The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) in partnership with King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) are convening a two-day open dialogue with religious leaders (and scholars), thinkers and community mediators to discuss rising intolerance and violent extremism in the Arab Region.
The aim of the open dialogue and follow-up working groups is to initiate an inter-religious discussion on the factors threatening the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity of the Arab region and explore means of countering the rise of violent extremism and enhancing social cohesion through innovative narratives and tools. This dialogue, bringing together a wide range of religious leaders and representatives of religious organizations of different religious faiths, scholars and community mediators will serve as a platform to think of and formalize new ways that religious leaders and institutions can adopt in consolidating societies against the threat that extremism poses, while focusing on the social values that the core of every religion upholds in reducing inequalities and reinstating equity and social justice.
The aim of the conference is to discuss and analyze:
1) The role of religious leaders, scholars and religious institutions in enhancing tolerance and social cohesion and protecting the pluralistic nature of Arab societies
2) Mechanisms and tools to countering extremist narratives at the local, national, regional and global levels?
3) Development of engaging policies and innovative tools, primarily in education and media
The main outcome for the open dialogue and follow-up working groups is expected to result in a series of concrete recommendations in the short- and long-term on how religious leaders, scholars and community mediators from different backgrounds can act together in order to challenge extremist narratives and foster social cohesion.