World Conference for Dialogue Between Religions

Source: Macedonian daily newspaper Dnevnik 

Translated by UMD Staff

Angelina Jolie, Nelson Mandela, and Laura Bush coming to Ohrid

World-renowned opera diva Montserrat Caballé and Boris Trajanov will have a concert during the conference

Actress Angelina Jolie, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, and former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela are among the guests attending the World Conference for Dialogue between Religions to be held in Ohrid, Macedonia from October 26 to 29, 2007.  Pierre Cardin and Jordan’s Queen Rania will also attend the conference.

The idea of having these eminent participants at the conference originated with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Angelina Jolie is a UNICEF Ambassador, while Laura Bush and Nelson Mandela are UNESCO Honorary Ambassador for Literacy and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors respectively.

UNESCO financially and logistically supports the conference.  Participants will include representatives from the Orthodox and Catholic Church, as well as numerous Protestant factions, Sunni, Shia, Hindu, Buddhist, and Confucian representatives.  The Macedonian Ministry of Culture is preparing the event in cooperation with the Committee for Relations between Religious Communities.  The Ministry’s State Secretary Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska serves as National Coordinator for the Conference.

Lidija Topuzovska, Secretary of UNESCO’s national commission for Macedonia, says that the realization of the idea, put forth by Prime Minister Gruevski, is well under way.  The topic of the conference, she says, is one of great concern not just at home, but also within the context of UNESCO and the Council of Europe.  Among the several topics of discussion, the central one will focus on the contribution of faith and culture towards world peace and peaceful coexistence. The three sub-topics will include “No Real Peace Between People Without Peace Amongst Religions,” “Religion and Education,” and “Common Values.” 

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