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.

Con­tact Per­son:

Bakk.a Nico­la Baloch
Pro­jek­tre­f­er­entin des Afro-Asi­atis­chen Insti­tuts
Leech­gasse 22, A-8010 Graz
+43 316 324434/0 | +43 676 87423309
n.baloch@aai-graz.at | www.aai-graz.at

Key Top­ics:
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