Interfaith conference promotes dialogue, peaceful coexistence
May 24, 2013
DOHA, Qatar - Over 300 leaders from religious groups, academic institutions, governments and nongovernmental organizations from 70 countries attended the 10th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue from 23-25 April in Doha, Qatar. The event was sponsored by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID).
CH (Col.) Jonathan C. Gibbs III, Third Army/USARCENT Command Chaplain, attended the conference, which had the theme "Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue." Conference participants discussed work on interfaith dialogue initiatives in four topical working groups: research and teaching; economic justice; conflict resolution and peace; and media culture.
"My attendance at the Conference gave me the opportunity to further develop the relationship that my Office has had with DICID for almost a year now," said Chaplain Gibbs. "We have been examining ways we can collaborate to provide opportunities for interested U.S. service members to participate in programs on interfaith dialogue and religious and cultural awareness.
"I was able to participate in additional discussions with DICID staff and with the Director, Dr Ibrahim Salih Al Naimi, during the conference. I look forward to continued engagement with DICID in the future," Gibbs said.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of the interfaith forum for DICID, which has been a leading international organization in the region promoting interfaith dialogue as a means to counter the rise of violent sectarianism. DICID's primary mission is to promote the culture of interfaith dialogue, the peaceful coexistence of humanity and the acceptance of others of different religious traditions. The Center sponsors interfaith workshops, seminars, youth programs, academic research and publishes a professional journal.
Gibbs said that the Command Chaplain's Office first made contact with DICID in September 2012 as part of its religious leader liaison engagement initiative to develop relationships with civilian religious, academic, and cultural affairs leaders in the USARCENT Area of Responsibility.
His attendance at the conference as a guest of DICID resulted in contacts with numerous participants that will be followed up to explore further opportunities for constructive engagement with area civilian and military religious leaders.
Religious leader liaison engagements promote mutual respect, contribute to the chaplain's core task of advising the commander on religious affairs issues, and support the USARCENT campaign plan by building relationships that help foster common capabilities with partner nations in the region.