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Welcome to the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Welcome to the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, on 1 october 2016.

01 October 2016

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches
1 October, 2016

Read this text in Arabic.

Your Eminence Professor Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam and Sheikh Al Azhar, as well as Your illustrious companions who are members of the Council of Muslim Elders.

It is with great pleasure that I welcome to the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.

The World Council of Churches, the major international Christian body which brings together and represents about 350 churches, particularly from the Orthodox and Protestant traditions, is very pleased to be able to meet with this similarly international delegation of significant Muslim leaders. We are glad to be able to welcome all of you to our home at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.

During the weekend of 30 September to 2 October the Bossey Ecumenical Institute hosts a series of events to celebrate seventy years of ecumenical formation.

The lecture this afternoon is being delivered by His Excellency Professor Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam and Sheikh Al Azhar. We are honoured that he has agreed to do so.

Al Azhar, located in Cairo, Egypt, is an historic and revered centre of learning in the Muslim world, and Professor al-Tayyeb as its head is therefore considered to be one of the leading figures in Sunni Islam. Professor al-Tayyeb has held his current role since 2010, and was previously head of Al Azhar University.As part of his work and initiative to promote moderate Islam internationally Professor al-Tayyeb was instrumental in establishing the Muslim Council of Elders, a group of leading and senior Muslims from a number of countries. The Muslim Council of Elders seeks to engage in dialogue with significant representatives of other religions. For example they are developing relationships with Pope Francis. Over the last two days there has been a fruitful meeting for dialogue held at the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, between a delegation from the World Council of Churches and a delegation from the Muslim Council of Elders.

An historic meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Muslim Council of Elders, led by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, His Eminence Prof. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, took place at the WCC headquarters in Geneva on 30 September and 1 October 2016.

There were two sessions of talks on key aspects of interreligious dialogue, combatting religious extremism and peacebuilding. The meeting also featured a public lecture by the Grand Imam on the role of religious leaders in peacemaking. This lecture took place at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Institute.

The overriding concern of the meeting was peace, and particularly the role of religions, religious leaders, and faith-based organizations in creating a culture of peace and practices of peacemaking. As children of Abraham, we agree that humanity was created to share the gifts of love and compassion, peace and mercy, and honesty and sincerity.

We are honoured to introduce His Excellency Professor Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam and Sheikh Al Azhar.