International Conference on Interfaith Dialogue

“Albania, a model of interfaith harmony for Europe?”

Date: May 3, 2018 Venue: Tirana, Hotel Rogner

University College Bedër
Catholic University “Our Lady of Good Counsel”
University College Logos
Embassy of Austria

The Concept Note of the International Conference of the Interfaith Dialogue

The world has passed through stages and different periods as when clash prevailed dialogue, war pulled peace down. These unfortunate events increased individuals, societies, cultures as well as Nations in polarization. As a result, the inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue today, more than ever, have become a global necessity to close the increasing gap between people. The need for dialogue between the members of different faith groups is stated by different circles in recent years. Interfaith dialogue is presented by some as an opposing alternative to the clash of civilizations. But in reality, what we are facing today is a really clash of ignorance rather than the clash of civilization. Dealing with diverse religions and cultures, we should insist on the coalition of civilizations and religions through interfaith dialogue as a remedy for clash ignorance.

The Balkan region, which is a multiethnic and multi-religious area, has witnessed, for a century, many inter-ethnic wars and conflicts, including the beginning of World War I. While today, although we are trying to attain peace and stability in the region within the framework of European Union integration, it is attention grabbing that even the smallest and mainly political provocations can rebuild the old conflicts. On the other hand, it is remarkable that in recent years, interfaith dialogue efforts have got ahead of inter-ethnic dialogue. It is fair to conclude that interfaith dialogue has become a regional necessity for solving problems brought about by the previous regimes and political systems in the Balkans.

Pope Francis hails Albania as a model of religious harmony in attack on religious extremism because of the peaceful coexistence and collaboration that exist among the followers of different religious communities in Albania. Pope condemned the “distortion and manipulation” of religious belief by extremists during his one-day visit to Albania in which he held up the tiny Balkan nation as a model of religious harmony. Accordingly, Albania is a small country; it is unlikely for its economy to have a major impact on the region and beyond. However, the model of peaceful coexistence, numerous examples of harmony, understanding and interreligious dialogue throughout centuries represent an almost unique case, or rarely, been a model to be "exported" and implemented in the multi-religious structure of the societies of our globalized world, as well as in the multicultural and multiethnic structure of the region.

The highest representatives of the state, religious communities, academics, researchers from Albania, Austria and the region will be invited in this conference to promote the academic and scientific level of interreligious harmony and coexistence in Albania as a model for Europe and the world.