Report on the 10th Sarajevo UN World Interfaith Harmony Week
From International Forum Bosnia, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
International Forum Bosnia organized the 10th Sarajevo UN World Interfaith Harmony Week this year, marking a full decade of events held in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to the appeal by the UN General Assembly session held on October 20, 2010 to member-states, inviting them to organize programmes during the first week of February each year that contribute to the understanding of religious plurality and build trust between the component elements of that plurality.
The key themes of this year's programme are summed up in the title:
Politics, Religion, and Tolerance.
This year’s theme was chosen because it reflects the urgent need for dialogue at the interface of politics and religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina 30 years after the outbreak of the war against the country in 1992, at a time when tensions and the potential for renewed conflict have been rising, not least because of international pressures and changing geopolitical realities, both regionally and on the broader global scene. As so often, it is the identity nexus, which draws in a tight knot the threads of ethnicity, culture and heritage, religious affiliation, and political identification, that responds most sensitively to the growing tensions in society and manipulation of them by various interests, both domestic and foreign. As always, the answer is in greater dialogue, understanding, and tolerance, so long as it is based on a real recognition of and respect for difference and the constitutive role of difference in the establishment of essentially plural communities – the only type now possible in the modern world on any humane or indeed human basis.
Given the continued restrictions on public meetings because of the coronavirus and associated measures, the programme took place on Zoom, with daily panels running from 14:00 hours to 17:00 hours each day, from Monday, 7 February, to Friday, 11 February. The panel on the first day was preceded by the inaugural session, while the panel on the final day was followed by the closing session. The timetable ran as follows:
7 February (Monday, from 14:00 – 15:00h.
First Panel on Politics, Religion, and Tolerance
7 February (Monday), from 15:00 – 17:00h.
Second Panel on Religious Plurality and the Formative Books of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions
8 February (Tuesday), from 14:00 – 16:00h.
Third Panel on Hatred, Celebrating Atrocities, and Intolerance in Ethno-Nationalist Ideologies
9 February (Wednesday), from 14:00 – 16:00h.
Fourth Panel on The Sacred in Bosnian Cultural Heritage, I
10 February (Thursday), from 14:00 – 16:00h.
Fifth Panel on The Sacred in Bosnian Cultural Heritage, II
The Friends of IFB
The work of International Forum Bosnia is supported by a wide range of organizations and individuals.