CENTRE FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
Living in Bosnia and Herzegovina means a constant re-evaluation of one’s own ability to recognize and communicate on the basic terms of dialogue; such are difference and a border line. Understanding, introducing a theme and insisting on those terms make for elementary manner on how could one properly build one’s own identity and views, and are condition for healthy co-existence. With that regard, the Centre for Inter-religion Dialogue of the International Forum Bosnia was established with aim of improving dialogue among different religious groups that coexist in Bosnia and Herzegovina for centuries. The Mission of the Centre for Inter-religion dialogue (referred to as "the centre” in a further text) will be structured around aspirations to achieve the concrete results in communication – dialogue as a channel for cultural, theological and socio-political interaction of traditional patterns in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Considering the evident fact that discourse on tolerance, right to be different and to publically and freely express personal political, religious and other convictions is often automatically and unselectively placed in the context of liberal ideas and modernism as its socio-political environment while forgetting the Tradition as the source of all mentioned values, one of Centers’ key goals will be creating critical mass that will use interpretation from the traditional point of view to contribute to development of tolerance and overcoming the existing conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina by exchange of experiences and principles on the practical level.
Field of work
Promoting the idea of tolerance and coexistence on the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and presenting this idea to different target groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina is of vital importance for our country. By continued reviewing of some of burning issues such are the matter of education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, developing awareness of self and others and rising awareness of and exposure of discriminatory elements within different religious groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Centre will aim its activities on the several fields of public expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Centre will act:
- Within wider social framework, and on that base the Centre will endeavor to promote values, ideas and attitudes on tolerance and inter-religious dialogue with focus being placed on wider Bosnian-Herzegovinian public (but also including the regional public). The Centre will also endeavor to focus its work on the public promotion of the ideas of tolerance and coexistence in order to impose the pattern of traditional understanding of inter-religion communication to the public discourse in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was constituted on the axes connecting imposed consent and latent conflict. In that sense, the Centre will organize variety of public events such are conferences, round tables and other scientific and semi-scientific public events aimed at influencing the public but also influencing the intellectual community of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through previously mentioned activities but also by preparing publications and over media, the centre will endeavor to be present in the public space of Bosnia and Herzegovina, promoting true dialogue and understanding under the wing of Bosnian-Herzegovinian religious traditions. Further, the Centre will initiate public discussions, campaigns and other forms of memory, speech and dialogue on religion, tradition and its existing or not existing aspects. The centre will undertake various other activities, for example research, analyses of public awareness regarding the issues of understanding of the basic religious principles and possibilities of co-existence on this territory. This effort will greatly contribute to better understanding of current situation but also in planning for the future strategic goals of the Centre. We also wish to make active contribution to work of the Commission for Truth and Conciliation and launch an initiative for establishment of memorial centre that will commemorate all innocent victims of past war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- In intellectual framework that will improve intellectual communication and encourage internal dialogue of divided community of "pen and thought” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the bases of inter-religion understanding and tradition of communicative multi-denomination community. With that regard, the Centre will establish cooperation with the religious leaders in our country, various government and non-government organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and wider, all those who show readiness and good will to contribute to developing idea on tolerance, understanding and co-existence on this area. Bearing on mind that creating the critical intellectual mass that will improve traditional and religious understanding of tolerance and co-existence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the main goals of work, the centre will endeavor to open up cooperation in implementing future projects to the wider circle of young intellectuals willing to cooperate in generating the inter-religion understanding. Even if, in the intellectual sense, the Centre will rely on the existing "intellectual infrastructure” of the International Forum Bosnia to the greatest possible extent, aspect of recruitment and support to emerging circle of young intellectuals is taken as one of primary priorities in executing the goals of the Centre. In that sense, the Centre will be designed as a starting point for variety of researches related to the matters of religion and other aspects of public life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with participation of wider circle of young researchers, students etc.
- In the educational framework to promote the values of tolerance and socio-religious diversity as cultural wealth within all spheres of education. One of the important aspects of religious and inter-religious dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the epistemological frame where models and patterns of multi-direction communication originated. By highlighting the importance of creating educational system in which, by principle of inclusion, the dialogue on tolerance and diversity will be incorporated into existing curriculum, the Centre will undertake different activities in promoting and embedding those values into the systems of education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such action, among the others, include creating and implementing research that will serve as the bases for analyses and expert’s recommendations for improvement of the traditional dialogue on tolerance in the educational institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For a purpose of achieving above mentioned goals, one of the activities of the Centre will be to publish various publications tackling this issue and to enable viewing diversities that exist in Bosnia and Herzegovina as advantageous, not as a flow. On this manner the wider public will become acquainted to the activities of the centre.
In that sense students make the first, and perhaps the most important group. Promotion of the basic principles of tolerance and inter-religion dialogue would be implemented by organizing lectures, public lectures, discussions on different faculties’ country wide where students would take an active participation and by doing so contribute to fact-finding on the current situation on this issue among the young generation in some parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also to developing the idea on tolerance, so-existence and mutual consideration.
That would be an encouragement for young people to think and actively participate in creating Bosnian cultural and political environment as a space of action and confrontation of different forces (the phenomenon of border-line is present here as the point of contact but also as the point of separation) where we try to renew the starting base for existence of diversities. To confirm our commitment to dialogue in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina is the main goal to which we aspire, because one of the biggest problems of the post-conflict situation where the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is found at the moment, is denying existence of the other and different and complete or partial isolation and segregation in some parts of the country.
In its work, the centre will remain open for cooperation with all religious and other institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I conducting activities on promotion of inter-religious dialogue, the Centre will ex officio remain strongly connected to the existing "religious establishment” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that will make cooperation with these institutions a relevant pillar of support to the bigger number of activities. However, the Centre will not be limited in its work to the official religious system and its institutions. In accordance with the Centre’s goals that are stressing a need and effort in creating and maintaining the culture of dialogue under the wing of the religious traditions as an socializing act, the Centre will cooperate with other institutions and individuals, (non-government) organizations and individuals who find their philosophical, cultural or political interest in development of dialogue; but will also make an critical review on past work and actions of existing institutions/bodies dealing with the matter of inter-religious dialogue.