Heidi Hadsell, President of Hartford Seminary, attended the 6th meeting between the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 17 and 18. [Further information available on WCC website.]
The theme of the dialogue was “Interreligious Dialogue and Society: Ways, Means and Goals.” The meeting was the continuation of the process of dialogue between the centre and the World Council of Churches, which began in 1995. Participants from the world council came from Britain, Germany, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Switzerland and the United States. They met with five Muslim scholars and religious leaders from Tehran and Qom.
Participants presented papers and reflections exploring various aspects of the theme: how to spread the outcomes of interreligious dialogues in wider society and evaluate their impact; the opportunities and challenges involved in conveying the outcomes of dialogues to wider society; the role of key actors from religious, social and academic circles in disseminating interreligious dialogues; and the importance of involving women and young people in promoting the wider acceptance of interreligious dialogue.
The members of the two delegations emphasized the importance of dialogue to overcome misunderstandings and foster mutual understanding and peace coexistence among adherents of different religions, the need for engagement with media to facilitate the sharing of positive results of dialogue, and the need to engage young people and women in all dialogue. They committed to “encourage interreligious dialogue in all sectors of society, including key actors, with the aim of involving all in ensuring justice, non-violence, welfare, inclusiveness, friendship and compassion in society.”
The group will meet again in two years.