Participants of the Advisory Group meeting. Photo: Antti Pentikäinen

Increasing commitment to support religious and traditional peacemakers on the ground in the midst of conflicts

The importance of collaborative effort and synergy-building between various actors was stressed when a meeting of almost 50 actors across the peacebuilding field was concluded on Sunday 30 August in Vienna, Austria.

Organized by the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers for its Advisory Group, the meeting brought together actors from grassroots level religious and traditional peacemakers to international and intergovernmental organizations. The meeting was hosted by KAICIID Dialogue Centre.

The goal of the Network is to find the best possible ways to support religious and traditional peacemakers in their efforts for sustainable peace. This was discussed in various ways during the Advisory Group meeting, and many local actors shared best practices from the ground.

“Dialogue and cooperation between different religious communities is the key for the peace process in the Central African Republic. The conflict is rooted in politics and people do not trust the state structures, which emphasises the need to support this dialogue both in national and grassroots peace processes”, stated Imam Salehou N’Diaye, the leader of the Central Mosque in Bangui in the Central African Republic.

Ms. Aisha Ismael Adan from the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance stressed the need for intra- and inter-faith collaboration in the midst of conflicts.

“These workshops have been crucial in building trust between religious communities and the youth and strengthened the sense of belonging of the youth in their societies. This engagement offers an effective way of addressing root causes for violent extremism, not only locally, but also nationally and internationally”, she demonstrated. Ms. Adan has been one of the key figures in conducting a project Training youth and Community leaders in Kenya.

KAICIID Dialogue Centre, the host of the meeting, became the newest member of the Core Group of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, joining Religions for Peace, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Finn Church Aid (FCA). The Network Core group regularly consults with the UN Mediation Support Unit, in the UN Department of Political Affairs and the UN Alliance of Civilizations. The KAICIID press release on the partnership can be found here.

Further information: Mr. Aaro Rytkönen, Head of Secretariat, The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, Tel. +358 50 301 8479.