Astana, 11 October 2023 (TDI): The capital of Kazakhstan recently witnessed a historic gathering of religious leaders from various faiths and global representatives at the XXI Secretariat Session of the Congress of the Leaders of World & Traditional Religions.

Maulen Ashimbayev, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Head of the Secretariat presided over this vital session.

The Session, attended by esteemed members, honored guests, and religious representatives from around the world, marked a pivotal moment in the quest for interfaith cooperation and global peace.

During the session, participants engaged in in-depth discussions on the status and progress of interreligious dialogue and cooperation within the Congress.

The group emphasized the significance of the Declaration of the VII Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and acknowledged the pivotal role the Congress has played over the past 20 years in enhancing global interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue.

In a world facing geopolitical tensions and conflicts, the Congress was lauded as a relevant platform for fostering global interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue.

A Call for Global Peace and Harmony

In alignment with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s vision, participants supported the launch of a new global movement for peace – the Initiative on World Unity for a Just Peace and Harmony.

The leaders stressed the potential of spiritual diplomacy in initiating a global peace movement to address pressing global challenges.

Participants expressed a collective desire for a just, secure, and prosperous world, advocating for the promotion of interreligious and interfaith harmony.

They emphasized the fundamental importance of moral values in achieving spiritual and social well-being for humanity.

Concern Over the Middle East Situation

The Session also voiced deep concern over the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, leading to civilian casualties.

Participants committed to actively pursuing peace in the region and called on both sides and the international community to seek peaceful resolutions.

Condemnation of Desecration and Extremism

Religious leaders unanimously condemned the desecration of sacred texts and any actions that provoke tension and undermine trust between different cultures and religions.

Such actions, they emphasized, cannot be considered as expressions of freedom of speech. The Session participants also unequivocally rejected extremism, radicalism, terrorism, and any form of violence, regardless of motivations or goals.

A Forward-Looking 10-Year Development Concept

A significant outcome of the XXI Secretariat Session was the adoption of the 2023-2033 Development Concept for the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

This comprehensive document outlines the Congress’s promising directions for the next decade, strengthening its role in global interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Next Steps: Preparing for the Future

Following the Session, it was decided to convene the XXII Session of the Secretariat in the autumn of 2024 in Astana. A working group will also meet in 2024 to prepare for this next pivotal session.

In short, the participants expressed their gratitude to the Kazakh side for the exceptional organization of the XXI Secretariat Session of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

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