On 18 September 2014 the Astana Palace of Peace and Consents conducted a regular opening of the XIII session of the Congress Secretariat chaired by Mr. K. Tokayev, Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of World and Traditional Religions and Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Setting the stage for this Forum K.Tokayev emphasized that the Secretariat session and preparation for the V Congress ran at the time of exacerbation of the international situation. Not only political, but also sectarian and inter-religious conflicts have arisen. Referring to goals of this confessional forum Head of the Secretariat said that the task of the upcoming Congress is a frank and effective discussion of issues of the mankind. Therefore, the Congress invites to discuss issues of dialogue between religious leaders and politicians.
According to Head of the Secretariat of the Congress creating a sustainable world will require promoting religious tolerance and mutual respect and attracting opposing forces to negotiation to establish a dialogue and assist them with finding compromise.
Based on forum outcomes representatives of the confession leaders will approve the Protocol of XIII Session of the Secretariat of the Congress of World and Traditional Religions and define the subject of the upcoming V Congress and its sectional sessions as well as the date and venue of the V Congress and the XIV Secretariat Session.
Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev had a number of bilateral meetings with representatives of the Confession Leaders.
In the course of a meeting with Advisor to Grand Imam, Sheikh “Al-Azhar” Abdel Rahman Muhammad Musa Head of the Secretariat expressed his appreciation to the leadership of the University Al-Azhar for the qualified education of Kazakh students, far from distortion and radicalism, in this major center of Islamic thought.
While discussing the improvement of the Confession Forum activity with Roman Bogdasarov, Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, K.Tokayev underlined an essential contribution of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to achieving goals of the Religious Summit. A clear indication to that is personal participation of His Holiness in the Congress work and entrance into the Council of Religious Leaders. K.Tokayev said that he plans to convey to His Holiness an invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to participate in the V Congress during his visit to Moscow in October this year.
In a meeting with Monsignor Khaled Akasha, Secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, K.Tokayev emphasized an invaluable contribution of the Holy See to promoting the Confessional Forum and expressed hope for participation of His Holiness, Pope Francis, in a jubilee V Congress scheduled for 2015.
Meeting with Tariq al-Ansari, Ambassador and Head of the Office of UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations K.Tokayev highly valued the work of the Alliance on keeping peace and solidarity and developing a dialogue between civilizations and confessions. They also addressed potential for opening of Center for Alliance of Civilizations in Kazakhstan under the International Center of Cultures and Confessions that would become an additional mechanism for further development of the bilateral cooperation.
Speaking with Bishop Emmanuel Adamakis, K.Tokayev outlined Kazakhstan’s approaches to the Congress organization to make the Forum an effective platform for dialogue between religious leaders and politicians in the name of peace. According to Bishop Adamakis additional efforts are needed to promote the Congress in the international community.