Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) – The nineteenth meeting of the General Secretariat of the Conference of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions set the date of the 7th Congress in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan on 14-15 September 2022, under the title: “The role of leaders of world and traditional faiths in the socio-spiritual development of humanity in the post-pandemic period”, after 19 years of giving and adopting the concepts of rapprochement between religions and cultures, tolerance, peace, development and safety for global communities.
Global recognition of the success and confidence in this congress over the past years is evident through the statements, practices and participation of global leaders in these 19 conferences, especially the presidents of the United States, Russia, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Germany and heads of organizations International Caper, and many world leaders.
World leaders and the international community believes in the necessity of continuing such congress, which would open broad horizons towards understanding the problem of extremism and terrorism, enriching dialogue between different religions in the world, achieving a deeper understanding of religions, accepting others and spreading a culture of tolerance, which the world may need more than before, to stop ethnic armed conflicts and sectarianism, which prevails in many regions of the world.
The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions was initiated in Kazakhstan on February 13, 2003, at the International Conference of Peace and Harmony, which played an important role in bringing religion, cultures, and civilizations closer together.
The global recognition of success and confidence in the new initiatives of Kazakhstan is evidenced by the fact that the heads of the United States, Russia, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Poland, Germany, heads of large international organizations sent their greetings to the Congress.
The I Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held in September 2003, was a unique event: representatives of the entire religious world gathered at one table for the first time.
The significance of the first Congress lay in its conceptual idea – the dialogue of religions is an effective tool for resolving disputes and countering terrorism. The purpose of the first congress was to find common reference points in the world to create a permanent international institution and ensure religious dialogue and coordinated decision-making.
The 1st Congress ended with the adoption of a declaration which contained statements by spiritual leaders on joint actions to ensure harmony and stability in societies as the basis for a harmonious world in the future. In addition, the decision was made to hold an interreligious forum on a regular basis – once every three years – and to create a permanent body of international and interfaith dialogue – the Secretariat of the Congress. As a result, the Congress became a working dialogue platform for solving systemic problems.
The II Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in September 2006, which focused on two areas: “Freedom of Religion and Respect for Followers of Other Religions” and “The Role of Religious Leaders in Strengthening International Security”, was held in a new building built specifically for this event – at the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation.
The document “Principles of Interreligious Dialogue” was adopted on the very first day, which contained the main components that guided the participants in their work. In addition, a final document was adopted recognizing the role of religion in the modern world, aimed at strengthening the role and mission of the leaders of world and traditional religions in establishing global security.
The participants of the II Congress also adopted a joint declaration calling on representatives of all religions and ethnic groups to prevent conflicts based on cultural and religious differences.
The III Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held in July 2009, discussed “The role of religious leaders in building a world of tolerance, mutual respect and cooperation”, where certain changes were made to the format of the congress, including the introduction of breakout sessions.
At the end of the event, a final joint document was adopted, calling on the world community to constantly support and promote the efforts of religious leaders and organizations to establish a fruitful interreligious dialogue, to help maintain dialogue between religions and civilizations.
A proposal was made at the end of this congress to create a Council of Religious Leaders to ensure dialogue and cooperation with other international organizations, whose work is aimed at dialogue between cultures and economic cooperation.
In turn, the IV Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions “Peace and harmony as the choice of humanity” was held in May 2012, which emphasized the important role of religious leaders in strengthening the security of humanity, improving dialogue and mutual understanding.
One of the most important initiatives of the IV Congress was the creation of an Internet resource within the framework of a single electronic portal G-Global, dedicated to the formation and strengthening of global tolerance and trust.
“Dialogue of religious leaders and politicians for the sake of peace and development” was the theme of the V Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in June 2015.
One of the principles of the declaration, formulated by the participants of the V Congress, was based on the call of the parties to military conflicts to stop clashes and develop agreements on ending violence and protecting civilians through negotiations.
In October 2018, expressing unanimous agreement and focusing on the main theme of the VI Congress “Religious Leaders for a Safe World”, the participants discussed the rapprochement of cultures and civilizations, spoke about global security and measures to combat extremism and terrorism.
The results of the VI Congress demonstrated that it is necessary to reach a new level of engagement. The Declaration of the participants of the Congress emphasized that all spiritual leaders need to reach out to the world community, people, and states with an appeal for peace and security.
For the joint implementation of the voiced initiatives, the delegates of the VI Congress put forward a proposal to establish the N. Nazarbayev Center for Development of Interfaith and Inter-civilization dialogue.