35 young leaders from Europe, Middle East and North Africa, representing biggest European faith-based organizations as well as social activists and journalists from Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco, took part, in June 20-24, in four days long Dialogue Seminar, in Norway, focusing on 3 subjects: dialogue for solving conflicts, Arab Spring and economical crisis. The seminar was followed by 2 days long annual summit of European Interfaith Youth Network, a network of youth organizations from all religions present in Europe, dedicated to implementing its slogan: “Different faiths – Common action”.
The seminar took place in the premises of Nansen Academy of Lillehammer, the Norwegian Humanistic Academy, founded in 1938, as a protest against the growth of totalitarian ideologies inEurope. Dialogue sessions of the seminar were led by leading trainers of the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue, known for their dialogue method and work for reconciliation in different parts of the world. Sessions on Arab Spring were led by professor Wajih Kanso from Lebanese University and two young journalists (woman and man) from Egypt. The participants took part also in sessions on economic crisis, led by Fredrik Glad Gjernes – who has been leading campaigns against poverty eradication and economical injustice in many organizations; they shared their personal testimonies on how economic crisis affected life of youth in different countries, and discussed the possible role of spirituality in fighting the crisis and economic injustice.
The summit of Religions for Peace, European Interfaith Youth Network (EIYN), established four working groups/ committees that will be overseeing interreligious cooperation on four thematic areas: education towards peace and coexistence, ecology, economy and media. Each of the committees consists of youth experts on those subjects from different religious organizations, and has its action plan. Young religious leaders committed themselves to increased cooperation in those four areas and to change the way media usually portrays relations between religions as conflicted with each other. As Stein Villumstad – Secretary General of European Council of Religious Leaders said in his lecture to Summit’s participants – “religions can have big impact only when coming together to politicians”. It is then very important – said Villumstad – to build instruments, platforms for coming together.
The education committee of EIYN will prepare ideas on how the new campaign of EIYN – “Religious Youth Say NO to Violence Against Women” should be implemented in Europe.
(About the global campaign: http://restoringdignity.religionsforpeaceinternational.org/ )
The Dialogue Seminar was organized by EIYN, UngDialog youth interfaith group from Norway, Nansen Academy, European Council of Religious Leaders and ADYAN – Lebanese foundation for foundation for interfaith studies and spiritual solidarity. It was financed by Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religions for Peace international.
To see more photos from the event, go to: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.487239757969800.131350.178297572197355&type=1