The Theme for the 7th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue is: "The Role of Religions to Build Peace & Security and Transcend Violent Extremism in Africa”. The conference will engage participants in a dynamic experience of faith development as well as challenge them to positively respond to the universal call to holiness. Our world today more than ever before is faced with the challenge of overcoming the "faith divide" and the global citizenship divide in order to build the bridge of all bridges, the interreligious and international bridge that connects all humanity to God. The conference will create and promote interfaith collaboration and build bridges of trust, friendship and partnership among religiously diverse youth and provide a platform for local, national, regional and international collaboration. Conference participants will include Community leaders and activists, NGO representatives, Political leaders, Religious/Spiritual leaders, Peace activists, Government representatives, Students, Cultural/Ethnic and Spiritual Community representatives, Human Service providers, Academics, Social Science researchers, Key participants from current or recent regions of turmoil in Nigeria, Visionaries and front-line thinkers in social-political principles, psycho-social-spiritual dynamics, and human consciousness and members of the interested public from Nigeria and around the world. Details are available at: http://www.interfaithdialogueconference.org/
Overall Goals of the Conference are to:
Ø Raise the level, depth, and breadth of public dialogue and awareness on core issues. The conference examines dimensions and dynamics of "The OTHER" on individual and group levels, and considers how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated.
Ø Identify and compile fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, and to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the "The Other."
Ø Tap our shared wisdom, compassion, and responsibility as a community - from the local to the global - in developing practical applications. Participants are encouraged to develop and share practical recommendations and strategies for applying results to the current state of local and world relationships to promote increased understanding, sensitivity, and compassion as a means of countering and neutralizing hostility, particularly inter-group hostility.
Ø Create Networking Opportunities to promote collaboration, action planning, and next steps following the conference.
Ø Formulate findings and products to make available to all - through publications, media, the Internet, educational curriculum, networks, community based dialogue groups, etc.
Through this Conference, we will continue and sustain our modest efforts to promote an inclusive, compassionate community dialogue process that honours different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony. Our intention is to create an open platform for meaningful citizen engagement in the public peace process and to invite in a public dialogue that brings our joint wisdom to bear in exploring sometimes difficult issues that affect us all. This is based on the premise that it does not require that we be the same to be appreciative of, at peace with, and secure in our relationships with each other; only that we be familiar enough with each other’s story to share the humanity and trustworthiness that resides in each of us. We will ask all conference participants to assist by carrying and expressing this intent throughout the conference and beyond.