Australian Catholic University theologian Edmund Chia has become the first Australian invited to join an interfaith program working to overcome international religious conflicts.
Dr Chia has been invited to join the 2021 International Fellows Program of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
KAICIID works with the United Nations, the European Commission, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, UNESCO and other multilateral organisations to highlight the positive contribution of religious communities, strengthen social cohesion and drive conflict resolution.
KAICIID was the initiative of King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and it opened in 2012. It is based in Vienna and is now a joint initiative of Austria, Spain, Saudi Arabia and the Holy See.
The program brings together leaders and educators from Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and other religious backgrounds from around the world to promote interreligious and intercultural communication and dialogue.
Dr Chia has been engaged in interfaith dialogue for more than 30 years and has published extensively in the field.
"KAICIID has a team of excellent scholars and experts in interreligious dialogue and led by some of the finest of the world's religious leaders. I am really looking forward to sharing with and learning from them. I see an exciting year ahead,” he said.
Professor Dermot Nestor, executive dean for ACU’s Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, said the invitation was an important acknowledgement of the way Australians, and ACU in particular, could contribute to improving interfaith relationships.