World Council of Churches Representative Dr. Clare Amos Visits KAICIID
29 January 2015, Vienna: Clare Amos of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was welcomed at the Dialogue Centre on 29 January 2015. Dr. Amos is programme executive and coordinator for the WCC’s inter-religious dialogue and cooperation programme.
A month previously, the KAICIID Secretary General also visited WCC headquarters in Geneva.
Dr. Amos discussed the WCC’s long record of successful development in interreligious dialogue. In particular, KAICIID experts found the work of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland, the international centre for encounter, dialogue and formation of the World Council of Churches) interesting in the context of KAICIID’s own focus on dialogue in education and intra-religious dialogue.
KAICIID staff discussed their work with Dr. Amos. They shared information about the KAICIID International Fellows Programme, which provides intensive support for educators at institutions that train religious leaders, to help them incorporate interreligious dialogue methods and practices at these institutions. Religious community leaders receive training support through the KAICIID Media Programme to help them work with the media to represent their communities more accurately and representationally. For religious communities that are confronted with conflicts, in which the belligerents abuse religion to justify violence, the KAICIID Peacebuilding team offers support and training to strengthen community cohesion to withstand polarisation and build trust. The world’s first university-accredited online course in interreligious dialogue, the KAICIID Online Course in Interreligious Dialogue, will launch in March 2015..
The staff of the two organisations agreed that there were natural areas of cooperation and partnership between their respective mandates.
“We are keen to learn from the WCC’s own experiences in intra-religious dialogue as one of the oldest and most inclusive ecumenical organisations in the world, and also to explore cooperation on practical implementations of interreligious dialogue in our respective work”, said Agnes Tuna, Head of Partnerships at KAICIID.
The World Council of Churches brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and including most of the world's Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. At the end of 2013, there were 345 member churches. While the bulk of the WCC's founding churches were European and North American, today most member churches are in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific.
The KAICIID Dialogue Centre (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue) was established in 2012 to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world. Located in Vienna, the Centre is an independent, autonomous, international organisation, free of political or economic influence.
The Founding States of the Centre (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Austria and Kingdom of Spain) constitute the “Council of Parties” responsible for overseeing the work of the Centre; the Holy See is admitted as a Founding Observer to the Centre.
The Board of Directors comprises high-level representatives of the major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) and cultures. The Centre is headed by a Secretary General. An Advisory Forum of up to 100 members of other religions, cultural institutions and international organisations will provide a further resource of interreligious and intercultural perspective.