Date: July, 17- 20, 2013
Venue: Museum of Modern Art and City Hall, Graz, Austria
Host: The city of Graz
Organiser: Afro-Asian Institute Graz
The endorsement of an encounter between people of different cultures and religions has a long and promising tradition in Graz. And this is why the city of Graz justifiably and proudly holds the title “City of Human Rights”. Among such intercultural and interreligious milestones in our city were the founding of the founding of the Afro- Asian Institute in 1964; the holding of the 2nd European Ecumenical Assembly (1997); the founding of the Office for Peace and Development (1988); a dynamic Christian- Jewish dialogue which led to the rebuilding of the Graz Synagogue (2000); the World Buddhist Meeting and visit of the Dalai Lama (2002); the Interreligious Conference in cooperation with the city of Sarajevo (2003); the European Conference of Muslim Imams (2003); the founding of the Interreligious Advisory Council of the City of Graz (2006), as well as the establishment of a Muslim cemetery as part of the Graz central cemetery (2010).
In July, 2013 Graz will hold the Interreligious Conference with the aim of making a contribution to the peaceful coexistence of the different faith communities in Europe. 150 representatives from various faith communities and University experts from the respective fields of study will meet, discuss and share their expertise and views on topics relevant to the peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures in Europe. Consensually the participants will work out a Graz Message of Peace to promote the peaceful coexistence of the different cultures and religions. The Graz Peace Message is intended to be a useful guide for faith communities, institutions and municipalities in Europe.
The conference’s ambitious program includes the following formats:
• Festive Opening Reception in the beautiful halls of the Minoriten Order
• Three working days with various formats: Plenary sessions, keynote presentations, workshops, discussions and focus groups on relevant selected topics.
• Grand closing event on the Schlossberg , Graz’s imposing castle hill
• Supporting artistic and cultural program in cooperation with the International Songs of Spirit Choir Festival
The conference is an expert conference and is personal invitation only. The list of prospective participants was developed by an interfaith expert group in cooperation with the Interreligious Council of Graz. Certain conference events and the supporting program are however open to a wider audience.
Knowing that the Interreligious Conference Graz 2013 is hosted by the city of Graz during Ramadan, we hope to promote peace, dialogue and understanding by welcoming Muslim participants with special provisions to accommodate them during Ramadan and allow those who observe Ramadan to fulfill their religious obligations.
For more information and current updates on the developments of the preparations, key speakers, participants, etc., please visit our website at: www.interrelgraz2013.com and/or contact Mrs. Baloch, the project coordinator.
An interfaith expert group has identified the following key topics to be focused on during the three-day conference and within various formats.
I God and Transcendence
➢ Why God, Why Transcendence?
➢ Criticism of Religion and God
➢ Religion and Spirituality
➢ Teaching Religion
➢ Freedom of Religion as a Universal Human Right
II The Individual and Society
➢ Embracing Coexistence in Religious Diversity
– Potential conflicts in the coexistence of faith communities
– Identifying possible solutions und introducing best practice examples from Graz and other European cities.
➢ Religion and Gender
➢ Religious treatment of the Body and Sexuality
➢ Religion and Wellbeing- the new Popular Belief?
III Mankind and Global Responsibility
➢ World Ethos
➢ The Socio-political Roles and Responsibilities of Religion
➢ Religion and Politics
➢ Religion in the Commitment to Human Rights
➢ The Cultural and Artistic Expression of Religious and Cultural Diversity