Religious Communion, non-profit NGO, Nigeria
I would like to express my gratefulness for the work KAICIID has been doing through our long history of partnership. We consider KAICIID one of the most important organizations in the world, one of the few that were able to gather various religious leaders, various religions and beliefs in programmes and fruitful discussions. The role that KAICIID is playing is important and needed, and we wish them to flourish and to be able to serve all the communities that are in need.
- Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki, President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt
We, the members of the Peaceful Myanmar Initiative, express our sincere appreciation for the International Dialogue Centre’s (KAICIID) work in supporting and promoting dialogue between the religious communities in Myanmar. As a result of our close collaboration over the past 3 years, we have built an extensive network of interfaith dialogue champions, launched an interreligious dialogue training centre, conducted over 30 dialogue and peace trainings reaching out to over 3000 individuals, facilitated two public International Peace Day events, successfully convened one National Interfaith Dialogue forum and two regional forums to form networks to prevent violence and promoted social cohesion initiatives across the country.
In a time when our country is facing internal challenges, more emphasis is needed to revive the spirit of tolerance, to build bridges between our communities, to revoke hate speech which is flourishing on social media and to dialogue on issues that unite us, rather than what divides us. Our collaboration with the International Dialogue Centre has enabled us to take a step closer in that direction.
- The Peaceful Myanmar Initiative, a KAICIID-supported platform of Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders that promotes peace and dialogue between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar
KAICIID does a good job and has developed positively from an organizer of large conferences to practical and sustainable projects. KAICIID supports, for example, the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council (MJLC). It has also initiated refugee integration programmes (such as the Toolkit), and has sponsored and supported a number of peace initiatives in trouble spots around the world. Who will take over this job?
- Tarafa Baghajati, Chairman, Initiative of Austrian Muslims
Through our knowledge partnership we have come to understand and respect the fine work for peace and reconciliation of KAICIID in Vienna. KAICIID has been a welcome force for mutual understanding and conflict mitigation in complex situations in Nigeria, Myanmar, Central African Republic and the Middle East. We have collaborated closely with both leadership and staff of KAICIID and know them to be individuals of the highest professional integrity committed to universal human rights, to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to a peaceful world where no one is left behind.
- Jean Duff, President, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities
Having been with the International Committee of the Red Cross – from field delegate to Director General to Member of the Committee – for 44 years I know what it means to be non-political, neutral and impartial and I can vouch for this: H.E Bin Muaammar and his team are totally non-political, neutral and impartial in all their activities.
Having been Secretary General of World Scouting I know what it means to work in a truly multi-confessional, multi-cultural fashion, especially for youth, and I can vouch for that also: H.E Bin Muaammar and the whole KAICIID team are great professionals in the realm of multicultural, multi-confessional education for dialogue and mediation, without a trace of discrimination and a strong, genuine desire to make our world one of greater convivence.
- Jacques Moreillon, Former Director General and Member of the ICRC, Former Secretary General of WOSM
The Permanent Secretariat of the Platform of religious leaders of the Central African Republic (PCRC) and the prefectural antennas want to express their gratitude to KAICIID for the support it has provided in the implementation of the activities included in the programmes of its strategic action plan. KAICIID's support has enabled the Platform to progress on the path of interreligious and inter-communal dialogue in search of a lasting peace. We hope our partnership can continue in order to allow us to consolidate our achievements and to continue to walk on trails not yet blazed.
- Isaac Service, Permanent Secretary of the Platform of Religious Leaders in the Central African Republic
KAICIID has been doing tremendously well in terms of peace promotion and interreligious harmony across the globe.
- Muhammad Jameel Muhammad, Co-Chairman, Central Coordination Council, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), a KAICIID-supported platform in Nigeria
Today’s world is exposed to barbaric attacks carrying extremism, violence and terrorism. To address such barbaric behaviors, we desperately need to build a peaceful and shared life that depends on human partnership as a basis for relationships in our societies.
This can only be achieved through productive dialogue based on acceptance of the other and respect for diversity and difference. This is what we have seen in KAICIID’s approach. Since its inception, it has fought against discrimination on religious or ethnic grounds and has always denounced hate speech. The Centre has worked to promote dialogue in conflict areas. KAICIID is characterized by a diversity of its members, from all religions and cultures, away from political conflicts and partisan disputes. We are proud of the Centre and will continue supporting it, as it is serving world peace and building a better future for the coming generations.
- Dr. Hussein Ghazi Al-Samarrai, Member of the Supreme Council of the Iraqi Juristic Society and Mr. Saleh Hakim, on behalf of the Intra-Muslim Dialogue Team in Iraq, a KAICIID-supported initiative
KAICIID’s contribution to European society is greatly appreciated in general, but particularly its bringing Muslim scholars from across Europe together in helping set up EuLeMa and bringing Muslim and Jewish Leaders together through the Muslim Jewish Leadership Council to establish good relationships and help them work with each other and support each other.
We as faith leaders stand with KAICIID and value it is great humanitarian work. We oppose and condemn any such action which might have an effect on its good work from Vienna.
- Imam Sheikh Mohammad Ismail DL, Muslim Chaplain, the University of Sheffield, The Octagon Centre
The Institute of Sciences of Religions of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) regrets the unfair and worrying situation that the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) is going through.
We see KAICIID as an international leader in some of the issues we address at the Institute. Over the last four years we have developed a relationship of friendship and cooperation with the Centre. From the UCM, for example, we have contributed to KAICIID’s online course on interreligious dialogue, which is reaching thousands of people around the world. And here in Spain, KAICIID experts have shared their knowledge with our students.
From Europe to the Middle East and from America to Asia, the rights of religious minorities are being violated. We are witnessing how innocent lives are being cut short by hatred and violence. In this global context, education and research are more necessary than ever. KAICIID has taken a necessary leadership in this area and its closure would be a great loss for humanity.
- Fernando Amerigo, Director, Institute of Sciences of Religions, Complutense University of Madrid
This move is anathema to the recent strides of the Muslim and Christian faithful to reach a common understanding. In February of this year, a document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together was signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. This document behooves us to recognize the dignity and diversity of all religions and faiths.
Actions like this are impossible without the efforts of people, in their own communities, to pursue interreligious dialogue. Any move to impede these conversations endangers the lives of people who live in areas where religious freedom is denied them.
We pray for understanding and peace between these areas, and to ensure that KAICIID is allowed to continue its objectives towards brotherhood
- Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia and Salaam Movement, Ateneo de Davao University
Two members of our congregation are employed by KAICIID. Both are people of integrity. I am well acquainted with the work of one of them, who is an instructor on the Fellows programme - a programme that I have the highest respect for as it works closely with religious leaders of different faiths from across the globe (Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore…). The programme enables the carefully selected participants to meet, engage and learn from one another in a safe space and write and conduct their own projects in the field. In times of crisis, these religious leaders contribute to peace through relationships that have already been forged during the programme. In times of stability, they contribute to a better understanding of difference, allowing faith communities to live well side by side with one another.
- Rev. Canon Patrick Curran, Chaplain of Christ Church, Vienna
The world is living in a hotplate which is about to explode. KAICIID is one of the few well established and well supported institutions which are trying to spread water to heal the burning world. Most of the world's wealth is investing to burn it, destroy it and hurt it. Less resources are dedicated to harmonise, heal and spread love and compassion. What would our children say if those few places were to close? What kind of world would we be handing over to children? I request from the people who are in power to listen to your inner voices and do what they tell you. One day we need to face the truth and provide answers to the next generation.
- Dishani Jayaweera, Co-Founder, Directress, Programme Designer and Strategist, Center for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR) Sri Lanka
We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the special relations we have with The King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID). In these times of abundant intellectual and ethnic disagreements, there is a great need for the practice and promotion of a culture of dialogue. We commend the importance of KAICIID as a centre that supports and promotes dialogue and brings together religious leaders, particularly in the Arab world.
KAICIID contributed to our ability to implement our peacebuilding initiative called the “Friendship Network of Church and Mosque Goers” in various Lebanese regions, as we have worked towards the mitigation of religious segregation between Muslims and Christians through dialogue and the promotion of mutual understanding. Dialogue is a pathway to change. It creates rapprochement where disagreements divide and builds bridges in the midst of differences. This is the approach we have seen at KAICIID, whose members have spared no effort at constructing a culture of dialogue for the sake of peace in various communities around the world. They have pursued this through the training of individuals and local leaders in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, with dedicated care for scientific quality and objectivity.
- The Institute of Middle East Studies, Lebanon
Having worked with KAICIID in the field of migration and refugee aid for a humanitarian organization in Vienna, I strongly believe that interreligious and intercultural dialogue is the core of long-term integration and social cohesion in our local community. KAICIID’s programme for the Social Inclusion of People Seeking Refuge has contributed to a better cultural understanding on all sides and has encouraged trust and mutual exchange.
By bringing together different actors from European countries, all working at the grassroots in the field of migration and refugee aid, KAICIID provides an unique chance to merge the expertise in humanitarian work with the expertise in interreligious dialogue. By doing so, the impact of integration work can be broadened throughout all other local communities.
- Elisabeth Palugyay, KAICIID Fellow and Section head, migration and refugee aid, Austrian Red Cross Vienna
I stand with KAICIID! I believe in its vision and mission of providing programmes and platforms where people of different religious and cultural backgrounds can come together, learn the values of dialogue, and promote those values when they go back to their respective communities. In the process, it creates positive impacts on societies, especially in some of the troubled places of the world. Its closure would inevitably jeopardize not only the implementation of its programmes and initiatives but also the tenure of many dedicated men and women working for the Centre.
- Cirilo Boloron Jr., KAICIID Fellow and Pastoral for the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria
I think KAICIID is a place to engage on human rights, gender equality, rule of law and religious freedom. It is essential in the dialogue between the Western and Arab world, working towards encounters between people of faith. In my case, as a Rabbi, it has led to a greater encounter with the Arab world, the Sunnis and Shia worlds and people of faith throughout the world.
It enables an atmosphere for discussion and dialogue by champions of human rights and equality. For sure, scrutiny of human rights records goes on in this atmosphere. Closing down that discussion is counter-intuitive and counterproductive. In all the human rights interventions that I have successfully made, campaigns that have included diplomacy and dialogue can make real change...
What’s more useful?
- Rabbi Alexander Goldberg, KAICIID Fellow 2015; Chair, Coordinating Council of Jewish Organisations at the United Nations; Lead Chaplain, University of Surrey
KAICIID serves as an effective catalyst in diffusing extremism of all religions around the world. Through its Fellows Programme it has created an army of peace and dialogue ambassadors who have transformed their communities and benefited thousands in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. KAICIID has been instrumental in creating a movement of effective change makers and social influencers where otherwise it was not possible.
- Sri Swami Svatmananda, KAICIID Fellow, India
Through my participation in the Arab Fellows Programme I acquired knowledge and skills that helped me understand and respect the Other. I also had the opportunity to meet representatives of religious institutions and colleagues from different Arab countries who have shared experiences and educational resources that contribute to my work. I have shared these experiences in my country with colleagues who did not have the chance to participate in this wonderful programme, particularly among young people, who are more susceptible to intolerance and to be attracted to circles of violence.
KAICIID is a reflection of the human values that I have observed through communication with its employees, programme managers and trainers. More efforts are required by KAICIID to promote the values of citizenship and acceptance of the others. KAICIID is a distinguished institution with a strong message and vision.
- Awatef Anwar Boshra, Acting Monitoring & Evaluation Manager for Forum for Intercultural Dialogue (FID), Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) Egypt
Over the years, KAICIID has formed a global network of religiously motivated leaders who work tirelessly to make this world a better place. To close the Centre would mean to deprive positive influencers and change makers of power, resources and inspiration.
Having obtained the Fellowship in 2017, I was among many other people from all over the world who benefitted from the Centre’s rich and meaningful activities. All of the Fellows have implemented interreligious initiatives that impacted hundreds, even thousands of people all over the world.
- Dr. Taras Dzyubanskyy, KAICIID Fellow 2017; Libertas Center for Interreligious Dialogue (Ukraine), Lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Ukraine), Recipient of BMEIA intercultural achievement Award 2018
As a teacher of religion, I find KAICIID models on interreligious and intercultural dialogue useful in my religiously and culturally diverse classroom. Indeed, KAICIID does a tremendous job of training religious and political leaders, community activists and teachers to be ambassadors of peace and social cohesion in our world of religious and cultural diversity.
In Africa, KAICIID has helped a lot in collaboration with local partners in creating a platform for interreligious dialogue – especially in war-torn areas like the Central Africa Republic, Chad and Nigeria.
Long live KAICIID! We aspire to live in the global world which cherishes diversities through dialogue.
- Shijja Kevin Kuhumba, KAICIID Fellow; Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The resources that this Centre has provided so far have had an incalculable value, and from it, I draw new life for the initiatives, projects and ideas that today are so essential. I feel valued by KAICIID as a woman who is an intercultural and interreligious mediator. Without the Centre, I would lose an important part of my development that I hope many others will have the opportunity to experience.
- Claudia Giampietro, KAICIID Fellow, UISG International Union of Superiors General, Rome, Italy
As a 2016 International Fellow, I can't begin to express how enormously helpful the KAICIID Fellows training in interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and the last 3 year's follow-up experiences, have been in my life and in the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people whom I've been in contact with since graduation.
KAICIID was the first organization I've worked with that embraces people of all religious backgrounds and works tirelessly and effectively in religious as well as sectarian conflict areas around the globe to promote peace building through dialogue.
Since 2012, KAICIID has provided 7 years of brilliant programming from leading educators. Its alumni are in more than 40 countries. The phenomenal online presence, high-level platforms connecting leaders across continents, and its hands-on experience have created so much goodness and optimism during a time when we have seen some of the most horrific acts of civil war and heartless terror. Its high profile Board of Directors representing major religions and academic institutions from around the globe are without reproach.
- Rabbi Jeff Burger, KAICIID Fellow
KAICIID is a unique institution that through its remarkable programmes gathers many religious leaders, academics and dialogue practitioners from all over the world. For me and for fellow academics, KAICIID is a place where we constantly expand our horizons, where we can learn about the importance of global dialogue and about how to raise the impact of our work in today’s world. KAICIID showed us what we have in common and how to overcome our differences through sincere and meaningful dialogue. After all, the differences shouldn't be greater than what binds us together.
- Dr. Aleksandra Djuric Milovanovic, KAICIID Fellow, Institute for Balkan Studies - Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
I think KAICIID is the only interreligious organization that wants to accommodate all the belief systems that exist in this world. As a Confucian, I was openly invited to become a Fellow from KAICIID. There are almost no interfaith organizations in the world who want to recognize Confucianism as a religion. The governments of Austria, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the Vatican should be proud of KAICIID's presence and we hope that more countries will join KAICIID to create a better world.
- Kris Tan, KAICIID Fellow, Chairman of Young Indonesian Generation (GEMAKU)
Thanks to KAICIID I know how to separate the fault from the offender – what an approach for a good peaceful solution. The Fellows training received in Abuja in April 2018 allowed me to reconcile the two Muslim and Christian communities in my community who now live in perfect cohesion. I am willing to testify around the world about the change in my community to raise awareness. Thank you all.
- Ougba Ben Nafi Ahmadou, KAICIID Fellow and Muslim youth Representative, 6th district of Bangui, Central African Republic
I find the training and network that KAICIID offers is excellent, and is very much useful in my ministries. The professors, trainers, staff and especially the Fellows from different nationalities I met during the training were amazing, and I was inspired by the initiatives of the Fellows. Together we can do so much more.
We are going through a period of time where human beings hate and kill each other, and make life miserable for millions. Organizations like KAICIID are necessary to promote the noble goal of living together in harmony.
- Fr. Jose Nandhikkara CMI, KAICIID Fellow, Catholic priest, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for the Study of World Religion, Dharmaram College, Bangalore, India
KAIICID changed my worldview completely on issues such as perception, dialogue, and living with difference. Through trainings on dialogue, resource mobilization, capacity building, and identity I learnt much about conflict resolution, dialogue facilitation and respect for humanity. KAIICID is an organization that is helping achieve sustainable development around the world through sustainable peace and coexistence. It is an organization that is helping to eliminate religious fundamentalism and radicalism, hence a practical organization in my life. My life has changed to a greater extend through KAIICID initiatives and today I am positively impacting my community in Zimbabwe.
- The Rev. Dr. Ishanesu Sextus Gusha, Deanery of St Mary and All Saints Cathedral Harare and Senior Lecturer of New Testament Studies at University of Zimbabwe
The interreligious perspective offered by KAICIID through its programmes amplifies the voices of religious minority groups in the world. In Indonesia, a Muslim predominant country, KAICIID trained many, but not only, young Muslim activists and scholars. They are becoming the key figures in promoting freedom of religions or beliefs, including for minority groups such as Christians, Buddhists, Confucians, Hindus, local religions, and other faiths. KAICIID and its vision deserves to be stronger in the future.
- Dr. Suhadi Cholil, KAICIID Fellow, lecturer at the Graduate School of State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and interreligious dialogue activist
KAICIID has equipped me with knowledge and skills on interreligious and intercultural dialogue through the training given to me in 2018. Indeed this knowledge has improved my relationship with people of other religious and cultural backgrounds, I can freely mix up with them without any segregation. I'm more tolerant towards people of other faiths and cultural backgrounds than before.
May God continue to use KAICIID in a mighty way and help people to coexist peacefully by appreciating their religious and cultural differences. God bless KAICIID.
- Sister Kyaligonza Rose, KAICIID Fellow, St. Augustine University of Tanzania
I believe KAICIID is a unique centre where people of all faiths come together, trust each other and be friends for life. At KAICIID you can be a Lutheran pastor sitting next to a Muslim Imam on your right and a Catholic priest on your left where you have a Buddhist monk talking to you from the front and a Hindu joining the team. The amazing part is that all of them are your friends and have one common passion of respect to humanity.
- Rev. Dr. Geleta Simesso, KAICIID Fellow, Faith and Development Manager for World Vision Ethiopia
Before, for me, to say salaam to a Christian was not possible. I asked myself, 'Why would I say that to a Christian?' But salaam means peace, and now I say that to all of my Christian friends. We became so close that we understand that we’re from the same family. When they came to me to participate in this project, I was saying, 'Why is he doing this? Why bring the Muslims and Christians together?' because of the previous knowledge that I had. When we came together when we started the programme, that was was when I realised, wow, the Christian is not my enemy"
- Ghaddafi Yusuf Baba, Dialogue Project Benificiary, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Nigeria
Thank you very much for all the efforts that you have done for us.
It was a very valuable experience and I learned a lot. I intend to share my knowledge with others and certainly introduce your great online course.
- Parvin Daeipour, Iran, Teheran Dialogue Center, Dialogue Facilitator, KAICIID Online Course Participant
The KAICIID Online Course is one of the best courses I've done so far! The things I learnt in the course will last my entire lifetime and it has also opened up enormous possibilities for further working and collaborating with friends all around the globe on dialogue.
- Arindam Sengupta, India, Hare School, KAICIID Online Course Participant
The course has immensely enriched my scope of knowledge in the subject. My satisfaction increases my appetite to work with KAICIID. Thank you for such an amazing guide throughout the course period.
- Salika Dasa, Nigeria, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Temple President
Thanks a lot to all the team of the KAICIID Centre for your efforts to make the world more peaceful and tolerant to live in and for your creative methods in teaching and effective ways in delivering the message of peace among different kinds of religions.
- Ilyas Dekkar, Algeria, Emir Abd El Kader University of Islamic Sciences, Researcher
This is nothing short of a shock. I have been associated with KAICIID from 2015 and this association has enriched my understanding of dialogue in numerous ways. At the same time, it has provided me with an exposure to like-minded people from other faiths whose endeavours for the realization of peace and harmony through sustained interaction and empathy for the other has taught me much about the dynamics of human relations. In my humble view, the social and academic impact of KAICIID's endeavours ought not to be measured in the light of mere political decisions.
When I talk about Pakistan and other similar countries, KAICIID made many many positive effects in our societies towards peace and stability among religions and sects. In short if I say, they have provided great services and opportunities to humanity without any distinction of color, sex, religion and affiliation.
- Dr. Muhammad Ilyas, KAICIID Fellow, President, International Dialogue Research & Awareness Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan
Most probably like everyone, when I was a child, seeing a rainbow would make me happy. In the last week of May 2016, I was unprecedentedly elated to see a different rainbow – a rainbow of diverse religions, cultures, and countries. Amidst the chilling winter of Vienna in December of the same year, I was able to see a potential super rainbow in the world – an unparalleled gathering of almost 70 Fellows at KAICIID Dialogue Centre. These dialogue ambassadors who come from almost 30 countries the world over believe that amidst the current deluge of internecine wars, religious bigotry, and violent extremism, there is hope.
- Prof. Dr. Mansoor L. Limba, KAICIID Fellow, Associate Professor III, Ateneo de Davao University, Philippines
I believe it would be a mistake and a grave loss to restrict or threaten the contribution that KAICIID makes to a larger vision of a harmonious diverse world. In the years since completing my fellowship I have continued to dialogue with KAICIID affiliates, all of whom have impressed me as serious, committed, ethical people representing a wide range of religious affiliations. Fruitful exchanges across social divides is a crucial endeavor in this age and it is KAICIID's primary mission.
- Dr. Jenn Lindsay, KAICIID Fellow, Professor of Sociology and Communications, John Cabot University
While I have long been active in interreligious and multifaith efforts in North America, I never felt connected to the global community. And for that, I always felt like our efforts were limited in scope and impact. KAICIID gave me the initial entry point of connection with similarly oriented interfaith activists from around the world. The fellowship programme helped me plug in with folks in a more global way, and the relationships and networks I have gained through KAICIID has proven incredibly fruitful for me, both personally and professionally. I am deeply appreciative of the peace-building work KAICIID has done and continues to do, and I am hopeful to stay connected with them in the years and decades going forward.
- Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, KAICIID Fellow, Scholar, Activist, and Writer
The KAICIID International Dialogue Centre is needed now more than ever: In a world filled with challenges of religious extremism, violent conflicts, hate, lack of tolerance and acceptance of one another, I see KAICIID since its inception as a bridge builder to these emerging global challenges.
KAICIID in the short period of its existence has brought the entire globe together to the dialogue table, fostering relationships, and building trust and acceptance through deeper understanding through dialogue.
Our various communities have also adopted the same through the various trainings we rendered through the support of KAICIID.
We now have a common slogan in our communities: when they have problems they say “Asa santa” or "Please use dialogue" in Hausa. This is KAICIID.
- Elder Justina Mike Ngwobia, KAICIID Fellow, Executive Director, Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Movement (JPRM), Nigeria, Founder of Women peace builders Network in Nigeria (WOPEN), Co-chair, Women Peace mentors and mediators Forum, Nigeria
After completing the [Fellows] programme, I realised how important this training was for me not only as an individual, but also as an Integration Ambassador in Austria. We received professional training (both theories and practice) about interreligious and intercultural dialogue. We had enough free space to be critical and to express our opinions. During the training, I had the feeling as if I were in a global village with its different manifestations (regional, religious, interreligious und intrareligious, ethnical, cultural…). In this global village we learned to appreciate diversity and we addressed the challenges and risks. It was amazing! I am deeply grateful that I received this training.
- Mag. Mabrouka Rayachi, KAICIID Fellow, Supervisor for Islamic Education in Lower Austria
Ideologically people are so distant and fragmented. We need a room where dialogue without any barriers and burden can be performed. The more dialogue we have, the wider space that we will have for putting similarities among human races. KAICIID is one of the best international institutions that play this role.
As an International Fellow at the Centre in 2017, I have gained many benefits from KAICIID. By participating in the Fellows Programme, I have enriched not only my cognitive knowledge on dialogue and peace, but more broadly, I have been able to engage in practical experience in dealing with diversity in real life. KAICIID is an excellent exemplary model. We need more centres in the world that work on the concerns that KAICIID has pioneered.
- Dr. Pradana Boy Zulian, KAICIID Fellow, Lecturer, University of Muhammadiyah Malang, Indonesia. Assistant to Special Staff of the President of Republic of Indonesia for International Religious Affairs
In September 2015, I participated in KAICIID’s conference in Jordan for the first time entitled "United Against Violence Through Social Media”. This conference helped me to change my views about the other, by opening my mind and social connections I became a personal and community figure. In addition, I attended the fellowship program in the Arab region. I got knowledge about and the chance to meet Jewish, Hindus and other religions as an example from different countries representing different cultures. The KAICIID Centre worked day and night to collect this rich diversity under the heading of humanity and coexistence with the other without any kind of discrimination. The initiatives that were funded by the Centre have had a great impact on the local community, I have gained experience, work and training, and I have personally invested in raising awareness and spreading all these to my regional community.
I highly appreciate KAICIID’s mission. I wish KAICIID more success and progress. The whole world needs the work and efforts of the Centre.
- Media D. Marcelle Jwaniat, KAICIID Fellow, Jordan
Through KAICIID training (directly or indirectly) most practitioners and educators in the field of interreligious dialogue have come to the realization to the fact that religious unity should be seen in the simile of a salad bowl, where different ingredients come together to form a nice meal without these ingredients losing their identity. By this concept, religious people could come together, contribute their quota to give world the peace it deserves, without losing identity or religious persuasion. And that is what KAICIID stands for.
- Mohammed Kassim, KAICIID Fellow, Director, Academic Administration, Islamic University College, Ghana
Honestly, I really didn’t know dialogue before 2015 and didn’t understand what dialogue means and why we need it. Since then, I feel that I have an enlightened heart, while before, I was full of ignorance. Now there is light in the darkness, because before I didn’t care for others. Without KAICIID, I wouldn’t be an interreligious dialogue trainer because KAICIID trained us, supported us, and built global networks with wonderful people. It has been a great opportunity being a part of KAICIID. We need you. The world needs you like light or purified water. If we lose you, we lose loving kindness and peace.
- Ashin Mandalarlankara, KAICIID Fellow, Buddhist monk
KAICIID is a powerful and necessary institution needed in the current fast-changing era. It has provided many opportunities and spaces for dialogue practitioners and scholars to meet, to network and to collaborate across religions, cultures and continents. It also strengthens dialogue practitioners and scholars in facing the challenges and obstacles in the field. KAICIID has truly provided a strong foundation for me to continue working to create spaces and to build bridges for dialogue, especially among women, and to promote the importance of interfaith and intercultural dialogue as an urgent tool in keeping and creating peace in a multireligious and multicultural society like Indonesia. Thank you KAICIID!
- Wiwin S.A. Rohmawati, KAICIID Fellow, co-founder and coordinator of Srikandi Lintas Iman, an Interfaith women’s community in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Being a member of the KAICIID Fellows Network offers me an opportunity to know more about interreligious dialogue and what means to be an interfaith activist. With the growing network all over the world and with so many implemented grassroots interfaith initiatives from its Fellows around the world, it gave me a great opportunity to learn more the different approaches and the complexity of social diversity. Today we are living in the world where the challenge of hatred is always there, sometimes religion has been taken as source of legitimation to spread hatred. KAICIID as an organization is necessary to promote the goal of respecting diversity.
- Kamilia Hamidah, KAICIID Fellow, Head of Peace Promotion Centre at Institut Pesantren Mathali'ul Falah. Islamic Community Development Lecturer, social and interfaith activist
The KAICIID Fellows Programme has given me the privilege and space to relate to people of different cultures and faith traditions. This experience has been giving me the confidence to say to the world that it is possible to live in harmony and peace regardless of our differences. I am now working in the Southern part of Thailand, and I have been enriched by the uniqueness and beauty of the faith-traditions of our Muslim and Buddhist brothers and sisters. Thanks to KAICIID who has deepened my commitment to interreligious and intercultural dialogue through its various programmes and activities. I pray that KAICIID will continue to be a solid instrument of dialogue, peace and harmony in the world. Indeed, I am privileged to be an alumnus of the Fellows Programme.
- Father Hermes Sabud, KAICIID Fellow, Society of Mary, Chairman of the Marist Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue and Reconciliation (MCIRDR) Ranong, Thailand
To many, dialogue is synonymous to KAICIID, and I proudly attest to the reasons why one would think so. I’ve worked with several organisations that work in similar fields, but I put forth with immense conviction that none value youth and women the way KAICIID does. The uniqueness of this organisation lies in the fact that it values diversity and integrity of all sorts, and it lives up to its mandate in its truest sense- mediating peace and justice in several pockets of the world. KAICIID is not just an institution – it’s a community. A global one. A community that dreams of a better and inclusive tomorrow. Since my association with KAICIID, I’ve only seen it grow and touch many lives, including my own. I realise I’d be lesser as a person without KAICIID.
- Sneha Roy, KAICIID Fellow, Doctoral candidate, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
KAICIID gave me the opportunity to see the people of the world differently and with value. The skills I acquired from the Fellows Programme in 2018 enhanced me greatly in the field of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and the KAICIID initiative I implemented in my community I believe contributed to non - violent elections in 2019. Please do not shut down KAICIID! Instead, KAICIID should be encouraged to continue!
- Rev. Samaila Yahaya, KAICIID Fellow, House on The Rock Kaduna, Nigeria; Deputy Chief Coordinator, Youth With A purpose Initiative
In this very difficult time when we, as the whole society, are in despair, fear, anger and uncertainty, I have been desperately searching for a safe and nurturing space. The safe space where I can express my difficult feelings and emotions in order to be heard and healed. And the nurturing space where I can get the unique opportunity to walk in the others’ lives and reconnect with their feelings and emotions. Through the many moments of dialogue with hearts, we start to feel the depth of our collective suffering, come to realize how we are interconnected, and gain the strength to envision our future together.
Our years long works on creating safe and nurturing space to heal the society wouldn't have happened without the intellectual support and guidance from KIFP team and KAICIID.
The KAICIID Fellows Programme has strengthened the hearts, skills and knowledge of peace weavers around the world.
- Nang Loung Hom, KAICIID Fellow, Myanmar
The KAICIID Fellows Programme has provided us in Nigeria (and elsewhere) with a growing network of competent and committed bridge-builders across our many cultural, regional and religious divides. These trusted local peace and dialogue experts are increasingly becoming significantly valuable influencers and resource persons at every major interfaith gathering and engagement. Thanks to KAICIID’s ongoing support, the voices of peace are getting louder and stronger where they were once silent. We have an increasing number of friends and insider-mediators on all sides of the dialogue table with whom we can more easily work through our various hot and thorny issues. This is a tremendous source of hope and optimism for me in a society where the divisive voices of hatred, extremism and exclusion have seriously undermined peaceful coexistence, social process and the advancement of our common humanity.
- Nuruddeen Lemu, KAICIID Fellow, Director Research and Training, Islamic Education Trust, Minna, Nigeria
Nowadays, due to religious extremism, violent conflicts, hate, lack of tolerance and acceptance of the other, KAICIID’s presence is more than needed.
KAICIID’s role as a peace builder and global hub of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, should be strengthened rather than stopped. Last but not least, through dialogue, KAICIID has managed to foster relationships as well as build trust and acceptance through deeper understanding through dialogue.
- Dr Vicky Missira, KAICIID Fellow, Expert on Democratic Education in Europe
KAICIID is a bridge builder, motivator, peace seeker and peace enhancer under God. The opportunity and training from KAICIID has equipped me to function well as a lecturer, trainer and facilitator of peace wherever I go. Similarly, the relationships and opportunities for me and many around the world are so numerous that all who come in contact with me get touched. Without exaggeration, there is no organization like KAICIID all over the world that is all out for peace using all at its disposal to foster peaceful coexistence and touching lives of those affected by violence all over the world. KAICIID should be encouraged, empowered and supported by all lovers of peace.
- Rev. Zaka Ahuche Peter PhD., KAICIID Fellow; Executive Director, Zaka Centre for Peace and Dialogue Foundation, Nigeria Acting Head of Public Theology Department, Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Jos, Bukuru
Given the terrifying reality that affects our world today, KAICIID’s presence is very important. It is the most prominent Centre in the world playing this role. It teaches us dialogue, humanity, peace and how to live together. KAICIID’s programmes have been spaces of knowledge and training that strengthen people’s humanity. I have studied in many universities but my experience with the Centre has been the most prominent in my professional life.
- Mohammed Zerrouki, KAICIID Fellow, Department of Religion and Comparative Religions, University of Prince Abdelkader Constantine, Algeria
KAICIID is one of the important and pioneering centres that support dialogue between followers of different religions and cultures.
I have been honored to be one of the hundreds who have learned at such initiatives. We are working together in partnership with other important institutions to achieve our common goal of creating a peaceful, secure and pluralistic generation.
- Zaid Bahraluloom, KAICIID Fellow and Director of Al-Balaghi Academy, Al-Khoei Institute, Najaf- Iraq
After diving deep into KAICIID’s programmes and initiatives, it became clear to me that it has a very important positive international impact, through convening followers of different cultures and religions. I had never been inside a church before I got involved with KAICIID, and today I can proudly say that not only am I entering churches, but I am invited to give a lecture at the end of the month in one of Baghdad’s churches.
KAICIID is an international organization with an impact far wider than just the international community. It affects humanity as a whole, and it is unfair to judge KAICIID based on external issues. Let us be fair and look realistically into its community impact before taking a decision that will affect humanity, freedom, and human rights.
- Ammar Hekmat, KAICIID Fellow, Professor in the Department of Theology at the University of Baghdad
From a religious policy perspective, the closure of KAICIID would be a big mistake. This is a harsh blow to interreligious dialogue. Not just for Muslim-Christian dialogue, but for interreligious dialogue with other world religions as well. From my first-hand experience, I can say that the events I participated in were characterized by cultural and interreligious openness. Never did I get the impression that the work of the Centre was influenced by the political interests of a particular country"
- Dr. Paul M. Zulehner, Austrian theologian and Catholic priest, religion sociologist and university professor, former Dean of the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Vienna
During my working life in the field of interreligious dialogue on a number of occasions since 2012 I found myself working with or alongside KAICIID’s staff. I have appreciated their dedication, personal commitment and hard work.
In the liturgy of my church there is a prayer which includes the words, ‘Our hands were unclean, our hearts were unprepared.’ During my years working in interreligious engagement I have been reminded of this prayer on a number of occasions. I am very conscious that there are a range of motives, some less worthy than others, for institutions and individuals to take an interest in the field of interreligious dialogue. Hands are sometimes unclean, and motives are sometimes unworthy. But that applies to many, or indeed most, of us. Yet I believe that the God who I seek to honour can work to bring ‘good’ out of situations that may have a degree of ambiguity.
To continue to engage constructively though not uncritically with the interreligious peace-building work of KAICIID – especially its ground-breaking work in helping to train the next generation of scholars and religious leaders, seems to me to be the better way forward in this less than perfect world.
- Clare Amos