Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.


The event, from 25-27 January at the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, is being organised in collaboration with the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations.

In a statement, the Dicastery for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue noted the multiple goals of the three-day conference.

"The event, on the one hand, aims to listen to interreligious initiatives from different contexts and, on the other, to develop a global network of religious traditions and spiritualities which, through the promotion of a 'culture of encounter' as well as of their own dignity and equality, can work together in solidarity for a growing re-humanisation of society through friendship, dialogue and cooperation.”

The World Council of Churches (WCC) was represented by Carla Khijoyan, WCC program executive for Peace Building in the Middle East. She spoke about narratives of building a culture of encounter.

In the Middle East, different cultural, ethnic, and religious groups have lived together for thousands of years without the need of any kind of interreligious encounter' since they shared a dialogue of life,” she said. Confrontation happens in a diverse group when some feel threatened by the others and the sentiment of fear defines the relationship.”

Carla Khijoyan

Carla Khijoyan, WCC program executive for Peace Building in the Middle East, speaking at a Vatican conference on the importance of women building a culture of interreligious encounter.


Khijoyan went on to reflect that fear is not the result of our diversity but the result of variables in a dynamic of power.

Solidarity is a hand-in-hand encounter on the journey of justice and peace,” she said. Restoration is a journey and not an outcome.”

In order to root peace building in sustainable efforts, Khijoyan added, we are to focus on journeys and processes.

Women and men are equally actors and owners of the dynamics within our societies,” she said. Women are not variablesin this equation but constants.’ ”