Conference in Paris explores theme of peace from diverse perspectives

12 September, 2019

Antje Heider-Rottwilm addressing the CEC Peace Conference in Paris. Photo: CEC/Alžběta Slámová

Press Release No: 19/21
12 September 2019

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The Conference of European Churches (CEC) Peace Conference featured panels and seminars on 11 September, exploring the topic of peace from various perspectives. Speakers from different Christian confessions, as well as Jewish and Islamic traditions reflected together in Paris.

The conference commemorates CEC’s 60th Anniversary, identifying legacies and challenges of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, while searching for new and creative ways of peacebuilding.

Themes that were brought into focus included West's legacy in the Middle East, populism, sustainability and economics, keys to interfaith engagement and strengthening the peacebuilding praxis of faith communities. The two panels reflected on Abrahamic religions and dialogue of peace, and Europe’s peace vocation and the role of security and peace.

“The value of hospitality is central to all religious traditions,” said Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee, International Director of Interreligious Affairs.

“Interfaith collaboration thus plays an invaluable role in enabling people and communities of different faiths to view their own religious identities and sense of belonging as vehicles for a constructive contribution and enhancement for the wellbeing of society,” he added.

In a seminar on Populism Sustainability and Economics, Rev. Tony Addy, from the Lutheran World Federation, spoke about the concept of “convivial life together”.

“It is important not to disregard the socio-economic aspects of peace and conflict prevention and to pay great attention to engaging with the everyday lives of people and communities which may be drawn into conflict through nationalism or populism,” added Rev. Addy.

OKRin.i.R. Antje Heider-Rottwilm from the Church and Peace said, “Everyone who reflects deeper than populist propaganda knows that there are links between unjust economic relations, exploitation worldwide, corruption, dictatorship, arms production and export, increasing climate change, fundamentalism – and migration.”

“In this context the European Union has an ambivalent role, having a longstanding profile as peace actor the EU now more and more concentrates on security,” she added.

Among other speakers were Lebanese political scientist Prof. Khattar Abou Diab, Mr Ziad El Sayegh of the Middle East Council of Churches, His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Fr Themistocles Hadjioannou of the Church of Cyprus, H.E. Dr Mohammad Al-Sammak, Secretary General, National Committee for Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Lebanon, Marek Misak, Policy advisor for External Relations representing COMECE Commission on the External Relations of the European Union and Jan Oberg, Director of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, Sweden.

The CEC Peace Conference has brought over sixty participants from across Europe, representing CEC Member Churches and Organisations in Partnership.

Speeches, messages from the CEC Peace Conference

Photos from CEC Peace Conference

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Naveen Qayyum
Communication Assistant
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
Twitter: @ceceurope

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