Significance of the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions in promoting interreligious dialogue

At the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions

Over centuries, the people of Kazakhstan have accumulated the priceless qualities of tolerance, harmony, and mutual respect, enriched by the spiritual legacy of various nations and beliefs, Dianna Yessenova, Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of the N. Nazarbayev Center for Development of Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Dialogue, writes.

This has also been possible to achieve because, since the first days of our independence, Kazakhstan has devoted significant efforts to protecting and strengthening interethnic and interreligious harmony, expanding opportunities for citizens to use their creativity, abilities, and talents, to develop personal character comprehensively.

In the years of independence, Kazakhstan has adopted key government decisions and implemented large-scale initiatives to develop culture, spirituality, and enlightenment.

In the precarious conditions of the development of the sovereignty of the country, the transition to a market economy and democratic norms, we were able to substantiate the idea of interethnic and interfaith harmony, promote it and develop it in accordance with the requirements of the time and the needs of the people of Kazakhstan. This process is known in the world today as the “Kazakhstan Way”.

Fundamental elements, such as peace, and dialogue of confessions and cultures, are our invaluable wealth. The global community has recognised the paradigm of interethnic and interfaith harmony. At the same time, the “Kazakhstan Way” has become an inspiration not only for our close neighbours but also for many countries across the world, as well as the subject of scientific study by experts, analysts, and politicians.

N. Nazarbayev Centre for Development of Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Dialogue

Kazakhstan’s achievements in this area are rooted in our country’s history and people’s peculiarities. At the same time, the development of interfaith and interreligious cooperation is directly related to the centuries-old interaction of various types of civilizations and cultures in the heart of the Eurasian continent.

In turn, the tolerance of the people of Kazakhstan and their benevolent attitude towards representatives of other ethnic groups, cultures, and religions have established a strong and reliable foundation for the creative and comprehensive development and prosperity of the secular state.

Kazakhstan’s unique experience in maintaining interfaith harmony and religious tolerance has proved to be relevant on the global level. In this regard, one of Kazakhstan’s significant achievements is the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which is held in Nur-Sultan every three years.

Between 2003 and 2021, six Congresses of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions have been held on relevant issues of cooperation between representatives of various religions to facilitate a peaceful and decent life for people all over the planet.

The congress has become a significant contribution by Kazakhstan to developing a global interreligious dialogue in the name of peace and stability. Combining this approach with other crucial principles of the country’s foreign policy, such as multi-vectorism and a commitment to a peaceful and collective resolution of international disputes, Kazakhstan is actively contributing to the development of mutual understanding between Eastern and Western civilizations.

In September, our country will open its doors to participants of the Seventh Congress of Leaders of the World and Traditional Religions, which will be attended by more than 100 participants from 50 countries.

The topics of the plenary and panel sessions of the congress will provide an opportunity to comprehensively discuss issues of the modern era, such as threats of infectious diseases and international conflicts that concern every citizen regardless of his religious and ethnic affiliation, and to develop appropriate recommendations for their solution.

Evaluating the significance of the achievements that have been reached over the 19 years since the first congress, we are confident the future event will be based on the spiritual union of the leaders of the world and traditional religions, united in Kazakhstan as a sign of cooperation in the name of the well-being and security of all nations, as well as spiritual revival and improvement of humankind.

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