7th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue to be held in Manilla

Delegates at ASEM interfaith dialogue

The 7th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue will have the theme, Harnessing the Benefits and Addressing the Challenges of Migration through Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue. The meeting will be held in Manilla on 13-14 October 2011. It will be also be a pre-event, Interfaith Youth Roundtable on Migration.

Since its launching in 2005 in Bali, Indonesia, the ASEM Interfaith Dialogue has been instrumental in promoting constructive exchange of ideas among government representatives, academics, and civil society actors, particularly religious leaders, from Asia and Europe. These dialogues, conducted in the spirit of respect and mutual understanding, have greatly contributed in bridging peoples of different faiths and cultures in the two continents.

The 7th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue will build on the successes of the past, especially the 6th and 5th ASEM Interfaith Dialogues, by carrying on and further enriching the discussion on some issues highlighted in both dialogues. The Madrid Declaration of the 6th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue noted that “the growing interaction among people with different cultural and religious backgrounds in the era of globalization has brought about both opportunities and challenges” and that “the lack of interreligious and intercultural tolerance, understanding and respect can often lead to tensions and conflicts”. And as underscored in the 5th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue, these tensions can be exacerbated in a period of great economic difficulties.

Migration is one of the contributing factors to the increasing cultural and religious diversity of societies in Asia and Europe. Diversity presents advantages as well as challenges because when people move, they bring with them the entirety of the way of life they have known in their place of origin – their faith, language, culture, and world view. This meeting of faiths and cultures in the context of migration poses adjustment challenges for both the migrant and host community. And, while this can be mutually enriching and beneficial, it could also be a source of tension and conflict, especially in times of great social and economic stresses. The 7th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue will focus on the issue of migration. Through interfaith and intercultural dialogue, it is hoped that ASEM would be able to collectively explore and discuss ideas and best practices on how to better address the challenges of diversity arising from increased people mobility and people-to-people interaction, with the view to maximizing the benefits of migration.

Interfaith Youth Roundtable on Migration

The ASEM Interfaith Dialogue 7 will have a pre-event, which will be hosted and organized by the Religions for Peace Philippines, on 12 October 2011. The pre-event entitled The Interfaith Youth Roundtable on Migration will convene young religious leaders from Asia and Europe to partake in an interreligious dialogue on migration. During the roundtable, religious youth will offer their unique perspectives on harnessing the benefits and addressing the challenges of migration through interfaith cooperation. Additionally, participants will meet with senior religious leaders to share their perspectives and engage in thoughtful dialogue on the various issues pertaining to migration. After their robust dialogue sessions, youth participants will adopt and present an interfaith youth statement on migration during the main forum.

Religions for Peace Australia is currently considering arrangements to have a youth delegate attend from Australia.

More information may be found here

An Information note and Draft Program may be downloaded here

Source: ASEM Infoboard

Photo Credit:Asia Europe Meeting Interfaith Dialogue, Yogyakarta