Welcome to KAICIID’s new website: multilingual versions in the languages of our member states: Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain will be launched shortly.
This new website is indicative of a growing, developing organisation: since our founding in 2012, our staff, programmes, activities and mandate have all grown by leaps and bounds. We now count 25 nationalities among our staff, and our work is truly global.
In 2014 alone, KAICIID worked with more than 2,740 stakeholders, from 6 continents, 106 countries, nine conflict zones, and over 30 religions, and trained over 250 people in dialogue methods and skills.
At the same time, however, the demands placed on us have also increased. Dialogue between followers of different religions and cultures has never been more necessary. We were all shaken last year by a growing crisis in Iraq and Syria, where rampant violence in the name of religion has led to a growing humanitarian emergency, with millions displaced, terrorised and killed. In December, a time that has traditionally resonated with messages of peace, 126 children and their teachers were murdered in a senseless attack in Pakistan. Peace is threatened
The central theme of our work in 2015 is, therefore, peacebuilding: we will work to build social cohesion through education and the media, preserve religious and cultural diversity, and protect the most marginalised and underprivileged sections of societies in conflict. This will see us working, in 2015, in Iraq, Syria, the Central African Republic and East Africa, Nigeria and Myanmar, among others.
Violence has nothing to do with religion: a fact that was emphasised by religious leaders from Iraq, Syria and the Middle East in the Vienna Declaration signed at the KAICIID Conference in November 2014. These faith leaders came together with representatives of the numerous international organizations already doing vital work on the ground in the conflict regions of Iraq and Syria.
In 2015, KAICIID will cement its work with these partners: working towards converting the recommendations of this meeting into focused, effective outcomes that can bring about peace and reconciliation to the citizens of Iraq and Syria.
We are in consultation with UNDP on joint implementation of projects mobilise influencers to promote social cohesion in Iraq and Syria.
Working with education experts in the Middle East we will help evaluate curricula from primary and secondary levels to counteract prejudice within those interconnected societies affected by the conflict.
In areas of conflict, religious leaders can be powerful mediators and messengers of peace. In 2015, KAICIID, together with UN partners, will explore how we can assist Religious Leaders to prevent atrocity crimes: what are the warning signs of violent conflicts, and how can religious communities organise to prevent them from occurring?
Also, we will convene a meeting in Cairo, Egypt: where young people, media and social media have had such an impact in recent events; we will explore how these actors can promote interreligious dialogue.
Through the Multireligious Collaboration for the Common Good programme, we will train teachers, health workers and dialogue institutions in Africa and Asia to expand their capacity to work with those of different religions and cultures.
In early 2015, we will launch two projects that are global firsts: the first ever free university-level course on interreligious dialogue (the KAICIID Online Course on Interreligious Dialogue) and the first ever online, interactive map of interreligious dialogue activities: the KAICIID Peace Map, a powerful tool for researchers and lay audiences alike on dialogue’s contribution to conflict transformation.
We hope to engage in a dialogue with our stakeholders throughout this year, on these and other projects: through our website we hope to inform you of our work, and we welcome feedback, suggestions or ideas via our channels on social media, or via the more traditional means of email.