Athens: the 2nd International Conference on “Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East” is underway
This morning the 2nd International Conference on “Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East” kicked off in Athens, a fact of global resonance during a time when the developments in the Middle East remain turbulent.
High level representatives are expected to attend the conference, such as the Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates Mr.Sheikh Nayan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, the Ambassador of Austria in Greece Ms. Andrea Ikić-Böhm, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Mr. Sameh Shoukry, as well as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Additionally, almost all the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches, the Archbishop of Athens Ieronymos, a high-level delegation from the Vatican, as well as religious leaders from the Muslim and Jewish world are expected to attend.
Almost all countries of the Middle East and the Mediterranean have sent their Ministers of Foreign Affairs and high-level delegations in general, highlighting the importance of the Conference.
The official opening was declared by the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias and the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Mr. Ieronymos gave an opening speech.
The task at hand
The Conference aspires, two years after its inception, to bring forth a series of open issues at a time when the situation in the Middle East remains volatile and to further strengthen a framework of dialogue aiming to promote rapprochement, networking, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence between the various religious and cultural communities in the region.
How it all began
The first International Conference, which took place on October 2015, was established after an initiative taken my MFA Mr. Kotzias. The issue of tolerance, peaceful coexistence remains alarmingly relevant even today, as violence, intolerance, religious extremism and fundamentalism continue to plague the majority of Middle East.
It is worth noting that the organization is being supported by the Centre for Religious Pluralism in the Middle East (CRPME), founded after the first Conference, which functions as an institution that monitors developments, reports on problems related to issues of religious and cultural pluralism, and presents specific solutions.