Posted by Rafiq A. Tschannen
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michal Spindelegger and Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo will launch the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in Vienna on Monday.
“The opening ceremony of the KAICIID will be attended by hundreds of other eminent religious, civic and political leaders from around the world,” Austrian Ambassador Gregor W. Koessler, said yesterday in an exclusive interview with Ghazanfar Ali Khan of Arab News.
Koessler said the KAICIID, an initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, will act as a hub among followers of different religions and cultures, empowering others already working in the field of dialogue and promoting harmony and cooperation.
“The center will generate, develop and disseminate knowledge in the area of interreligious and intercultural dialogue,” said Koessler.
Top foreign dignitaries and religious figures, including Vice Foreign Minister Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz Asheikh and Abdullah A. Al-Turki, chief of the Muslim World League (MWL) will also participate in the opening ceremony in Vienna.
The Austrian envoy said the center traces its origins to the initiative of King Abdullah and has three founder states: Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain. The Holy See has welcomed the invitation to adhere to the initiative in the quality of founding observer. A delegation of the Holy See will be present at the inauguration ceremony.
He said the center is a new institution, the purpose of which is to foster dialogue among religions and cultures. This goal is always to be looked on with favor with a view to understanding and peaceful coexistence among peoples: a basic and an urgent need for the humanity of today and tomorrow. In fact, King Abdullah spoke to the Vatican priests about the need for such a center during the meeting he had in the Vatican in 2007.
The center will enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world. Located in Vienna, a city long used to being a bridgehead between world religions and cultures, the center is an independent, international organization, free of political or economic influence. The three founding states of the center constitute the “Council of Parties” responsible for overseeing the establishment of the center.