Council of Europe Exchanges on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue
- The work undertaken by the Committee of Ministers on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue comes within the overall context of the action carried out by the Council of Europe in this field and of the relevant decisions at the Warsaw Summit (see also the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue).
- Several successive Committee of Ministers chairmanships have undertaken to further the promotion of intercultural dialogue and particularly its religious dimension. Reference should be made especially to the "Volga Forum" and the appeal issued to the Committee of Ministers in this context for establishing appropriate mechanisms for an open, transparent and regular dialogue between the Council of Europe and the main religious organisations in Europe, and to the debates held at the European Conference on "The religious dimension of intercultural dialogue" in April 2007 in San Marino, organised in the context of San Marino’s Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.
- In the light of this work the Committee of Ministers decided to organise in 2008, on an experimental basis, a first Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue. Based on a positive assessment, the Committee of Ministers continued to organise the Exchanges on an annual basis.
- The prime objective of the Committee of Ministers in organising the Exchanges is to promote and strengthen the fundamental Council of Europe values - respect for human rights and furtherance of democracy and rule of law - in order to foster mutual respect and awareness, tolerance and mutual understanding within European society.
- The purpose of the exercise is to associate with this goal the representatives of the religions traditionally present in Europe, the representatives of non-religious convictions and the other players in civil society. The Exchange is founded on the participants’ adherence and commitment to the fundamental values of the Council of Europe and on their willingness to enter into open and transparent dialogue (see also the document Proposal for "Council of Europe annual exchanges on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue").