“The Religious and Civil Cooperation towards Building Just Peace: Results of the Tenth Round of the Evangelical Dialogue Forum”

The Evangelical Dialogue Forum concludes the tenth round of the Arab-European dialogue on the importance of the role of religions and civil society in building just peace. The Forum concluded its session in cooperation with the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services, in collaboration with the Orthodox Academy of Crete, under the theme “Active Civil Society” on the island of Crete, Greece. The event witnessed the participation of about 35 members from civil society, including parliamentarians and diplomats from the Egyptian, Arab, and European elite, aiming to discuss the challenges facing efforts to achieve peace and justice in the Arab region and Europe.

Dr. Andre Zaki, the head of the Evangelical community in Egypt and the president of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services, emphasized the importance of making the voice of civil society heard and initiating dialogue with decision-makers. He stated, “We gather as representatives of relevant civil society organizations in Europe and the Middle East to make the voice of civil society heard and to open a dialogue with political decision-makers.” Dr. Zaki also highlighted the religious diversity among the participants in the cultural dialogue forum, reflecting the significant importance of the religious dimension in dialogue, given the crucial role played by religious institutions in society.

Dr. Alf Linderman from Oikosnet Europe pointed out the urgent need to support victims, enhance dialogue, and cooperation to find solutions to conflicts. Participants reiterated during the dialogue sessions that war and terrorism can never be considered political tools and rejected any idea of justifying war on religious grounds. They called for preserving and enhancing all communication channels to put an end to war and move towards justice-based peace.

Discussions also addressed the role of the media in understanding the situation, stressing the need for greater critical analysis of media content and providing more space for voices of moderation and reconciliation. Participants agreed to continue their commitment to dialogue and cooperation, aiming to contribute to building a bright future full of hope and peace in the region and beyond. These efforts come within the framework of a shared commitment to support civil society and religious initiatives in building more stable and tolerant communities.