Forty young people from 14 countries will meet this week in Cairo for a seminar entitled “Youth Engagement, Religion and Violence.”
From 18 to 22 August, participants from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East will focus on topics such as the impact of religious discourse on contributions to peace-building versus creating violent tensions. They will also ponder the role of religious institutions and theological faculties, such as Al-Azhar University and the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, in peace-building.
Discussions will center around how social justice and interfaith initiatives contribute to peace-building as a response to the challenge of radicalisation and extremism among young people.
There will also be dialogue about the concept of inclusive citizenship and religious, ethnic and national identities. Half the participants are Christian and half are Muslim.
The young people will also visit the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Pope Tawadros II, and the secretary general of the Arab League to enhance their atmosphere of questioning and learning.
The seminar, part of a series of continuing formation seminars that the WCC is organizing, is the first one organized as an interfaith collaboration with Al-Azhar Mosque and University.
"Religion and youth today are often at the heart of events linked to violence and radicalization,” said Carla Khijoyan, WCC programme executive for Youth Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement. “Our response is not fear and isolation but instead it is coming together, working together and walking together on the pilgrimage of justice and peace. Christian and Muslim young people will discuss openly the topics that are considered difficult and sensitive in an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding.”