All Africa News Agency - Bulletin No. 38-02 (b)
Date Wed, 02 Oct 2002 15:40:27 -0700
All Africa News Agency
Inter-Faith Peace Summit To Define Strategies For Peace
GENEVA(AANA) September 30 - Religious leaders and inter-faith groups (IFGs) from all over Africa will gather for an October 14-19 conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, to define practical strategies for preventing and resolving conflicts on the continent.
The Inter-Faith Peace Summit in Africa is being sponsored by the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation LWF in collaboration with other faith-based organizations, and with financial support from the Government of Finland.
"There is an urgent need for religious leaders to be given a voice on conflict issues," says Rev Dr Ishmael Noko, LWF General Secretary. The summit will focus on what faith communities can do by working together to prevent and resolve conflicts in a region in which millions of people suffer the effects of war.
Noko points out that, "It is not more declarations that are needed, but concrete action". One of the focal points of the summit will be examining how traditional African methods can be effectively used to help resolve modern conflicts and promote reconciliation.
Also, a series of case studies will be presented on the activities and methodologies of the various IFGs represented at the Summit, and their "lessons learned". In addition, panel discussions will address the topics of "African Women against Conflict" and "Religious Co-existence in Africa". Skills-based training workshops will be held to strengthen the capacity of existing inter-faith efforts for peace.
The LWF is the lead agency/facilitator of this initiative, which has been formulated in consultation with many ecumenical and inter-faith partners, including in particular the World Council of Churches and World Alliance of Reformed Churches. The National Religious Leaders' Forum of South Africa NRLFSA will be the Summit's local host.
Religious communities' representatives including African traditional religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Baha'i, Buddhism and Hinduism are expected to participate in this event.
A wide range of issues will be covered at the Summit, including the role of inter-faith dialogue in promoting a culture of peace, conflict resolution and mediation techniques (including African traditional methods), relations between religious communities and the State in the context of conflict resolution and peace promotion.
Other highlights are the cyclical relationship between the violation of human rights and conflict, the role of the African Union and New Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD, in conflict resolution, healing and reconciliation praxis in post-conflict societies.
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