Religious Diversity Centre attends KAICIID meeting in Vienna

Jocelyn Armstrong, RDC Trust Chairperson, was in Vienna on 26 February 2018 at the launch of the first “Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World”, sponsored by KAICIID (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue).   

Religious Leaders of the Arab World, signatories who spoke of their commitment to the ‘Interreligious Platform for Dialogue & Cooperation in the Arab World’, 26 Feb 2018.
The agreement signed by 23 high level religious leaders from the Arab region, Muslim and Christian, Grand Muftis and Grand Imams, Archbishops and Patriarchs, and supported by KAICIID, was hailed as a historic event. Jocelyn and her husband, the Rev Dr George Armstrong – a member of KAICIID Advisory Forum – were impressed by the sense of commitment and hope expressed by the leaders as they spoke of the past two decades of violence and conflict and of the role their religious communities could play to reduce tension and strengthen social cohesion in the region. KAICIID Secretary General spoke of the years of preparation for this momentous event and stated: “Religion, especially in the Arab world, is a powerful motivating force, and a source of shared identity for millions of people. For too long, we have allowed religion to be hijacked and used as justification for causing pain and suffering. With the launch of this platform, the leaders of religious communities say ‘enough’ to this manipulation and misuse. There has been enough talk, and not enough action. People need to see that religious communities, working together, are much stronger than any extremists, and that cooperation brings concrete benefits to everyone.”The large February gathering was welcomed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Austria, Spain and Saudi Arabia whose governments, together with the Vatican, are the foundation of the KAICIID. This pioneering effort in the Arab World stands in line with the KAICIID’s programmes of ‘peace and reconciliation through interreligious dialogue’ in Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Myanmar.  The programmes all involve working in partnership with a wide range of international partners that include religious institutions, intergovernmental organisations such as the European Commission and the United Nations, and civil society.

From left to right: Rev Dr George Armstrong, RDC Trust Chairperson Jocelyn Armstrong, and KAICIID Secretary General Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaammar. 
The February meeting reviewed KAICIID’s strategy for the next three years. This focused on three areas  – education at all levels, social media, and partnerships with policy makers. “These three – education, social media, and partnerships with policy makers – at this international level parallel our own RDC objectives at our national level.  We are assured of mutual support and inspiration!” was Jocelyn’s comment on her return home.For further information see: www.kaiciid.org.

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