Interfaith Conference considers the future of interfaith dialogue and how interfaith can contribute to interaction in Kosovo and around the worldPeja, Sunday 26 May 2013 - Participants from around Kosovo and the world, gathered yesterday morning for the main plenary session of the Interfaith Conference taking place in Peja/Pec this weekend.
The day was opened by The Reverend Donald Reeves, Founder of the Soul of Europe, who set out that achieving peace requires talking not just to one's friends, but also to one's enemies. He asked all participants to share their wisdom and to give one just message to future generations; these will be collected and published into a Little Book of Wisdom to be shared with the conference participants and beyond.
A video message from Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister and the Founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation set out his hope that faith can be a force for good. Drawing in part from his experience in trying to bring an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland where religious differences were mapped on two opposing nationalisms, he has played a significant role in bringing peace in Kosovo. The emphasis of his message was about the need for religious literacy if there is to be respect and understanding between faiths.
Speaking at the conference, Professor Ian Linden, Senior Adviser at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation talked about current challenges both in Kosovo and around the world. He elaborated on work currently underway to increase religious literacy as part of the Faith Foundation global education programme - in 20 countries including Pakistan and Indonesia - which begins on 31 May in Faik Konica school pairing with a school in Italy, as well as with five more schools.
During the panel session which followed, and lively discussion under Chatham House rules, participants considered a range of themes including theory and practice of dialogue; dialogue in public space and shared space.
The full list of panel speakers at each of the sessions can be found on the Interfaith Kosovo website: www.interfaithkosovo.org .
British-based charity Soul of Europe led by Reverend Donald Reeves and Balkan Institute led by Professor Bill Wechsler have co-ordinated the implementation of the conference. The Government of Kosovo, British Embassy, Norwegian Embassy, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, UNDP and the British Council are sponsors of the event. However, this is not a political or governmental event, as gathered guests represent diverse groups of people of various affiliations.
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