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Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, will this Friday in Brussels host a conference on religious engagement, social inclusion and foreign policy, where she is due to announce a new EU-sponsored 'Global Exchange on Religion in Society'.
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. The new initiative will connect community actors 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.
Federica Mogherini said: "NGO workers and grassroots activists experience in their daily work the positive role that religion can play in building inclusive societies. With the Global Exchange on Religion in Society we want to connect and empower these people who are already making our societies more inclusive and just. It is an Erasmus for civil society actors working on faith and social inclusion".
The new initiative will be entrusted to an organisation through an open call for tenders. The Global Exchange on Religion in Society is expected to be operational in the first half of 2020 and will be funded by the Partnership Instrument. Interested organisations can participate in the open call by applying as indicated here.
The public conference on 6 September will bring together 150 representatives of civil society, governments and religious institutions. Participants will discuss different experiences of religious engagement from across the world, to better understand how the new Global Exchange can complement and interact with existing initiatives.
The event builds on a roundtable discussion held on 25 Junewith the High Representative and participants in a pilot project of the Exchange.
A first, small scale version of the exchange was carried out by a British NGO, the Lokahi Foundation, with support from the European Union. The Lokahi team has produced two reports on their work, which can be downloaded though these links:
- Building an EU international exchange platform on religion and social inclusion https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c0678a870e80270c28b5658/t/5cdd750e9140b7f211281fc2/1558017327322/Building+an+EU+International+Exchange+Platform.pdf
- Islam, diversity and context