The 5th International Interfaith Conference was held from 31 May till 2 June 2016 in Pristina. This year, the conference, organized by the International Institute for Interfaith Dialogue with the support of Kosovo Foreign Ministry, was dedicated to bringing forward the role of women in promotion of interfaith dialogue. The theme of the conference was “The Role of Women in Promoting Interfaith Dialogue and Countering Violent Extremism”.
The International Interfaith Conference gathered civil society activists, faith leaders, diplomats, journalists, artists and academics to discuss about the crucial role of women as primary mediators in interfaith dialogue, in the fight against extremism and in peaceful conflict resolution. The conference aimed to strengthen the voice of women in reaching common religious understandings that transcend violent extremism. The keynote speeches of the conference were given by two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Mrs. Tawakkol Karman.
The Ministry for Foreign affairs of Finland supported the conference and many Finnish experts joined the event including Mr. Pekka Metso, the Ambassador at large for Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Processes. In addition, a Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, whose secretariat is hosted by Finn Church Aid (FCA), joined and supported the conference.
In the context of the Interfaith Conference the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers also had its Advisory Board Meeting. Among others the Finnish Head of the Secretariat of the Network Aaro Rytkönen, Executive Director of the Network Antti Pentikäinen as well as Ambassador Anne Huhtamäki joined the meeting. In her welcoming speech for the participants of the meeting Huhtamäki emphasised the international importance of Finnish civilian crises management efforts and referred to the significant peacebuilding work of Martti Ahtisaari in Kosovo.
Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers is composed of actors from grassroots religious and traditional peacemaking actors to international NGOs and academic institutes, and the aim of the Network is to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of peace focused efforts through collaboratively supporting and strengthening the positive role of religious and traditional actors in peace and peacebuilding processes.
Jenniina Kotajoki, Junior Advisor