Doha, Qatar, 26 March 2014
Kosovo's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Petrit Selimi spoke on a panel discussion titled: "Making Common Ground: Supporting and developing better understanding between communities that have been in conflict."
The panel was part of the 11th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar and the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue.
During his stay in Qatar, Deputy Minister Selimi met with the Secretary General of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, H.E. MR. Iyad Ameen Madani, and Tunisian Minister for Religious Affairs, Mr. Mounir Tlili.
Alongside the 11th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, Deputy Minister Selimi also participated in the 5th meeting of the Istanbul Process for Combating Discrimination on Basis of Religion or Belief, a series of annual meetings whose purpose is to advance the implementation of the Resolution 16/18 to combat intolerance and discrimination based on religious belief.
As the initiator of the Interfaith Kosovo initiative, Deputy Minister Selimi spoke in front of a diverse audience of diplomats, academics and interfaith thought leaders and practitioners, presenting Kosovo’s diversified portfolio of interfaith activities within the Interfaith Kosovo umbrella. Interfaith Kosovo represents a diverse set of initiatives launched together by Kosovo's institutions, faith communities, and civil society organizations to promote inter-faith dialogue in Kosovo and the wider region, as a tool for building democratic societies respectful of all communities. The initiative has been launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, British Council, and supported by the Norwegian Embassy and British Embassy in Pristina.
During his conference remarks, Deputy Minister Selimi presented a historical timeline of peaceful coexistence between different faiths in Kosovo, serving as context to explain that the difficult relations between Islamic and Orthodox faith community members in Kosovo during the past decade were an effect rather than a cause of the Kosovo war. Deputy Minister Selimi, however, shared the success of Interfaith Kosovo initiative in bringing together leaders of all faiths in Kosovo, including the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Deputy Minister Selimi also stressed the need to further Intra-Faith dialogue as much as Inter-Faith dialogue. Mr. Selimi spoke along with three other promoters of interfaith dialogue, Rev. Gabriel Leonard Allen from Gambia, Dr. Joseph Wandera from Kenya, and Mr. Claudio Epelman from Argentina. Professor Sherrie Steiner moderated the panel.