The participants in the 'Global Youth Interfaith & Intercultural Forum, Qatar 2023,' which kicked off Saturday in Doha, stressed the growing importance of involving young people in promoting the values of dialogue between different cultures, especially between religions, as this approach considered as one of the effective mechanisms for building bridges of communication between societies, knowing the other, and establishing a culture of mutual respect.
The participants believed that the forum and other international activities and events devoted to interaction and increasing communication between religions are an important incentive to qualify a new generation of young people who are imbued with a culture of dialogue and peaceful coexistence with others, especially in light of the many challenges the world is witnessing that threaten peace and coexistence and the widespread violent conflicts.
They pointed out that the forum, which reviews over four days, will provide a space that allows in a more specific way to enhance the involvement of this segment and benefiting from its experiences and expertise, and exchanging ideas and initiatives, which will have a resonance and lead to a better understanding of the other and the development of solutions and perceptions of several challenges facing contemporary societies, including the youth themselves.
Also, the participants stressed the impact of the forum in highlighting the concerns of the new generation and making the desired impact among this segment, especially in terms of acquaintance and acceptance of others, which necessarily leads to the dedication of a culture of dialogue and peaceful coexistence among followers of religions and civilizations to lay the foundations for world peace and to combat discrimination based on religion or belief.
World Cup success
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the CEO of the Stirling Foundation in the US, Edward Rowe, said that the forum brings together an elite group of global youth active in the field of dialogue, especially after Qatar organised the best World Cup edition.
He underscored that achieving the principle of integrity in this tournament was one of the factors that contributed to this success and building on common universal values, praising the important role that Qatar has played and is still playing in interfaith dialogue as it "represents the best example in many ways."
Rowe congratulated Qatar and its people for the World Cup success, saying that they have shown integrity in this tournament represented in their ability to adhere to their values, and religious and moral system despite the pressures exerted to force them to change that.
He added that the Qataris faced those challenges and succeeded in welcoming the world with appreciation and respect for cultural and religious diversity while preserving their convictions, identity, culture, and value system. Rowe considered that humanity's current changing world requires arriving at an inner peace that stems from the adherence to one's convictions, yet without the exclusion of others, instead accepting them, interacting with them, respecting differences, and being honest with oneself and with others, adding that given the current moment, it is important to unite peoples of different races and religions in achieving important goals that would aid humanity in facing all of its challenges and tragedies.
He said the Stirling Foundation supports many different programs around the world, including those focused on youth and interfaith dialogue to bring together young influencers into a single venue that is known for its commitment to interfaith dialogue, for them to then hopefully be able to return back to their respective communities and to cause a positive impact.
For her part, Member of the Board of Trustees at Common Word Among the Youth (ACWAY) Lola Matmusaeva said that the members of the youth who are participating in the forum's current edition were chosen from among more than 1,300 applicants and were selected due to their clear vision towards peace, dialogue enrichment, and non-discrimination in their societies.
She called on her young colleagues to maintain their vitality and be active throughout the forum's sessions, as well as to participate actively in the forum to make maximum use of its sessions, paving the way for building long-term relationships and sharing their experiences and success stories in overcoming global challenges and complex issues that must be dealt with.
Matmusaeva said that ACWAY, a UK-based co-organizer of the forum, is a global youth movement that brings together young people of any array of backgrounds to increase their understanding of different cultures and religions, and to promote peace and coexistence globally. Global Youth Interfaith and Intercultural Forum — Qatar 2023 is held under the theme 'Youth and Peacebuilding: Interfaith Dialogue from Theory to Practice' and is organised by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue, together with ACWAY.
A group of young people active in human rights work and voluntary civil service is participating in the forum, with more than 60 young men and women from 42 countries, in addition to 20 male and female participants from Qatar. The forum's agenda includes a number of axes, most notably peace through interfaith understanding and communication. The other axes are from diversity to pluralism, Islam's approach to getting to know the other, understanding religions' place in the lives of the youth in light of contemporary changes, as well as youth work, co-operation, and global citizenship, in addition to the exchange of ideas, experiences, and initiatives to enhance interfaith and intercultural understanding.
Qatari Executive TV Presenter Mohamed Saadoun al-Kuwari emphasised during a presentation in the forum's opening session, the importance of sport in enhancing the value of dialogue, with sports being an occasion for communication and convergence rather than just being a competition for victory and belonging. Additionally, the forum's opening session witnessed interventions by participants from international youth organisations, dealing with the global youth forum's great significance, especially as it comes at a time when young people are suffering from several challenges, in addition to contemporary societies' crises that require the help of young people's energetic role in facing these challenges and crises, in the pursuit of peace and stability, which necessitates religious and cultural diversity and pluralism globally.
Participants at the forum
Participants at the forum
Participants at the forum