COMMUNIQUE BASED ON THE OUTCOMES OF THE XXI SECRETARIAT OF THE
CONGRESS OF THE LEADERS OF WORLD AND TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS
On October 11, 2023, the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, hosted the XXI Session of the Secretariat of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Maulen Ashimbayev, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, chaired the Session.
The Secretariat members and honored guests took part in the Session.
Members of the Secretariat:
Representatives of Islam:
Dr. Abdulrahman Abdullah Al-Zaid, Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Word League.
Nazir Mohamed Mohamed Elnazir Ayadad, Secretary General of Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy.
Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh, Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Board.
Nauryzbai kazhy Taganuly, Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan, Supreme Mufti.
Mohammed Abdulwahed Alarifi Advisor at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Mohamed Alshahhat Abdulhamid Mohamed Algindi, Rector of the Egyptian University of Islamic Culture Nur-Mubarak.
Muhammad Zia Ul-Haq, Director General at Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad.
Dr. Ali Akbar Ziaei, Head of the Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Neşet Bodur, Counsellor on Religious Issues at the Embassy of the Republic of Türkiye in Astana.
Representatives of Christianity:
Gennadiy, Bishop of Kaskelen, Manager of Affairs of Russian Orthodox Church in Kazakhstan.
Deacon Elijah Kashitsyn, Secretary for Interfaith Relations of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Tomash Bernard Peta, Archbishop-Metropolitan of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana.
Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, Bureau Chief for Islam of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican city.
Yuri Novgorodov Representative of the Lutheran World Federation, Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Bishop Jo Bailey Wells, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
Representatives of Judaism:
Rabbi Yeshayahu Elazar Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Kazakhstan.
Rabbi Joel Adler, Representative of the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi.
Representatives of Buddhism:
Pu Zheng, Deputy Secretary General of the Buddhist Association of China.
Khunkhur Byambajav, Da Lama of the Gandan Tegchenling Monastery – the Centre of Mongolian Buddhists and Secretary General of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace.
Monk Jookyung, Chairman of the Central Council of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
Montian Tananart, Secretary General of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
Representative of Hinduism:
Mr. Samir Shantilal Somaiya, Chancellor of the Somaya Vidyavihar University.
Representative of Taoism:
Master Li Xinjun, Chief administrator of Beijing Baiyunguan Monastery of the Chinese Taoist Association.
Representative of Shintoism:
Shinsaku Mitsui, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Jinja Honcho Association of Shinto Shrines.
Representative of Baha'i:
Lyazzat Yangaliyeva, the Director of the Office of Public Information for the Baha'i Community in Astana.
Representatives of international organizations:
Anna Pavlyuchenko, Advisor to the High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
Judge Mohammed Abdelsalam, General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Elders.
Representatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
Kairat Umarov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Kanat Iskakov, Vice-Minister of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Bulat Sarsenbayev, Chairman of the Board of the N.Nazarbayev Center for Development of Interfaith and Inter-Civilization Dialogue and Commissioner for Promoting the Goals and Objectives of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions
Aida Balayeva, Minister of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Afra Mohamed Alsaabri, Director General of the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence of the United Arab Emirates.
Zamir Haji Rakiev, Supreme Mufti of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Hamid Ishmatbekov, First Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan.
Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Alkhalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence.
Rabbi Mark Schneier, President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
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The participants of the XXI Session of the Secretariat of the Congress discussed the status and momentum of interreligious dialogue, as well as a wide range of issues of interreligious cooperation within the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
The participants held a fruitful and constructive exchange on the promotion and follow-up of the Declaration of the VII Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
The participants of the Session noted the successful 20 years of activity and the important formative role of the Congress in strengthening and developing global interfaith and intercivilizational dialogue.
It was also noted that in the face of growing geopolitical tensions, eroding world order and growing conflicts, the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is particularly relevant as a platform for global interfaith and intercivilizational dialogue.
The participants of the Secretariat supported the idea of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to launch a new global movement for peace to build a robust system of international security and address acute challenges and issues facing many countries of the world. A significant step in implementing this idea was the Initiative on World Unity for a Just Peace and Harmony, put forward by Kazakhstan as Chairman of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Religious figures stressed the importance of using the potential of spiritual diplomacy to start a global peace movement and help address pressing global challenges.
The participants of the Session expressed a common desire for a just, secure and prosperous world, and active promotion of the principles of interreligious and interfaith harmony. The participants also emphasized the fundamental importance of moral values and guidelines for spiritual and social well-being of humanity.
The participants at the XXI Session of the Secretariat expressed deep concern over the serious aggravation of the situation in the Middle East, which has resulted in numerous civilian casualties. They committed themselves to pursue peace in the region and called on both sides and the international community to settle the situation peacefully.
The religious figures unanimously condemned the desecration of books considered sacred and any provocative actions escalating tension, undermining trust between peoples and religions. It was emphasized that such behavior cannot be considered as a manifestation of freedom of speech.
The participants also stressed that extremism, radicalism, terrorism and other forms of violence, regardless of their motivations and goals, should be resolutely rejected.
One of the main outcomes of the XXI Session of the Secretariat was the adoption of the 2023-2033 Development Concept of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
The Concept defines the promising directions of the Congress' activities, outlines its role in contemporary international efforts towards secure, stable, tolerant and prosperous world. The implementation of the Concept will both strengthen the Congress as a platform for global interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and ensure a wider use of the potential of spiritual diplomacy.
Following the Session, the participants decided to hold the next XXII Session of the Secretariat of the Congress in autumn 2024 in Astana. It was decided to hold the next session of the Working Group of the Secretariat in 2024 to properly prepare for the XXII Session of the Secretariat of the Congress.
In conclusion, the Session participants expressed gratitude to the Kazakh side for the excellent organization of the XXI Session of the Secretariat of the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, October 11, 2023.