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Interreligious Dialogue for Peace: Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship

As part of the fifth anniversary of KAICIID’s launch as an intergovernmental and interreligious organization, the Centre is organizing a second high-level meeting for the purpose of launching the much needed and often requested High-level Religious Leaders Joint Platform. In past decades, the world has witnessed several conflicts in which religion has been misused to justify violence. This has led to the emergence of a number of crises (such as internal conflict, violence, displacement and a massive increase in refugees) that have challenged and undermined the stability of the whole world. These conflicts have grown to target followers of different religions in many parts of the world. The violence committed in the name of religion threatens the cultural, social and religious fabric of relations in and between communities, as well as the very survival of religious institutions and communities affected by the conflicts.

In the light of the above reality, there is an urgency to formulate effective responses to the need to foster interreligious and intercultural dialogue to face such a challenge.

The meeting will be attended by more than 250 participants, including 80-100 international participants and 20-30 participants from international organizations and representatives from government missions. It will take place over the course of two days and will be broken into both panel presentations, with time for in depth interactive discussion and small working groups on certain thematic areas. Specific meetings will also be organized, as part of the event, for the launch of a regional inter-faith dialogue Platform in the Arab region.

 

Videos

The Vienna Declaration

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In an unprecedented demonstration of multi-religious solidarity, leaders of Christian, Muslim and other religious communities from Iraq, Syria and the larger Middle East region meeting at the KAICIID Conference "United Against Violence in the Name of Religion" on 19 November 2014 denounced with one voice all violence in the name of religion, and have called on the international community to protect religious and cultural diversity in Iraq and Syria. Religious leaders from Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Mandean, and Yazidi communities across the Middle East jointly issued the Vienna Declaration, "United against Violence in the Name of Religion", at the international conference organized by the KAICIID Dialogue Centre. This is the first time religious leaders representing so many different religions from a crisis region have come together as one to denounce oppression, marginalization, persecution and killing of people in the name of religion.

 

 

The Athens Declaration

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High level Christian and Muslim religious leaders from the Middle East met in Athens on 3 September 2015 and endorsed the “Athens Declaration: United Against Violence in the Name of Religion - Supporting the Citizenship Rights of Christians, Muslims and Other Religious and Ethnic Groups  in the Middle East”.  

Related Initiatives

 

  • "United against Violence in the Name of Religion" conferenceThis conference, held in November 2014 in Vienna was focused on the critical situation in Iraq and Syria. It resulted in the adoption of a plan of action and inaugurated the official launch of the initiative "United against Violence in the Name of Religion", which includes several activities and projects aiming to support peaceful coexistence by focusing on four areas: 1. social media, 2. religious education, 3. reconciliation and social cohesion, and 4. strengthening institutional capacities in interreligious dialogue. In addition, at the close of the conference, attendees issued “The Vienna Declaration”, a joint statement formalizing their commitment to promote dialogue and mutual respect.
  • Social Media as Space for Dialogue trainings: As part of the UVNR initiative, KAICIID implemented a training program: “United against Violence in the Name of Religion: Social Media as a Space for Dialogue” which gathered more than 200 leading young religious leaders and representatives from different religions in the Arab world, representing the various religious communities that make up the social and religious fabric of the region. This program has continued through the implementation of various local initiatives (social media campaigns) in the Mashreq, and Gulf regions, as well as an initiative with UNDP in the Maghreb.
  • Dialogue and Interreligious Education: A “Network of Religious and Theological Institutions” in the Arab region was also established, while the centre still organizes consultative meetings with religious leaders to launch a platform for activists and peacemakers in the region. In addition, in late 2014, the Center launched the International Fellows Programme, which aims to train teachers and educational institutions from different religions (Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim) to prepare students and tomorrow’s religious leaders to be builders of peace and leaders in the field of interreligious dialogue.
  • Reconciliation and Social Cohesion: Beyond its efforts in Iraq and Syria in this area, in the past five years, the Centre and its partners such as the Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, the International Mediation Center and UNDP have worked on the development and implementation of programmes in each of KAICIID’s focus countries (the Central African RepublicNigeria, and Myanmar), in order to support peacebuilding in areas where conflict is spreading and to help communities develop their skills and use dialogue as a tool to reach mutual understanding and to enhance social cohesion.