Tag: Interfaith Dialogue
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) is disappointed at the Vatican's latest move to formally recognise a Palestinian state. Since the 2012 UN resolution accepting Palestine as a non-member observer state, the Vatican has been referring to the state of Palestine, but this treaty goes further by formalising this recognition for the first time. Sadly, this will do nothing to advance peace nor assist Middle Eastern Christians persecuted by Islamists across the region.
It is not an everyday occurrence to see senior Saudi Arabian government officials speak alongside rabbis based in Israel, prominent Buddhist figures and Indian swamis.
But, for the second year in succession, the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) managed to attract a diverse, energetic and motivated group of scholars, religious leaders and civil society activists to Vienna for two days of interactions and engagement.
Welcomed as special guests at the baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets was the "Delegation of Muslim & Jewish Leaders from the Southern Hemisphere." The announcement brought cheers and applause.
As part of that delegation, I spent two intensive days in Washington with colleagues from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. We had ample opportunity to discuss distinctive features of our varying national experiences, issues which divide as well as unite us and determine what we could learn from our US hosts.
The American Jewish Committee is, by any standards, an outstanding organisation, and its May 2012 Annual Meeting and Global Forum provided testimony to this effect.
From debates on Iran featuring analysts who individually would command respect and attention due to their expertise; through sessions where a variety of serving Ministers for International Affairs shared understandings of contemporary challenges; to a hugely informative and educational debate on the strengths and weaknesses of President Obama and Mitt Romney - there was hardly a word spoken which was unnecessary or uninteresting.
For the first time, an Australian has participated in the Jewish delegation to the International Liaison Committee, in which Jewish representatives meet with Vatican appointees to further Jewish-Catholic understanding and dialogue.
Jeremy Jones, Director of International and of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, participated in the meeting in Paris last week, as one of the 25 members of the delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Inter-religious Consultations (Jeremy Jones is also the first Australian to serve on that body).