King Abdullah interfaith centre moves its headquarters to Lisbon

KAICIIDJEDDAH: The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue announced that it has moved its headquarters from the Austrian capital, Vienna, to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

KAICIID’s Council of Parties, consisting of Saudi Arabia, Austria, Spain, the Vatican and officials from the Portuguese government had held diplomatic talks over the proposal, leading to an agreement signed between the center and the government on Friday. The center’s secretary-general, Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar, signed the agreement on behalf of KAICIID, alongside Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva, on behalf of the Portuguese government.
KAICIID now joins nine international organizations headquartered in Lisbon.

After signing the agreement, Bin Muammar expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Portuguese government for hosting the center’s new headquarters in order for it to fulfil its vision to encourage global, humane, meaningful and responsible dialogue, based on strengthening ties between followers of different religions and cultures.

He stressed that the center will continue to connect religious and cultural leaders and institutions and facilitate support policy makers, enhance the role of religious and human values, achieve peaceful coexistence and common citizenship and combat all forms of hatred and extremism.
Bin Muammar underlined the great historical role that the center has played since its inauguration in Vienna in 2012. He alluded to its significant impact on global interfaith and intercultural dialogue, and its relationship with other religious institutions in terms of policymaking to achieve coexistence, cooperation, security, peace and to combat hate speech and extremism.

On the occasion of the signing of the agreement, Bin Muammar reviewed the center’s efforts in the field of global dialogue. The center has established a wide network of religious leaders working in more than 60 countries, training other leaders and educators from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to facilitate dialogue and communication and enhance social cohesion, launching the KAICIID International Fellowship Program as a contribution to building a cohesive society, with a network of 364 alumni representing 9 major religions.

KAICIID also cooperated with the World Organization of the Scout Movement in establishing relations between young people through the Dialogue for Peace Program, whose affiliates have reached more than 9,000 young people. Bin Muammar referred to the launch of the social media program as a space for dialogue for the Arab region, and praised its success in training more than 700 young leaders from 12 countries to fight hate speech and extremism on the internet. Bin Muammar said: “When the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Center for Dialogue contributed to directing its activities and programs to activate the efforts of religious organizations and leaders, and launched 210 initiatives in 50 countries to address its social and economic repercussions, fight hate speech, enhance cohesion and social solidarity, and help the needy.”

He added that KAICIID had the honor of organizing the seventh G20 Interfaith Forum, hosted by the Kingdom in October 2020 — an opportunity to unite the two main drivers behind KAICIID’s mission: Opening and strengthening dialogue between religious leaders and policy makers, and bringing together the views and practices of different global religious, humanitarian and cultural leaders and institutions. Bin Muammar expressed his gratitude and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the care, support, follow-up and attention they provided to the center to achieve its goals and aspirations.

He also extended his sincere gratitude and appreciation to Prince Faisal bin Farhan, minister of foreign affairs, for his follow-up and support to the center, and praised the efforts of Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff who contributed to facilitating KAICIID’s work and activities. He also thanked the founding partners in Austria, Spain and the Vatican, the members of the board of Ddirectors including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and other followers of various religions and cultures, members of the advisory board, the center’s 84 employees from 30 countries, and partners and friends all over the world, who have spared no effort in aiding the center reach its current position.

Bin Muammar concluded his statement by expressing his gratitude for being able serving KAICIID and its values, adding he was honored to be responsible for its establishment as an international institution after assuming its general secretariat in 2012.


KAICIID chief Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar and Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva sign the agreement. (Supplied)


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