The world becomes less peaceful. This fact is confirmed by data of the Global index of the world-2018 (GPI).
According to results of the research the level of conflict potential in the world has sharply grown for the last decade. Besides, growth of the conflicts caused by a religious factor acts as feature of a situation of today. In these conditions appeals to dialogue and search of consensus by efforts of all international community are of particular importance.
Similar thoughts are cast by the forthcoming VI Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions in October of the current year in Astana – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Congress subject is “Religious leaders for the safe world”.
Politicians, scientists and social activists ask a question – why violence and hatred are often committed under cover of religion while all religions of the world strive for peace and justice?
It is obvious that there is no definite answer to this question – and if it is, then its decision demands efforts of all international community.
Today the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions, carried out in Astana is the world’s largest dialogue platform uniting religious figures, politicians, scientists and representatives of the international organizations for discussion of the most topical issues and search of the general reference points in various aspects concerning questions of religion and policy.
For the first time leaders of world clergy have arrived in the capital of Kazakhstan 15 years ago in 2003. Then many politicians among who were Vladimir Putin, George Bush Jr., Jiang Zemin, Kofi Annan, Margaret Thatcher supported the initiative of the president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev about carrying out universal dialogue on religion.
The next meetings took place with frequency each three years – in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015 and each of them was followed by signing the final Declaration. In this document delegates announce the joint actions for providing and preservation of peace and also appeal to world community. All materials of last congresses are available in open access.
For years of work of these Congresses their relevance wasn’t called in question neither in Kazakhstan, nor in the world. The carried-out Astana format of dialogue is unique, and its purposes are noble.
The number of the delegations accepted by Astana continuously grows and reaches 90 representations from more, than 40 countries of the world. By the way, in 2015 the king of Jordan Abdullah II, the head of Finland Sauli Niinisto, the CEO of ISESKO Abulaziz Osma of an at-Tueydzhra and also the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of OSCE Lamberto Zannier and the CEO of OIC Iyad Amin Madani became guests of honor of the V Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions. In their speeches they have emphasized need of strengthening of religious dialogue that is represented especially important in the conditions of the current growth of threats to the global world and the international stability.
It is obvious that Astana intends to work resolutely, having called world clergy for dialogue on the earth. Especially for the organization of Congresses the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation (2006) – the building executed in the form of the Pyramid symbolizing unification has been built.
In 2017 the Museum of Peace and Reconciliation for the purpose of collecting materials and implementation of scientific research in the field of development of dialogue of cultures and religions has also been opened. The special Astana international award for the contribution to interreligious dialogue and an honorable medal of the Congress which will be handed for the first time this year was founded.
It is possible to believe that Kazakhstan has all bases to conduct actions of so high, universal importance. This state of Central Asia is the natural geographical center between the largest world religions – Islam, Christianity and the Buddhism.
It should be noted that Kazakhstan is the multiethnic and polyconfessional state, at the same time being on high positions of the global index of the world. Today citizens of this country are representatives of more than 130 ethnos whereas the number of religious associations has reached more, than 3 600, representing 18 various faiths. From the moment of independence it strives for perfection and harmonization of the relations within the country and calls for it the world community.
It is important to note that it is not the first peaceful initiative of Kazakhstan which finds support in the world. Kazakhstan actively puts into practice the ideas of peace and harmony, stability and safety. For 26 years the Republic takes the peacekeeping initiative among which there are events of the universal importance.
They are: voluntary refusal of nuclear weapon and closing of the proving ground (1991); initiation and co-authorship of the Universal declaration of the UN on creation of the world, free from nuclear weapon (2015); declaration of the Manifesto “World. 21st century” (2016), organization of peace negotiation process for Syria (“The Astana process”, 2017) and many others. Obviously, Astana has shown that its initiatives are transformed to effective mechanisms with far-reaching consequences for the whole world.
Coming back to the subject of the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions there is a question – what role is it designed to play and in what is actually its need?
There is a hope that in a complex with other mechanisms, this platform will be able to promote improvement of safety of today’s world. It is impossible to exaggerate a role of religion in modern society and in many respects its enormous peace potential is almost not involved.
In this regard, importance of interreligious communications is in that they have been directed not on the course of the conflict and hostility, and had the constructive, dialogical character promoting growth of safety in the world in general and its separate corners in particular.
Today it is not only about interaction of religion and its role in public processes, but also about global dialogue of the religious and secular worlds, dialogue of religion and policy.
The interreligious format of dialogue offered by Astana includes various forms of interaction, from discussions, negotiations and consultations, to the conclusion of agreements and joint coordination of actions on specific questions.
At the same time it is important to understand that dialogue is not always consent, but always search of this consent. It means that the Congress of world religious leaders in Astana is not a single event; it is, certainly, process which has to act on the constant basis.
Dialogue, allows the parties to overcome “an image of the enemy”, to trust to intentions and actions of each other, so to lead to harmonization of the interreligious and interethnic relations and, eventually, to smoothing of political contradictions.
Thus, it is possible to say that the Astana platform is outside classical or public diplomacy. The president of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev in his speech at the previous V Congress has noted that the platform already became “the most important element of global “spiritual diplomacy”. It is also marked by other world leaders.
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