VIENNA, AUSTRIA (MindaNews /02 December) – Most probably like you, when I was a child, seeing a rainbow would make me happy. In the last week of May this year, I was unprecedentedly elated to see a different rainbow – a rainbow of diverse religions, cultures and countries.
It happened in Mergrande Beach Resort, Davao City during the orientation training for South and Southeast Asian Fellowship Program of Vienna-based KAICIID International Dialogue Centre. The two-week intensive training in interreligious and intercultural dialogues was attended by over 20 Fellows of diverse religious affiliations (Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
The one-year fellowship is an online and offline learning and training program that empowers institutions by providing capacity-building skills to select teachers. Aimed at facilitating dialogue encounters by giving these teachers the tools, experience, networks, and knowledge to pursue interreligious and intercultural dialogues and further be able to prepare their own students to become facilitators and leaders in interreligious dialogue, the fellows also learn how to train their own students in conflict transformation so as to be active peacemakers in their respective communities.
During the Fellows Program, the participants have the opportunity to develop and implement small-scale local and/or international initiatives, within their respective institutions or beyond. They also participate in and organize dialogue sessions, lectures, field visits, and conferences. After the one-year program, the Fellows become part of the KAICIID Fellows Network, which works on following up on the fellows’ progress, and invest in their long-term sustainability as resource persons in the field of interreligious dialogue and conflict transformation.
Amidst the chilling winter here in Vienna, this week I can see a potential super rainbow in the world – an unparalleled gathering of almost 70 Fellows (2015, 2016 and 2017) at KAICIID Dialogue Centre. These ambassadors who come from almost 30 countries the world over believe that amidst the current deluge of internecine wars, religious bigotry, and violent extremism, there is hope.
In continuously hoping in the realm of both theory and practice, their music is the Mozart of dialogue; their Burgtheater the theater of community reach-out; and their Hofburg the museum of shared experiences and common witnessing.
That hope is peace/salam/shalom/kapayapaan/kalinaw/kalilintad/sagiatra in the entire world.
[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy ,intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at email@example.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]