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Helping religions promote peace: the Asia conference at the Federal Foreign Office

Conference participants exchange views at the event

Conference participants exchange views at the event, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

19.06.2018 - Article

The Federal Foreign Office is pursuing an exchange with religious representatives from around the world. This year’s conference on the Responsibility of Religions for Peace brings together representatives of faith communities in Asia.

Minister of State Michael Roth at the conference Responsibility of Religions for Peace
Minister of State Michael Roth at the conference “Responsibility of Religions for Peace”© Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

More than 70 representatives of religious communities in Asia will attend a conference in Berlin from 18 to 20 June. The Federal Foreign Office has invited the religious representatives for discussions on their social responsibility for peace and reconciliation. Global dialogue among representatives of religious communities is part of the Federal Foreign Office’s strategic foreign policy focusing on civil societies. 

In the public debate, religion is often seen as triggering or fuelling conflicts and violence. In fact, most conflicts are caused by political and economic interests, and religion is often merely misused to radicalise believers.

All religions of the world advocate peaceful behaviour. Around the globe, numerous religious representatives courageously and patiently promote reconciliation and stand up to hatred. As well connected actors with a great deal of experience and influence, they can often bring about positive change at the local level, for example by supporting peace negotiations. That is why the Federal Foreign Office views religious representatives as important partners for promoting dialogue and networking. At the Berlin conference, they will meet in working groups to discuss mediation, the relationship between religion and the media, peace education and the role of women in peace processes. The conference is being organised in cooperation with the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

Religious representatives speak with Minister of State Roth about their social responsibility for peace and reconciliation.
Religious representatives speak with Minister of State Roth about their social responsibility for peace and reconciliation.© Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

Why Asia?

After the first meeting in 2017, which brought together religious representatives from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the network is now being expanded to include South, Southeast and East Asia. After Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the initiative will now turn to non-Abrahamic religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Daoism and numerous other faith communities.

Find out more:

Responsibility of the religions for peace

Religion and responsibility go hand in hand

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