Ministers Endorse KAICIID’s Work in Interreligious and Intercultural Education

13 Dec 2013

Ministers attending the KAICIID Global Forum in Vienna from 18 to 19 November 2013 endorsed a statement expressing their support for KAICIID and its activities. The ministers represented a range of countries – including Austria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Spain – and affirmed their commitment to education as a means to advance the universal values shared across religions.

The statement highlights a need for better intercultural education, and expresses the intention of the ministers to study the observations and recommendations of KAICIID’s Image of the Other in Interreligious and Intercultural Education programme “in order to see how best practices and lessons learned can be applied more effectively” in educational systems in their own countries.

The statement also encourages KAICIID to “further enhance its contacts and collaboration with international and non-governmental organisations devoted to promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, as well as peace and security in general”, and affirms the support of their governments for the important cause of interreligious and intercultural dialogue “in order to reduce tensions, enhance cooperation, increase respect for diversity and promote a culture of peace”.

KAICIID Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar said, “This statement from government representatives attending the KAICIID Global Forum is a fitting close to this event. We welcome this message of support from policymakers from around the world, and commit to continuing our work with them. KAICIID will continue to work, together with our partners in religious institutions, in education and in government, to ensure that education and the shared values of religions continue to fulfil their role as promoters of peace.”

KAICIID was established in November 2012 to create a pioneering and leading global hub for dialogue amongst followers of diverse religions and cultures. Today, the KAICIID Dialogue Centre actively creates opportunities, including conferences and educational programmes, for the world’s religions and cultures to come together to discuss change in intercultural and interreligious affairs. In 2013, KAICIID embarked on a programme examining the representation of people of other communities, religions or cultures (the “Other”) in education, bringing together policymakers, experts and religious leaders in a series of regional conferences to examine best practices, recommendations and challenges in this field. The KAICIID Global Forum on Image of the Other: Interreligious and Intercultural Education is the culmination of this year’s work.

Ministerial Statement, “Image of the Other” Global Forum Vienna, 19 November 2013

We, the Ministers and government representatives attending the KAICIID Global Forum “Image of the Other: Interreligious and Intercultural Education” in Vienna on 19 November 2013, compliment KAICIID on its first year of operations. We wish to acknowledge the work of the KAICIID Staff, under the wise leadership of the Secretary General, His Excellency, Faisal Bin Muaammar. We also acknowledge the valuable contribution of KAICIID’s Council of Parties and its Board of Directors.

We strongly believe that education can advance the universal values shared in all religions.

We recognize that as our societies become more culturally diverse and our world more interconnected, intercultural education takes on increased importance.

We therefore appreciate, and underline the importance of, KAICIID’s programme on the “Image of the Other”.

We support and encourage the need for better intercultural education, particularly among the youth.

Furthermore, we believe that more efforts are needed to enhance the “Image of the Other” beyond formal education systems, including through civil society, the media, and government programmes designed to enhance integration.

We will study the observations and recommendations of this programme in order to see how best practices and lessons learned can be applied more effectively in our own systems.

We regard the network of experts that has been developed as a result of this programme, as well as the growing expertise within KAICIID, as valuable resources that can be drawn upon by governments that share our commitment to promoting reconciliation, respect, and dialogue.

We encourage KAICIID to further enhance its contacts and collaboration with international and non-governmental organisations devoted to promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, as well as peace and security in general.

We support KAICIID’s efforts to facilitate interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Such dialogue is urgently needed within and between many states in order to reduce tensions, enhance cooperation, increase respect for diversity and promote a culture of peace.