Religions for Peace Global Religious Youth Leaders’ Summit, Paris 26-29 November 2015

image2 The EYCE ExCo were delighted to have a representative attend the Religions for Peace (RfP) Global Religious Youth Leaders’ Summit in Paris prior to COP21 this weekend. All relating to the EYCE’s work and the aims of the EYCE’s projected campaign for 2016-2019 as discussed at our GM last month, the three main topics of discussion were (1.) Violent Religious Extremism (VRE), (2.) The Refugee Crisis and (3.) Climate Change.
image6The EYCE ExCo representative at the Religions for Peace Global Religious Youth Leaders’ Summit heard many expert presentations on the Refugee Crisis and the importance of Welcoming the Other. Elida Jbeili, the Programme Officer for Youth at Religions for Peace International, shared with us her inspiring testimony of being a refugee and how religious organisations in Sweden where she relocated then, helped her family feel welcomed. We also heard testimonies from activists for peace in Syria.
Discussions on how to combat radicalisation and the recurring islamophobia in society were many. Presentations from experienced young experts from all over the world highlighted, among many things, the importance of good campaigning to reduce the growing problems of religiophobia and VRE.
image1There were many interesting and important interventions throughout the summit from Coexister, an organisation founded in 2009 by young leaders in Paris and which aims to increase awareness and practice of intercultural and interreligious dialogue between people of all faiths, beliefs or none throughout France. We learned important points on the necessity of religious education to prevent violent religious radicalisation, for example.
The Regional Interfaith Youth Networks presented their annual activity reports at the event, showing us their many inspiring projects and ideas.
image5On Saturday, all the RfP representatives from all the corners of the world and its diverse religions attended an inter-faith prayer at the Saint-Denis Basilica. After, we participated in the Act Now for Climate Change Religious leaders’ conference at Saint-Denis and joined in their celebrations at the success of their campaign to combat climate change.
We also shared a moment of silence and prayer at the Place de la République memorial for the 129 young people who were tragically killed on the 13th of November 2015 during the Paris attacks as well as those suffering and having suffered the violent bombings in Beirut, Iraq and Syria.
Important links and connections were made with organisations from all over the world and the Regional Inter-faith Youth Networks. We are looking forward to working closer with them in the future, especially in the planning of our inter-faith events and our upcoming campaign.