The 'Global Exchange on Religion in Society' will connect civil society practitioners inside and outside Europe, allowing them to learn from each other, explore partnerships, acquire new skills, and to scale-up positive experiences of coexistence among people of different faiths in pluralistic societies. Launching the initiative, Federica Mogherini explained: "It is a kind of Erasmus for civil society actors and activists who are working on faith and social inclusion."
The Global Exchange on Religion in Society is expected to be operational in the first half of 2020.
The Global Exchange will be financed by the European Union through the Partnership Instrument. It will be entrusted to an organisation through an open call for tenders. More information on the tender procedure can be found here.
The 'Global Exchange on Religion in Society' will be open to civil society practitioners of diverse backgrounds (including faith-based actors), who are already working on issues at the intersection of faith and social inclusion. Participants will be selected because of their expertise, not because of their faith or denomination.
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The future exchange will bring together groups of 20 to 25 people working on the same issues: they will travel to a place with special relevance to the issue at stake, visit local NGOs and institutions, and in the meantime, share their own experience and learn from other participants. They will also take part in workshops to learn specific skills, such as project design or social media campaigning. After the end of each physical exchange, a virtual follow-up will be foreseen.
On 6 September 2019, a diverse crowd of 150 representatives of civil society, governments and religious institutions gathered in Brussels for the launch of the initiative. Participants discussed different experiences of religious engagement from across the world, to better understand how the new Global Exchange can complement and interact with existing initiatives.
In her opening speech, Federica Mogherini said: "Religion has to be part of the solution. But most importantly, I believe in so many places around the world religion is already part of the solution. In all continents, there are people of faith who have chosen the path of respect and coexistence. Not in spite of their faith, but because of their faith." Read the full speech here: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/67023/speech-high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-launch-initiative-global-exchange_en
Watch the full conference on YouTube:
A first, small scale version of the exchange was carried out by a British NGO, the Lokahi Foundation, with support from the European Union. Here are the stories of four participants in the pilot phase.
The Lokahi team has produced two reports on their work, which can be downloaded though these links:
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