On 6-7 November, the Council of Europe held its 10th Anniversary Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue in Strasbourg. The Exchange provides a platform for dialogue between governments, religious communities and campaigning organisations. This year the meeting was devoted to refugees and international migration, and to the role of religious and secular groups in the development of migration policy.
Opening statements were delivered by the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies Ambassador Emil Ruffer; Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Political Affairs and of Justice of San Marino Nicola Renzi; Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) member and former President Anne Brasseur; Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Xavier Cadoret; and member of the Bureau of the Conference of INGOs, Jean Michel Caudron.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, Tomáš Boček presented a paper on the main topic.
Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute Senior Researcher Nikita Konopaltsev participated in the second sub-theme round-table with a presentation on Bridging Cultural and Religious Fault Lines Following Dialogue of Civilizations Principles: Aspects for Migration Policies.
The event gathered senior delegates of religious communities (Buddhists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims), secularists, interfaith groups, NGOs, academia and media as well as refugees and migrants to present testimonies of their experiences.
The Council of Europe Exchanges were launched in April 2007 in San Marino. Over the last decade, they contributed to dialogue on major cultural issues in Europe and around the world.
The Exchanges have tackled such issues as religious education in state schools, the relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of religion, inclusive societies, and the prevention of religious radicalisation.