Congress of Religious Leaders Unveils 10-Year Development Plan

ASTANA – World religious leaders approved the development concept of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions for the next ten years during the 21st session of the secretariat of the congress on Oct. 11 in Astana.

The session approved the Development Concept of the Congress for 2023-2033. Photo credit: Nargiz Raimbekova/The Astana Times.

“At the first stage of our forum’s activity from 2003 to 2023, the main goal was to strengthen and promote multilateral interreligious dialogue,” said Maulen Ashimbayev, chairman of the secretariat and chairperson of the Senate, an upper chamber of the Kazakh Parliament.

“Today we can confidently say that this initial mission of the congress has been successfully accomplished. In the coming years, the congress will continue its efforts to develop and strengthen interreligious dialogue. At the same time, we see great potential in spiritual diplomacy,” he added.

Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov, who is also deputy head of the secretariat, said that the development concept has integrated all the suggestions from the secretariat members.

“I would like to note that our primary aim when preparing the concept was to emphasize joint efforts to strengthen dialogue and trust in pursuit of peace and cooperation, promotion of spiritual and moral values, and the preservation of religious and cultural diversity,” he said.

“In the declaration of the seventh congress, spiritual leaders expressed the intention to develop the dialogue platform, to further strengthen cooperation between religions, cultures and civilizations. In this regard, our draft concept is aimed at increasing the role of the congress in strengthening and promoting inter-religious dialogue and cooperation,” he added.

A significant portion of the document focuses on the implementation of the outcomes of the previous congresses, according to Umarov.

“Our aspiration is to develop our dialogue platform into a real mechanism for strengthening interreligious ties at the global level. Particular attention is paid to the issue of developing the capabilities of spiritual diplomacy,” he said.

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