Leaders for Interreligious Understanding 2014 – Denmark Seminar

​Leaders for Interreligious Understanding 2014 program had its first face to face seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark between April 6 and April 10 2014,joining social, educational and religious leaders from Denmark, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.

The seminar was organized in partnership between Danmission, Adyan, and Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue and The Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services. LIU program falls under the Danish-Arab Initiative and is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark.

The participants were introduced to the program and its process. In its first two days the seminar included workshops and panel discussions by the subject matter experts on their e-learning course topics. The topics are: Religion, conflict prevention and reconciliation and Religion, integration and political participation.

Also the participants attended a lecture on interreligious understanding and diversity management in public life and a leadership skills training.

On Wednesday 9, April the participants went to Copenhagen and had field visits to the Danish Islamic Council, New mosque, Center for Conflict Resolution and City court of Copenhagen. Also the participants participated in a Dialogue service at the Holy Spirit Church. The seminar ended Thursday 10th of April with a discussion on the local initiatives that will be implemented later on and an evaluation of the overall seminar.

LIU is a unique initiative since it is an integrative and cross-cultural approach of dialogue and formation providing young leaders with cognitive, behavioral and entrepreneurial capacities to manage religious diversity to develop their role as change agents for social cohesion and peace-building within and between societies.

In addition to having the opportunity of experiencing cross- cultural learning, the participants also discovered Denmark through visiting the various monuments and learning about Danish culture and norms.

The participants showed high interest and involvement in the seminar.

Aliaa Wagdy from Egypt expressed that it’s her first interreligious forum focusing on religion and its role in social cohesion even though she has attended several international seminars. She usually has suspicion on interreligious dialogue forums however she sees that the leaders for interreligious understanding seminar is the right way to have dialogue since it is bringing people from  different backgrounds to get acquainted and discuss important issues to build a better society

Marianne Hansen from Denmark mentioned that at first she was a bit reserved about the program - all though she believes in its vision. It is not the first program of this kind that she participates in and her experience is that there are a lot of good intentions but the results are often adsent.  However, after the workshops and presentations at the field trip to the Centre for Conflict Resolution she is much more hopeful, because through examples and exercises she was able to see how theory (and good intentions) is turned into functional tools. She added that she is very excited to begin the program and our local activities and to see what her fellow participants come up with. 

As for Rana Al Hussin from Syria she sees what the participants did during this seminar was very useful and an interesting experience. She expressed that the dialogue and debates between participants inspired her to think more about the concepts and the subjects that they talked about, and created many open questions for her and for other participants. Also Rana expressed that as a Syrian, a lot of the studied concepts and subjects could be supported by examples from the case of the Syrian society and the actual Syrian conflict. Rana concluded by saying that in her opinion the participants did the first step toward a future method of learning to have really an effective role as ´´Leaders for Interreligious Understanding ´´.

Rachel Mallah from Lebanon expressed that she has experienced the power of diversity, dialogue, understanding and communication through her participation in the LIU Denmark seminar which she described as a unique cross cultural experience in which she got to know participants from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Denmark with different religions and cultural backgrounds. She added that the seminar was an exceptional experience where the participants lived together, worked and interacted in an enriching program that combined: education, technical assistance and practical experience.

After the seminar the participants will officially start their e-course on Monday, April 14th 2014 and at a later stage will implement their local initiatives. The program will end with another face to face seminar in Egypt in 2014.