The existence of a pluralistic society, particularly in terms of religion, faith and culture, requires a platform in the community. In this sense, interreligious and interfaith dialogue can be seen as an effective platform to build mutual understanding and tolerance in society. This process can be followed by anyone, from ordinary people to religious leaders, academics, and politicians operating at international, national and local levels. The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels. It aims to promote mutual understanding and to increase acceptance and tolerance. When employed as a tool or strategic practice, interfaith dialogue may facilitate discussions to combat intolerance, hate speech and discrimination and to promote peacebuilding.
The panel discussion “Interfaith Dialogue and Reconciliation: Creating and Sustaining Spaces of Encounter” focused on interfaith and interreligious engagement, dialogue and collaboration. Its intention is to map and discuss some of the most prominent initiatives and best practices for using interfaith and interreligious dialogue and collaboration. Interfaith dialogue creates spaces for promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in diverse and multicultural environments. The panel discussion considered methodologies of successful interfaith dialogue and its limitations. Building on the outcomes of the Global Forum on Civilizations, the panel discussion analyzed challenges, needs and benefits in an effort to provide a channel of communication among faiths and beliefs in a spirit of tolerance, truthfulness, sincerity and empathy, without forcing one’s own paradigms or ideas on others. The panel considered different approaches to pluralism and the interrelation between diversity of faith and economic, social, historical and political factors of inclusivity, peace and prosperity.
The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue acknowledges the need to enhance the promotion of human rights, through intercultural, interfaith and interreligious dialogue. In this regard, the Geneva Centre emphasizes the importance of fostering mutual understanding and tolerance among individuals for building peaceful societies. It invites multiple actors to play their part and collaborate with each other in order to achieve this critical goal. Safeguarding our common humanity and shared values, raising voices in support of multicultural communities, and mutual understanding must remain a driving force. A world society enriched with diversity and empathy needs to be actively promoted.
The publication contains a summary of the six panel presentations, the Q&A session, lessons learned and way forward session and the full statements submitted by the panellists.
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Year of publication: 2023
Cover photo: Getty Images Signature / Zé Martinusso