Tunis Process launches to advance public discussion on Islam and Europe
Cityscape of Tunis, Tunisia with the Al Zaytuna Mosque visible

The Tunis Process, an innovative year-long series of events to explore the relationships between Islam and Europe through dialogue among a diverse group of international participants, is launched today. Held under the auspices of the Tunisian Presidency, the Tunis Process is an initiative of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC), in partnership with the LBH Foundation (LBH) and the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS).

Under the title “Islam and Europe: Overcoming Differences, Sharing Paths”, the Tunis Process will bring together more than 40 diverse international participants – policymakers, influencers, academics, and practitioners in intercultural and interreligious dialogue. The process aims to generate policy recommendations and initiatives to make a positive and substantive contribution to debates around the relationships between Islam and Europe.

The unique aspect of the Tunis Process comes largely from the diverse make-up of its organisers and participants, covering various perspectives of the Muslim and the Western worlds in a multidisciplinary manner, with a spirit of openness and the willingness to understand one another.

Jean-Christophe Bas, CEO of the DOC, said:

“The Tunis Process is designed to be a powerful example of dialogue in action and what it can achieve. Recent events in Tunis only serve to underscore that this is vitally necessary. We want to discover what people can learn from each other when they come together in an atmosphere of mutual openness to listen to the perspectives of others with no compromise. Only by doing this can we develop inclusionary approaches to challenges that affect the lives of millions of people, and build a peaceful and fair world for ourselves and future generations.

“This is not about scholarly theological debate or rehearsing well-worn tropes that dominate the news headlines. Nor is it about dictating solutions or insisting on a particular worldview. We are working closely with, listening to and being guided by people who live and work in Tunisia and engage every day with both the Islamic world and Europe. We have come to Tunis not to lecture, but to listen, and to learn.

“The DOC is one of the few organisations that can facilitate a series of events as ambitious as the Tunis Process. We are grateful to the Tunisian Presidency and to our partners – AJCS and LBH – for their support, and look forward to two days of productive dialogue.”

Lotfi Bel Hadj, President of the LBH Foundation, said:

“Listen, learn and engage in dialogue. These are the three missions that the organisers of the Tunis Process have set for themselves. The double theme of the event – Islam and Europe – is highly relevant today, and the meeting is designed to allow participants to engage in constructive and dispassionate dialogue. Anxious to see the world as it really is and to engage in dialogue in a spirit of openness, the LBH Foundation and the DOC have launched this initiative with the goal of establishing a series of events that we hope will be both long-lasting and innovative. In a rapidly changing Tunisia, it is our hope that positive contributions to reflections on relations between Islam and Europe will emerge from these exchanges.”

Dr. Mohammed Cherkaoui, Senior Fellow at AJCS, said:

“In line with the spirit and vision of the globally-sought trajectory of the dialogue of civilizations at an era of right-wing politics, populism, and extremism, AJCS as a think-tank in the global South looks forward to collaborating with DOC, the Presidency of Tunisia, and the LBH Foundation. AJCS seeks to solidify positive engagement between its partners in the North and the South, and reposition the Islam-Europe relationship on the basis of better understanding, new vision of cooperation to help strengthen the virtues of both civilizations and cultures.

“AJCS considers this process in Tunis and beyond as a result-oriented platform to address the social and cultural challenges of the Arab/Muslim communities throughout Europe. It aims at developing a new multi-disciplinary and innovative approach toward the Islam-Europe-Euro-Arabs/Muslims connections.”

The two-day symposium in Tunis will be followed by sessions at the DOC’s flagship Rhodes Forum (11-12 October 2019 on the Greek island of Rhodes) and in Doha (March 2020). A concluding Symposium will take place at the DOC’s Berlin headquarters in May or June 2020.

For more information, please contact media@doc-research.org

About the Tunis Process

The Tunis Process is an innovative year-long series of events, held under the auspices of the Tunisian Presidency, to explore the relationships between Islam and Europe through dialogue among a diverse group of international participants. The Tunis Process is an initiative of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute in partnership with the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies and LBH Foundation.

Under the title “Islam and Europe: Overcoming differences, sharing paths”, the Tunis Process will bring together around 45diverse international participants – policymakers, influencers, academics, and practitioners in intercultural and interreligious dialogue. The process aims to generate policy recommendations and initiatives to make a positive and substantive contribution to debates around the relationships between Islam and Europe.

The unique aspect of the Tunis Process comes largely from the diverse make-up of its organisers and participants, covering various perspectives of the Muslim and the Western worlds in a multidisciplinary manner, with a spirit of openness and the willingness to understand one another.

The Tunis Process will focus on two broad issues: “The effects of Islam in Europe” and “‘The effects of Western culture in Muslim societies”. Within these sets of questions and issues, it will explore how social media, art, film, technology, music, and other forms of creative expression and popular culture can be utilised to overcome differences and create a shared path.

In a political and cultural context that is opposing the value system of Islam against that of Europe, the Tunis Process opens up a space for co-designing a common approach to this problematic, in order to identify the differences to overcome and the possible paths to be shared. Perhaps it is a question of inventing new utopias to provide new horizons. The process is inspired by the will to act and to find solutions rather than establish dogmas.

The initial year of the Tunis Process is expected to produce the following concrete results:

  • Innovative answers to two critical issues, each seen from three different angles.
  • A network of engaged thinkers and practitioners.
  • The establishment of a three-year research programme with the identification of new research areas and their applicative processes.
  • A policy initiative that will coincide with an ongoing series of policy briefs and concrete commendations (in English, Arabic, and French).
  • An effective methodological approach to debate that will address controversial and difficult issues.

The Tunis Process is a completely independent initiative that does not comply with the injunctions or the agendas of any organisation’s specific interests.

About the DOC

The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute is an international think tank that researches and develops proposals to address key challenges faced by the international community today. Committed to seeking dialogue-based solutions to humankind’s most pressing issues, the DOC builds on the legacy and expertise of the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations. We bring together global thought leaders from academia, public policy, business, and civil society in order to foster debate, share experiences, and develop sound policy recommendations.

More information can be found on the DOC’s website: www.doc-research.org

About the LBH Foundation

Building on his commitment to serving his country of origin, Tunisia, Lotfi Bel Haj established the LBH Foundation on the belief that current social progress can only be attainable through digital solutions and new technologies to ensure sustainable change and inclusive growth for the disadvantaged populations. LBH is based in Belgium and operates at the international level.

The LBH Foundation is dedicated to confronting the challenges caused by a rapid social change in Tunisia through the promotion of the information and education sectors by way of curating public intellectuals, religious scholars, scientists as well as a community of innovative problem-solvers. Our programs are designed to endorse projects that intend to affirm culture and its democratization.

At LBH Foundation, we highly value diversity along with ideological and intellectual independence. The foundation’s aim is to honestly reflect the Tunisia we are becoming today.

For more information please visit www.lbhfondation.com

About the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies

Established in 2006, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies conducts in-depth analysis of current affairs at both regional and global levels. Its research agenda focuses primarily on geo-politics and strategic developments in the Arab world and surrounding regions.

Based in the heart of the Middle East, and operating from within the socio-political and cultural fabric of the Arab world, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies seeks to contribute to knowledge sharing and present a better understanding of the complexity of the region. With an extensive network of distinguished researchers, and a wide range array of experts from across the globe, the centre aims to promote dialogue and build bridges of mutual understanding and cooperation between cultures, civilizations, and religions.

As a think-tank extension of the Al Jazeera Network, the centre endeavours to conduct research and build relevant, insightful, and in-depth knowledge for the entire organisation.

For more information, please visit our homepage

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