Intercultural dialogue: a challenge for faiths and convictions?
Brussels, Tuesday 11 November 2008
9:30 – 17:45 - Berlaymont building, Schuman Room
Religious beliefs, philosophies and convictions are an integral part of cultural diversity which, through dialogue, can enrich our societies and contribute to individual fulfilment. But in our increasingly diverse cultural environments, the broad spectrum of faiths, beliefs and convictions can lead to misconceptions and fears. In the worst cases, people suffer the consequences of others' prejudice in the form of discrimination due to their conviction or religious belief.
This seminar brought together project coordinators, policy makers, experts in the fields of education and the media, as well as representatives of religious and secular groups active in the field of intercultural dialogue in order to learn from their practical experiences and good practices and identify ways to improve the situation, where and when need be.
It has been organised within the framework of the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and as a follow-up to the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. The 2007 Year underlined the message that discrimination on the grounds of religious belief is unacceptable. The 2008 Year aims to encourage dialogue both within and between communities of faith and conviction.
Session 1: Challenges for education
Session 2: Challenges for the media - Challenges 2
Session 3: Challenges for dialogue between faiths and convictions - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6
General Tips on reporting diversity - Tips on Reporting Religion - Media Diversity Institute
9.30 – 11.00 Opening session
Chair of the seminar Belinda Pyke, Director, Equal opportunities men/women, Anti-discrimination and Relations with civil society, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Jan Jařab, Member of Cabinet of Commissioner Špidla, Employment, Social affairs and Equal opportunities
Hadas Kaplan, Arab Jewish Community Center of Jaffa, Israel, Introduction of Voices of Peace Choir
Keynote address: Religions and societies in Europe
Professor Francesco Margiotta Broglio, University of Florence, Italy
Session 1: Challenges for education
Knowledge of democratic values, citizenship and civil rights are essential elements of "intercultural competences", with which the education sector seeks to equip learners. Armed with this type of knowledge and skills, individuals are able to participate in increasingly diverse societies from a starting point of mutual respect and understanding. Each of us needs to develop his/her capacity to be able to stand back from his/her own specific cultural and social background in order to listen actively to what people from other backgrounds can bring.
Moderator: Evelyn Collins, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Asst. Professor Nikos Maghioros, EuReSIS NET Network for European studies on Religion and State Interaction-
Rafael Palomino, University Complutense of Madrid, Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools
Hakan Tosuner, Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), Member of European Youth Forum inter-faith expert group
Noel Ward, Irish National Teachers' Organisation, 2007 Year Irish initiative "Religious Schools, LGBT Issues and Equality"
Session 2: Challenges for the media
The media play a major role and have a heavy responsibility in the development of Europeans' vision of the world and of their neighbours. The way different cultural and religious backgrounds may be depicted or explained by the media greatly influences individual representations, reinforcing or deconstructing stereotypes. The media can also offer opportunities for the expression of marginalised or excluded individuals or groups.
Moderator: Oliver Money-Kyrle, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Malka Kafka & Mike Urbaniak, 2007 Year Polish project "I'm a Polish Woman, I'm a Polish Man"
Sandra Federici, Glocal youth – Media texts and contexts for young people in North and South
Sondès Ben Khalifa & Françoise Loewert, NewsLab women journalists' blogs
Thierry Desrues, 2007 Year Spanish project - Media treatment of Islam and Muslims topics in Spain
Session 3: Challenges for dialogue between faiths and convictions
A people-to-people dialogue based on respect can overcome fear of "the other" by fostering mutual knowledge and openness. Dialogue within communities of faith and conviction can also be important; initiatives which help us examine and better understand our own beliefs can allow us to look towards others in a spirit of openness.
Moderator: Emine Bozkurt, Member of the European Parliament, Co-President of PES network on Diversity and Integration
Vebjørn L. Horsfjord, Religions for Peace - European Council of Religious Leaders - Session 3.1 Vebjorn Horsfjord
David Pollock, European Humanist Federation (EHF) - Session 3.2 David Pollock
Elina Eloranta, Conference of European Churches (CEC)
Vincent Legrand, Commission of the Bishop's Conferences of the European Community (COMECE)
Veysel Filiz, Conseil de la jeunesse pluriculturelle (Cojep) International, France
Patrick Hanjoul, United Religions Initiative Europe (URI Europe)
Robin Sclafani, A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (CEJI)
Sara Silvestri, Europe's Muslim women research project
Wrapping up the debates
Conclusions: "The Way Forward – faiths and convictions in intercultural dialogue"
Odile Quintin, Director General, DG Education and Culture
- OSCE Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religion and Beliefs in Public Schools
- European Council of Religious Leaders Berlin Declaration on Interreligious Dialogue
- "Cohesion in a Multicultural Europe - the Role and Impact of Philosophies and Religions" Conference proceedings
- Sara Silvestri: Europe's Muslim women – potential, aspirations and challenges
- Platform for Intercultural Europe – Rainbow Paper
- REDCo Religion in Education. A contribution to Dialogue or a factor of Conflict in transforming societies of European Countries
- European Commission Directive on Equal Opportunities
- European Council Conclusions on Intercultural Competences
- European Council Conclusions on Intercultural Dialogue in EU external relations
- Council of Europe – Intercultural Dialogue
- Council of Europe – European Conference "The religious dimension of intercultural dialogue"
- Roundtable Discussion "Intercultural Dialogue – the religious dimension", Helsinki, Finland