A conference entitled ‘Ethical Approaches to Peaceful Coexistence’ held in Cardiff recently aimed to identify practical ways in which communities locally and globally can build on shared values.The conference was a collaboration between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), the Muslim Council of Wales (MCW) and the Saudi-based Knowledge Exchange Programme (KEP) and was attended by 150 academics and faith practitioners from all over the UK, Europe, and the Middle East.
Professor Saleem Kidwai, OBE, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, said: “society is very polarised at the moment, and all of us have a responsibility to try and bring it together, this is an example of faith groups and academic institutions working together for that aim”. He continued “Islam, in particular, is often accused of being responsible for violence, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and this conference had many Muslim scholars who are in a position to speak authoritatively about Islamic teachings”.
Dr Jeremy Smith is the Dean for the Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts at UWTSD. He said: “This was a very important conference for us as a university as it has grown out of our developing partnership with the Muslim Council of Wales and the Knowledge Exchange Partnership. It cements a strategic direction for the university as we develop the academic study of interfaith studies and peaceful coexistence, and we are very much looking forward to hosting more events of this nature in the future in partnership with both the Muslim Council of Wales and the Knowledge Exchange Partnership.”
Professor Saleem Kidwai said: “Wales is leading the way on many issues. The Future Generations Act is exemplary, and the Faith Communities Forum the Welsh Government holds is a model that other countries should look to adopt. It is absolutely perfect for Cardiff to host this conference as a country that is determined to be innovative and radical in creating a fairer society. Dr Smith said: “It was a great privilege to receive so many distinguished guests at the conference and to hear their research into interfaith studies and peaceful coexistence. It was also an excellent opportunity for our postgraduate students who are currently conducting their own research into this area to hear such eminent speakers present on this important topic.”
Two lecturers from UWTSD were amongst the panel of speakers at the event:
Prof Gary Bunt, University of Wales Trinity St David
Dr. Abdullah Al Lheedan, King Saud University
Ustadha Khola Hasan
Dr. Zeid Aldakkan, Ministry of Islamic Affairs KSA
Dr Angus Slater, University of Wales Trinity St David
Dr Waqar Azmi, Remembering Srebrenica
Rabbi Monique Mayer, Cardiff and Bristol Progressive communities
Ms. Catriona Robertson, Christian-Muslim Forum
Dr Yasser Babtain, King Abdulaziz University
Ms Ameira Bahadur-Kutkut, Cardiff Metropolitan University
The conference was followed by a cultural day exploring key sites in Cardiff, including the Welsh Assembly (Senedd) building and Cardiff Castle. The conference closed with a dinner in Cardiff, during which the Vice-Chancellor Professor Medwin Hughes was presented with an Achievement Award 2017 in recognition of the work done by the University to promote peace and order, zero tolerance towards hate crime, and support for the Muslim community.
The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has a long tradition of excellence in the teaching of Religious Studies, as well as a distinguished reputation in scholarship, research, and publication. While rooted in an area which is rich in religious heritage, our programmes encompass a variety of topics which provide insights into the religious diversity of the twenty-first century world.
For more information about the event please visit the website: https://peacefulcoexistenceconference.wordpress.com/