The Sovereign Order of Malta is taking part in the Global Interfaith Summit which kicked off today in Dubai within the Expo 2020 framework at the Italian Pavilion on the occasion of the International Day of Tolerance. Objective of the Summit – promoted by the United Arab Emirates Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan- who recently visited the Order of Malta in Rome – is to build bridges among different faiths through shared views on human values. The Summit – which brings together religious leaders and high representatives of international authorities – seeks to promote a culture of dialogue and of mutual respect.
Supporting and advocating for the role of faith-based institutions, facilitating interreligious dialogue – particularly in the Middle East – and promoting humanitarian international laws are today among the Order of Malta’s primary goals. In his address on Interfaith Dialogue and humanitarian diplomacy, the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Albrecht Boeselager, noted that: “Faith-based diplomacy promotes interfaith dialogue and recognises the key role religious leaders can play in conflict resolution and peace building”.
Boeselager then illustrated the Order of Malta’s commitment in this field. The document “Religions in Action” the Order has released aims exactly at raising awareness on the global geopolitics of religion. “The key findings of this Compact – explained Albrecht Boeselager – stem from the Order of Malta’s experience from working in the field: in crisis areas the degree of success of diplomacy – with its emphasis on dialogue and negotiation and on mutual respect of different confessions – is unmistakably linked to the capacity to engage with religious communities, religious leaders and include religious infrastructure”. In his address the Grand Chancellor recalled the historical “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed in Abu Dhabi in 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad el-Tayeb, a milestone in relations between Christianity and Islam. “We are committed to answer the call the Pope and the Grand Imam express in the name of the poor” the Grand Chancellor stated.
The Religious Compact finds an example of its intentions in the Order of Malta’s presence in Lebanon where for over 20 years it has been running several social and medical services in cooperation with other faith communities, in particular with the Imam Al Sadr Foundation, with the Druze community, as well as with the highest Sunni authority, Dar Al Fatwa.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence condemned all forms of violence perpetrated in the name of religion and “called for a world of tolerance, empathy and justice; a world of human fraternity in action”.
Among other representatives taking the floor were the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Sereni, and the Vicar Apostolic for Southern Arabia Bishop Paul Hinder.
Among initiatives organised today on the International Day of Tolerance framework is also the Roundtable “Connecting Souls” Connecting Souls”, building on the Expo theme “Connecting minds and creating the future”.