H.E. Dr. Awwad Bin Saleh Alawwad, Minister for Information and Culture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and a high-level delegation visited the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) in Vienna on 10 July 2017.
The KAICIID Secretary General Faisal Bin Muaammar welcomed Minister Alawwad and emphasised the importance of Saudi Arabia’s support, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, for the Centre’s initiatives in building bridges among followers of different religions and cultures. He underscored the vital multilateral support provided by the other Council of Parties including the Kingdom of Spain, the Republic of Austria and the Holy See as a founding observer.
Minister Alawwad highlighted the importance of the Centre’s mandate to promote interreligious dialogue, especially in the context of the growing threat of extremism and the misuse of religion to promote violence: “We must have a unified message and a united front against extremism and terrorism. Your Centre, and its important work to build respect among followers of diverse religions, is at the heart of this effort.”
In this context, he congratulated the KAICIID leadership on the good work already completed since the Centre’s establishment, and committed to supporting and promoting the work of the Centre.
Secretary General Bin Muaammar introduced the Minister to the Centre’s initiatives promoting social cohesion around the globe.
In particular, Minister Alawwad was briefed on the Centre’s projects and initiatives, including the initiative “United Against Violence in the Name of Religion”, that supports peaceful coexistence in the Middle East. The briefing included an update on KAICIID’s projects in the Central African Republic, Myanmar, Nigeria and the Arab region.
The Minister was also briefed on the Centre’s social media training programmes for young religious leaders and dialogue experts. Launched in Amman in 2015, the training equips influencers in the Arab region with the tools to propagate interreligious dialogue and common citizenship on social media. Over 400 participants have been trained in six countries, with new trainings upcoming in Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in 2017.
The Secretary General said, “Social media is often a channel for the spread of hate and intolerance of those of different faiths, and the misuse of religion to incite violence. There are many young people across the region who want to stop this trend, and who want to use the power of social media to spread peace instead of hate. Our training programme gives them the tools they need to do exactly this.”
The briefing also included an update on the newly-launched Network for Religious Muslim and Christian Faculties and Institutes in the Arab Region: the first platform in the Arab region to bring together faculties from Christian and Muslim educational institutions to develop a shared approach to teaching interreligious dialogue to their students.