World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event observed during the first week of February, which is a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith, as mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace. Qatar University (QU), through the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies, has been keen to promote the meanings of dialogue and coexistence among religions and civilisations to focus on joint initiatives, activities, events, workshops, seminars, visits and meetings, which aim to replace misconceptions among followers of religions and cultures with a more objective, credible and respectful view that distances from fanaticism and rejects the idea of clash, and establishes the values of coexistence, understanding, tolerance and harmony, according to a QU press statement.
One of the most important initiatives being the establishment of the ISESCO Chair in the Alliance of Civilisations, housed at the university’s College of Sharia and Islamic Studies in 2016. This agreement paved the way for QU and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) to collaborate on developing studies and databases in areas of the alliance of civilisations specialisation, and in providing scholarships for graduate students involved in relevant research activities, and awards of appreciation for distinguished research projects.
The establishment of the ISESCO Chair in the Alliance of Civilisations also serves to implement a course on the alliance of civilisations within QU academic
curriculum. The College of Sharia and Islamic Studies also launched the first-ever 'Encyclopedia of Occidentalism'. Executive director of the 'Encyclopedia of Occidentalism', Dr Azzeddine Mamiche, shed some light on the project, saying: “The encyclopedia highlights the important role of Qatar in promoting the spirit of dialogue and alliance between civilisations at the regional and international levels. This project, which is the first of its kind, reflects Qatar University’s commitment to advance a culture of dialogue in Qatar and the Islamic and Arab world. It will deliver tangible benefits to research centers, universities and academic institutions.”
The college has also established the Qatar Global Award for Dialogue Among Civilisations alongside the Qatar Committee for the Alliance of Civilisations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The award aims to achieve various educational, research and development goals and outcomes, serving as the driving force for channeling people's energies towards progress, prosperity, openness to human horizons, and spreading a culture of harmony, tolerance, coexistence, understanding and mutual respect among nations and peoples.
Dr Azzeddine Mamiche