Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, will open an international conference on the responsibility of religions for peace at the Federal Foreign Office on Tuesday (19 June).
Some 70 faith representatives from South, South East and East Asia will attend the three-day event from 18 to 20 June to discuss ideas on the responsibility of religions for peace and social justice.
The Federal Foreign Office is co-hosting the conference with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, which has already acquired wide-ranging experience as regards working with religions. Finland has been engaged for some time now in the sphere of religion and foreign policy, has set itself goals similar to Germany’s, and has extensive contacts with faith representatives worldwide (including through the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, which it co-funds).
Speakers will include Dishani Jayaweera (Director of the Centre for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, Sri Lanka) and Professor Zaleha Kamarudin (Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia).
In the Responsibility of Religions for Peace initiative, the Federal Foreign Office is conducting a close dialogue with representatives of different faiths from a large number of countries and regions. The first conference on this topic was held at the Federal Foreign Office in May 2017. It was attended by 100 faith representatives from North and West Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The network that resulted from this event will now be extended at the second conference to include Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism and Taoism. Four closed workshops will also be held to discuss the topics of religion and the media, religion and mediation, religion and peace education, and women in religious peace processes.
The aim is to discuss the various religions’ potential to foster peace in society, to link this potential more closely with German foreign policy and to work with different religions and faith-based organisations with shared interests, such as peace and stability, as strategic partners in a sustainable network. Endeavours in this field form part of Germany’s cultural relations and education policy.