Forty Scout leaders from diverse parts of the world gathered in Vienna (Austria), from 20 to 24 February 2014 for an inter-religious dialogue event organised by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). Experts from both organizations shared knowledge and trained participants in inter-religious dialogue and its integration into Scout programmes. This workshop is the first result of the partnership between KAICIID and WOSM.
The Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Scott Teare reminded in his keynote address that “The Scout Movement is very diverse, has people from all faiths and beliefs”. He described how the Scout Movement “not only transforms lives, it also saves lives”, through programmes such as World Scouting’s flagship initiative “Messengers of Peace” which utilizes dialogue to create networks that “connect kids to kids. In that interaction, when they learn what is important in each other’s lives, borders disappear. Scouting is all about discovery and exploration. Taking Dialogue into action is what we do in Scouting every day and in every corner of the world.“
KAICIID Deputy Secretary General, Claudia Bandion-Ortner said: “For over a century, the Scout Movement has been instrumental in bringing young people from different cultures and religions together through shared activities and programmes. Through our cooperation, KAICIID and WOSM are working to strengthen the role of inter-religious dialogue in the Scout Movement.”
The participants had the opportunity to learn more about inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, to showcase related Scout projects and to discuss future actions and further cooperation. They engaged in deep discussions on Scouting principles, Duty to God and Spiritual and Religious Development. Besides training, the event was a good think tank for future work in the area of Scouting Development.
Some of the projects showcased were peace building and mediation initiatives by Scouts from the Great Lakes region in Africa (Amahoro Amani project), India and Pakistan (Integration camp), Israel (Circle of Existence), Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Castle Saunderson International Scout Centre) and Singapore (Peace Training project).
WOSM and KAICIID will continue to work together in this important area. Some action steps has been identified to support the work that is ongoing at national, regional and world level. One of the main actions will be the involvement of KAICIID in the Global Development Village (GDV) during the upcoming World Scout Events.
For more information about KAICIID, please visit their website. To know more about Scouts commitment in inter-religious dialogue, visit the World Scout Inter-religious Forum and World Scout Inter-religious Symposium pages.