Religious Leaders Seminar
The seminar aims at
- Strengthening the responsibility of clergy on issues related to tolerance, diversity and youth participation;
• Discussing and reviewing the contents of the manual and presenting a plan of action on the development of the Guide and its dissemination;
• Introduce messages / tools to communicate the contents of the guide and the tolerant Islamic religion to the general public;
• Building partnerships between active institutions in this field within the Arab region.
On 11 May 2011, Irena Bokova, UNESCO DG, and Mr. Faisal Al-Maamar, Deputy Minister of Education of Saudi Arabia, signed a cooperation agreement to implement a series of activities and projects related to the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Program on Strengthening The culture of dialogue and peace. Funded by Saudi Arabia and targets 10 Arab countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and Palestine.
In this context, the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut, in cooperation with the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue KACND, organized a two-day regional seminar in Rabat in February 2014 aimed at:
- Provide opportunities for rich discussions on dialogue with other religions;
- Presenting lesson-learned and experiences on the subject;
- Introduce a strategy and plan of action to activate the role of religious institutions to highlight and activate the issue of dialogue;
- Building partnerships between institutions active in this field within the Arab region and beyond;
- Provide guidelines on the development of training manuals for imams and activists in Islam and Christianity on enriching and activating the issue of dialogue with others within communities.
The discussions with 40 clerics representing 14 Arab countries led to the Rabat recommendations, which called for emphasizing the role of clerics in Arab countries to promote peace and dialogue. The priority of Rabat's executive recommendations is to develop a guide or training program for clerics under the supervision of UNESCO and its partner, the KACND. Thus, a guide has been developed and reviewed by a group of specialists from religious institutions, professionals and experts.
This guide serves as a resource for providing basic knowledge to analyze the relationship between the role of religious institutions and the promotion of peace and dialogue. It also outlines the basic principles of intercultural dialogue and the culture of dialogue, which is at the center of UNESCO's priorities.
However, the broader objective of this guide is:
- Raising awareness among the clergy about the crucial role of religion in promoting inter-cultural dialogue in the Arab world.
- Strengthening the responsibility of clergy on issues related to intercultural dialogue, tolerance, diversity and youth participation.