Wednesday, 19 December 2012

KAICIID - Global Hub on Dialogue

Participants’ Point of View-1
KAICIID: Global Hub on Dialogue
for all organisations

Dr. Mozammel Haque

The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was opened at the Hofburg Palace, Vienna, on Monday, the 26th of November, 2012, in the presence of a global audience of almost 800 guests, including ambassadors, government representatives, religious leaders, academics and scholars.

Though the centre is the brainchild of King Abdullah, it is established in Vienna, Austria; and Saudi Arabia, Spain and Austria signed the agreement for the establishment of the centre. The Holy See has a role as a Founding Observer.

Not only that, The Vatican, a strong supporter of the project, has joined as a founding observer and represented on the board, which, according to the treaty, must have three Christians, three Muslims, a Jew, a Hindu and a Buddhist.

This centre, KAICIID, is the first global international organisation with multi-faith oversight focused on religion and is backed by an international treaty signed by Austria, Spain and Saudi Arabia.

Another aspect of the centre is that although launched by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and named after King Abdullah, “about 70 percent of the world’s religions are on its board. The centre will be a neutral place to exchange ideas,” said HE Faisal bin Muaammar, Secretary General of KAICIID.

Participants’ Point of View
In the evening of the Inauguration ceremony of KAICIID at Hofburg Palace, Vienna, on 26th November, 2012, most of the leaders of different religions of the world; representatives from the Churches of Christianity, representatives of the Jewish communities with all their backgrounds from the East and the West, the Hindus and the Buddhists; the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Vatican representative Cardinal Tauran, representative from the King of Spain and the President of Austria, three Foreign Ministers of the three founding states, Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain were at the opening ceremony.

I had the opportunity to interview participants at the opening ceremony of KAICIID and enquire their point of view about the Centre. While interviewing, I had tried my level best to give wide representation in my interview from the religious, regional and continental perspective.

Timothy Margaritis, Greek Orthodox Patriarch

Timothy Margaritis, who is representing the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, said, “Certainly every movement that brings people together and used this togetherness in order to promote understanding among people love and cooperation and friendship is welcome by all religions. So we strongly support this movement.”

Mr. Rao Vithal of the Arya Samaj

“The religious people, those who believe in God, in the essence of moral values, in human values should move togetherly; this moving togetherly is the only solution; conflict is not the solution,” said Mr. Rao Vithal of the Arya Samaj, came from Hyderabad, India.

Dr. William F. Vendley, the Secretary General
of the Religions for Peace

Religion for Peace is a large multi-religious organisation which has affiliates in 90 countries. Dr. William F. Vendley, the Secretary General of the Religions for Peace, who have been doing this work since 1990, said, “I believe this initiative is right; the timing is right; the process to advance this is very proper and it takes the deeply wise committed leadership of His Majesty who has dedicated this to the service of human kind. We are all for it, because it is all for us. So I have strong passionate appreciation and personally doing all that I can to support this initiative.”

Dr. Nick Carter is the President of Andover Newton
Theological School, Boston
Dr. Nick Carter, the President of Andover Newton Theological School, Boston Massachusetts, said, “I am very encouraged. There are experiments in the interreligious and intercultural dialogue around the world; but we don’t have a network; we know each other; one at a time, two at a time; but we don’t have an opportunity to share our research and our insights and I am encouraged that the centre would be a place where the sharing can take place.” “The centre can provide both a clearing house for us and a platform for learning and we look at that,” he added.

Dr. Fahad Sultan Al-Sultan, the Deputy of the
Secretary General of KAICIID
Dr. Fahad Sultan Al-Sultan, the Deputy of the Secretary General of KAICIID, said, “We hope this centre can be like hub for all the organisations, centres and programmes to come together because we do not like to duplicate our efforts; but we are working to the same goals. So we should work together on this.”

“We should encourage every country every, society and government to form dialogue; we are willing to work with everybody; we are working for a goal, for a cause, for a good cause;” said Dr. Fahad.

Dr. Fahad also mentioned that King Abdullah is also calling for dialogue between sexes in the Islamic world.

Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian
Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, who represented Roman Catholic, said, “All these gatherings, dialogues, seminars and initiatives would be fruitful if we can disseminate  to the people, in the heart of the people, what we are talking about and what we are all about. We need to cultivate a new kind of culture, cultural dialogue of understanding each other and listening to understand each other.”

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, President of the
World Council of Faiths

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, the President of the World Council of Faiths, a retired Anglican Parish Priest, Church of England Clergyman. He has been involved in interfaith work for over forty years. For some time we set up international interfaith centre in Oxford but that was more on small scale. He is optimistic of this Centre, KAICIID, because, “This centre is something very much grandest scale and the good thing is it is involving the government at the top level. I think it is also related to United Nations and so on.”

“We want the United Nations to take seriously the role of religion,” Dr. Braybrooke said and added, “Religion is clearly and highly significant in the world.”

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