The Parliament Blog

Archive for the ‘italy’ tag

Forum Says Harmony Between Religions Can Be Forged by Differences

Christian and Muslim communities in Indonesia have met many times, as this picture from a 2009 collaborative meeting shows.

by Ryan Dagur

The governments of Indonesia and Italy say they are committed to taking interfaith dialogue to a higher level, with the aim of fostering global peace and respect for minority groups.

This was the message from the foreign ministers of the two countries at the opening of an interfaith forum yesterday in Jakarta.

Indonesia foreign minister Marty M. Natalegawa said that building bridges of mutual understanding is the best way to foster a global culture of peace.

“Message of peace in interfaith dialogue must echo outside assembly halls,” he said.

Italian foreign minister Guilio Terzi, agreed saying that interfaith dialogue must ensure protection for minority groups.

Government must reach out at the grass roots level and religious leaders must help promote respect towards different religious beliefs, Terzi said.

The forum called Unity in Diversity: The Power of Dialogue for Peaceful Cohabitation in a Pluralistic Society was organized by the Community of Saint’Egidio in cooperation with foreign ministries of the two countries.

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International Religion Reporting Gets a Boost

by Ruth Eglash
from Common Ground News Service

Reporting from Jerusalem–It’s an issue that affects people’s lives across the world everyday yet most media institutions do not dedicate much time, resources or manpower to covering religion.

That was the assessment of some 25 journalists from six continents and 23 countries who gathered last month in Bellagio, Italy to lay down the foundations of an international association aimed not only at boosting the prominence and professionalism of religion reporting but also to emphasise the need for responsible journalism that can unite instead of divide people.

Despite some of the obvious differences – linguistic, nationalistic, religious and political – between those that gathered in Italy from 20-24 March, the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) was officially launched.

“We are living in a global society and our understanding internationally of religion is weak. With this association, journalists now have contacts in various countries and can work together”, commented US journalist David Briggs, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and the main driving force behind the initiative.

Briggs, who was elected as the association’s Executive Director during the meeting’s closing session, has been trying for the better part of the last eight years to establish a global association similar to the Religion Newswriters Association in the United States, which aims to promote high-quality media coverage of religion.

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On Greed and Giving Up the Boots I Cannot Live Without

by Jenn Lindsay
from State of Formation

I am on the planning committee of the International Political Camp at Agape Centro Ecumenico in the Italian Alps. Because I am always at a loss to describe exactly what Agape is to the uninitiated—and there is no way to truly grasp this ecumenical collective until one has visited—I will reference Agape’s description of itself from their website:

Agape international ecumenical centre is a place of encounter where one lives an intense experience of community in beautiful natural surroundings. Agape was and is an important point of reference in Italian Protestantism, for 50 years a place of education and development, theological exploration, political engagement, of acceptance and validation of differences. Every year many people, diverse in their religion, culture, ages, political thinking, come to Agape for one week to discuss and to be challenged, to get to know themselves and each other and to exchange experiences around a particular theme.

Agape describes itself as an “Ecumenical centre”, where ecumenism is understood in broad terms. An encounter among believers of different faiths and denominational backgrounds certainly, but also secular in character so that those who are not believers can also feel at home. In an open dialogue among atheists, agnostics and believers, each participant comes to lose his or her presumptions in claiming to know and possess the truth.

This year the theme of the International Political Camp was Violence, and camp attendees had a chance to consider many different specific scenarios of violence, resistance efforts and regenerative communities in order to grasp the deep interconnections of every level of violence—from globalization, to ethnic marginalization to domestic brutality.

In the middle of the week we planned a role-play game in which the camp was to enact a global summit considering a potable water shortage. The game presented a scenario wherein the world is running out of fresh water, so the United Countries of the Almost Arid Planet were to gather for an extraordinary General Assembly to address the situation. In attendance were corporate interests, highly paid water experts, emerging world superpowers, impoverished counties, civil society organizations, and radical grassroots activists.

In their presentation, the rhetorical tactic of the corporate giants and the reigning world superpowers was clear: to exploit the fear of scarcity that compels individuals and societies on the deepest level.  Lack of food, lack of money, lack of love, lack of hope: what is more terrifying and galvanizing than lack?

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