The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) committed to continue working together to promote the significant potential of faith-based organizations, youth, women, and media in advancing interreligious and intercultural dialogue, particularly in societies affected by identity-based conflicts. On 27 October 2020, KAICIID Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar and UNAOC High-Representative Miguel Ángel Moratinos signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cement their partnership for the next four years.
Under the MoU, the two organizations will combine their expertise in training and resource development to create online courses on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies through interreligious and intercultural dialogue. KAICIID and UNAOC will also cooperate on their respective Fellowship programmes, which have both graduated hundreds of young peace advocates every year through a process of cultural and interreligious immersion and training.
Faisal Bin Muaammar, KAICIID Secretary General, said: “COVID-19 is threatening every aspect of human progress, from health, prosperity and economy, to gender equality and opportunities for young people. We are witnessing renewed threats to our ability to coexist. It is my hope that this deepened cooperation between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) will contribute to strengthening global partnerships around Agenda 2030, and to emphasising the importance of the shared values of human dignity, tolerance and respect that are the basis of all the world’s religions.”
Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High-Representative for UNAOC, said: “The global human crisis has magnified deep-rooted social injustices and inequalities that have plagued our societies for a long time. Now is the time to reverse course and reset our actions on the right track. This is the time for a different approach driven by unity, compassion, and solidarity. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is looking forward to continuing its productive collaboration with the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) to foster interreligious and intercultural dialogue, which remain absolutely essential.”
The cooperation takes place within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and will support the implementation of the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by UNAOC and launched by UN Secretary-General H.E. Mr. António Guterres on 12 September 2019. The Plan of Action provides concrete recommendations to support Member States in their efforts to ensure that religious sites are safe, that worshipers can observe their rituals in peace, and that the values of compassion and tolerance are fostered globally.
Since 2017, when they signed their first MoU, KAICIID and UNAOC have partnered on a number of initiatives designed to enhance peace through the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
In October 2020, KAICIID and UNAOC partnered with the G20 Interfaith Forum Association and the National Committee for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in organizing the 7th annual G20 Interfaith Forum. The Forum compiled recommendations from hundreds of religious organizations in the Arab region, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe on issues such as COVID-19, inequality and racism, climate change and the safeguarding of sacred sites. These recommendations will be presented to world leaders meeting at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in November 2020. The inclusion of religious perspectives into international and transnational development agendas is a shared priority for both institutions.
In October 2019, KAICIID joined the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) ‘Group of Friends’, a community of countries and international organizations that actively promotes UNAOC’s objectives and works at the global, regional and local levels, as well as worldwide. KAICIID also supported the development of the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites.