A TIO Report
WHEN INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE ACTUALLY PROMOTES PEACE
As world leaders prepared to adopt the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” at the United Nations on September 25-27, the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre, known as KAICIID, launched the “Peace Map” in New York City: At the heart of its first phase, the Peace Map offers an interactive database of over 400 organizations that work to promote interreligious dialogue around the world.
The International Dialogue Centre is an intergovernmental organization that promotes dialogue among policymakers and religious leaders to build peace, to enhance understanding and to foster cooperation between people of different cultures and followers of different religions. KAICIID’s activities in interreligious dialogue bridge animosities, reduce stereotyping, and instill mutual respect between religious communities. The Council of Parties includes Austria, Saudi Arabia, and Spain, with the Holy See as a Founding Observer. Prominent representatives from five major world religions make up the nine-member Board of Directors. The Board designs and supervises the Centre’s programs.
The Peace Map project reveals a thriving, interconnected, and vibrant field of international organizations using interreligious dialogue to promote goals such as poverty reduction, conflict resolution, justice, equality, human rights and education for all.
Patrice Brodeur, director of programs and research at KAICIID, says, “In many parts of the world, religious actors are on par with states and other civil society organizations as prominent providers of health care, education services. Their role as moral and spiritual leaders in their communities in particular makes them especially influential. At the same time, in many places, conflicts are breaking out as violent extremists seek to manipulate religion to justify violence with increasingly damaging effects on development and peace.”
What the Peace Map shows is a growing number of organizations that promote not only dialogue between followers of different religions but also the many ways this dialogue leads to cooperation among different groups, including religious groups, on many pressing issues. Such dialogue in action can also help mitigate conflict, and allow us all to get on with the pressing task of ensuring sustainable development and human rights for all.
“This map highlights vulnerabilities that can be reduced by inter-religious dialogue”, said Walter Kemp, director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Peace Institute.“It is also designed to motivate all those with an interest in peace to strengthen resilience and mobilize early action”.
In its first phase, the KAICIID Peace Map already reveals a number of interesting findings. For instance, only about 30% of organizations working to promote interreligious dialogue are themselves religious or faith-based. An overwhelming majority of the organizations included in this detailed directory, more than 80 percent are working in the fields of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, mirroring the global preoccupation with increasing identity-based conflict around the world.