Vienna, 24 September: Across Europe, faith-based organizations are on the front lines of the effort to integrate people seeking refuge. The promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue is an increasingly important part of the work of experts working in these organizations. While the challenges and good practices vary by country and context, there is much to be learned from sharing knowledge and looking at what has worked (and what has not) in different parts of Europe.
Grassroots organizations working on the social integration of refugees across religious and cultural lines have developed knowledge, tools and promising practices, but could multiply their impact by working through a network that supports the multiplication of impact through joint action, joint learning and by demonstrating the success of grassroots intercultural and interreligious dialogue work, in order to ultimately contribute to policies.
From 19-21 September, a core working group met in Hinterbrühl, Austria to design their future network and create an action plan. This retreat brought together eleven individuals from seven organizations, to discuss how European actors working on the integration of refugees through intercultural and interreligious dialogue can multiply their impact by working together. The meeting included representatives from KAICIID’s Project Integration through Dialogue, Dialogue Knowledge Hub, the Red Cross, the Sacred Heart Basilica Interfaith Dialogue Project, Za’atar NGO and Orange House, ART BRIDGES, the Ecumenical Refugee Programme of the Greek Orthodox Church, and other experts in dialogue and integration. The purpose of the meeting was to develop the Network’s design, and to create an Action Plan for 2019 and beyond.
This meeting was a first step toward a formal Network launch, outreach activities and the development of joint work.