20 June 2019, VIENNA – Following the 19 June international conference on “From the Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation to Human Security” held in Vienna, the delegation of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, represented by its Executive Director Ambassador Idriss Jazairy and project and communications officer Blerim Mustafa, concluded their visit to Austria with a series of meetings with government officials and decision makers.
The delegation of the Geneva Centre was firstly received by the Adviser to the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Judicial and Religious Affairs HE Ali Al Hashem. Ambassador Jazairy expressed his appreciation to HE Al Hashem for gracing the co-organizers of the conference with his presence and for his inspiring statement at the opening session that the Ambassador moderated. HE Al Hashem praised the conference as an outstanding example of enhancing interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue. He likewise commended the endeavours of the Geneva Centre to promote mutual understanding and cooperative relations between peoples and societies.
The delegation of the Geneva Centre was also received by Professor Etibar Najafov, Head of the Department of Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for the fruitful cooperation between Azerbaijani institutions and the Geneva Centre for this important conference. Ambassador Jazairy said that Azerbaijan has established itself as a country that practices multiculturalism and that is committed to promote tolerance, diversity and peace. He expressed his readiness to participate in the Second Summit of Religious Leaders to be held in November 2019 in Baku and to pursue joint avenues with the Government of Azerbaijan to explore alternative narratives on issues of relevance to human rights and in particular on the question of Enlightenment.
The delegation of the Geneva Centre likewise met with the National Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Muslims of Kenya and former Ambassador of Kenya to the Unites States, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Czechia HE Yusuf Nzibo. The parties discussed matters related to communal harmony and peace between Christians and Muslims in Eastern Africa. Ambassador Jazairy said he stands behind the efforts of the Supreme Council of the Muslims of Kenya to promote mutual understanding and tolerance between different social and religious segments in the country.
In the next meeting held at the HQ of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in the presence of HE Al Hashem, the delegation of the Geneva Centre and KAICIID’s Secretary General HE Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaammar discussed the important role of civil society representatives to transform inter-religious dialogue into political awareness. Ambassador Jazairy stressed that there is an urgent need to facilitate an inclusive dialogue between all layers of society, steer clear of politicisation and to promote a value driven human rights system.
The delegation of the Geneva Centre also held meetings with Bishop Emeritus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land His Eminence Munib A. Younan, the Secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Holy See Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, and the Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and Angola as well as Member of the World Council of Churches’ Executive Committee Archbishop Seraphim Kykkotis.
During these meetings, the parties expressed their readiness to engage in joint avenues with the Geneva Centre to promote interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue as well as to address issues related to Islamophobia, Christianophobia and Anti-Semitism that prevail in societies worldwide.
In a final meeting, the delegation of the Geneva Centre met with the Head of the Expert Council of the Baku Network Dr Elkhan Alasgarov. Options to initiate joint initiatives between both think-tanks to promote mutual understanding and cooperative relations between societies, in the framework of human rights, were explored. The parties expressed their interest in signing a partnership agreement to formalize their cooperation.
This is the last commitment of Ambassador Jazairy as Executive Director of the Geneva Centre. He is resigning from his position and he has been elected by Oxford University to become a visiting fellow of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.