10.10.2007 -

UNESCO Promotes Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue

International Conference “Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue for Sustainable Development” was held with the support of the UNESCO Moscow Office from 14 to 15 September 2007 in Moscow.

The conference was conducted by the Russian Academy of Public Service under the President of the Russian Federation (RAGS) in partnership with the Commission for UNESCO of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation. The conference was also supported by the Ministry of the Regional Development of the Russian Federation, Commission on Culture of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation, Committee of the State Duma, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation for Public Associations and Religious Organizations, Public Chamber of Russia and other governmental and public organizations. The financial support in organizing the conference was provided by the International Public Charity Fund “Dialogue of Cultures – United World,” the International Public Organization the Platform of the “Dialogue of Eurasia,” the Norwegian Center for Human Rights and other organizations.
 
The conference attempted to examine the prospects for intercultural and interfaith dialogue in the changing world, to develop the ideas and principles of dialogue between representatives of different cultures and faiths and to work out recommendations for practical realization of the ideas of peace and harmony.

The welcoming greetings to the participants of the conference were delivered by the President-Rector of the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Coordinating Council of UNESCO Chairs in Russia Mr. Vladimir Yegorov; Director of the UNESCO Office in Moscow Mr. Dendev Badarch; Chairman of the Commission for Culture of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Commission for UNESCO of the Russian Federation, member of the Committee of the Council of Federation on the relations with the CIS countries Mr. Alexander Dzasohov; Programme Specialist, Pluralism and Intercultural Dialogue Section, Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue (UNESCO, Paris) Ms. Rosa Guerreiro, as well as other representatives of governmental and public organizations.

In his speech the Director of the UNESCO Office in Moscow Mr. Dendev Badarch outlined the main programme priorities of UNESCO in the field of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. Mr. Badarch pointed out that nowadays there is a growing recognition of the need to use inter-religious dialogue as a factor contributing to social cohesion and stability worldwide.

The Chairman of the Commission for Culture of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation Mr. Alexander Dzasohov pointed out that culture, art and knowledge have a unique and powerful ability to bring together peoples, nations and religions, and therefore, can serve as effective instruments for dialogue. Mr. Dzasohov highly evaluated the experience of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS countries on creating a legal framework for intercultural and inter-religious communication between CIS countries.
 
During the conference leading scientists, experts in the field of culture and cultural policy from more than 24 countries around the world (including Australia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Israel, Iran, Kazakhstan, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia , Lithuania, Lebanon, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Syria, Slovakia, United States, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, France, the Czech Republic and others) have discussed the prospects for development of intercultural and interreligious dialogue in the context of globalization. A special interest was centered on the topics of cultural diversity, place and role of religion in the cotemporary society; state-confessional relationships in the CIS countries, migration processes, development of science and education and mass-media activities.  

The main happenings of the conference were International Meeting of UNESCO Chairs participating in the UNITWIN network on inter-religious dialogue for intercultural understanding, a round table with participation of UNESCO Chairs "The Role of Education and Science in the Development of Intercultural and Inter-religious Dialogue," and a meeting of the Coordination Committee of the UNESCO Chairs in Russia.  

"The International Network of UNESCO Chairs on inter-religious dialogue for intercultural understanding" was established on March 31, 2006 after 15 chairs had signed an agreement launching the network. The network is a partnership between international academic centres recognized for their expertise in this field bringing together professors, researchers and specialists of the history of religions who are personally committed to the achievement of Inter-religious Dialogue. 
 
The International Meeting of UNESCO Chairs on inter-religious dialogue for intercultural understanding was attended by representatives of UNESCO Chairs from the US, Western and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East. The work of the Meeting was coordinated by the international coordinator of the Network of UNESCO Chairs on inter-religious dialogue for intercultural understanding, Professor of the Fribourg University Mr. Martin Hauser, Programme Specialist of the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue (UNESCO, Paris) Ms. Rosa Guerreiro, Programme Specialist for Culture of the UNESCO Office in Beirut (Lebanon) Mr. Joseph Kreidi, Programme Specialist for Culture of the UNESCO Office in Moscow Ms. Liubava Moreva. A special attention during the meeting was devoted to the discussion of specific issues and prospects for inter-religious dialogue in the context of globalization; study of theoretical and methodological principles of positive case studies; analysis of strategies and prospects of inter-religious dialogue as a means of bringing people together; role of education and sciences in the development of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. 

The conference identified the major trends in the development of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, examined the state-confessional relations in modern Russia and the CIS countries, discussed the role and place of the media in creating a trustful climate between various religions and cultures, as well as other key topics stated in the programme of the conference.

The conference adopted recommendations, resolution and declaration. It was a much publicized event, indicating the interest of both political and civil society to the issues of inter-religious dialogue. The Conference Proceedings will be published and posted on the official website of the conference. 
 
More about the Conference:

    

  Dendev Badarch, Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office                                                                                            

  

  Alexander Dzasohov, Chairman of the Commission for Culture of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation

 

 During the official opening of the conference                                                                                                                 

 

Vladimir Yegorov, President-Rector of the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation

     

Joseph Kreidi, Programme Specialist for Culture (UNESCO Office in Beirut)

 Conference participants

(C) UNESCO




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