Prof. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb (left) and Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit (right). © Marianne Ejdersten/WCC

Prof. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb (left) and Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit (right). © Marianne Ejdersten/WCC

The Grand Imam of Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar mosque and university, Prof. Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, will visit the World Council of Churches (WCC) to give a public lecture and participate in high-level dialogue on interreligious peacemaking.

“We are honoured to welcome one of the world’s highest-ranking and most influential Muslim leaders to Geneva, and I very much look forward to his lecture and to sharing views with him on the many challenges that we as religious persons and leaders face together,” says WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

Tveit added, “We know also that Professor al-Tayyeb is committed to reinforcing the importance of the role of religious leaders as people who are committed to working for peace in our world. This will be the main focus of our discussions over the next two days.”  Tveit added, “We are glad to welcome Professor al-Tayyeb and his companions to travel with us on the way that leads to just peace.“

Tveit underlined, “We appreciate very much his affirmation of the important relations between Muslims and Christians, in his own country Egypt, in the Middle East region and worldwide.“

Al-Tayyeb was chosen as Grand Imam of the Al Azhar mosque in Cairo 2010 and is an outspoken advocate for religious dialogue and peace as well as a strong critic of religious extremism. In early 2016, he made international news when he made an historic visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis and also to Paris, France, six months after terrorist attacks there.

On Saturday 1 October at 4 p.m. CET, the Grand Imam will speak at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute on "The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace". The speech, in Arabic, will have simultaneous translation into French and English.

An expert in Islamic philosophy and law, al-Tayyeb espouses comprehensive reforms of religious education and is a frequent guest and influential speaker at consultations throughout the world on Islamic identity, combating terrorism, and dialogue for peace.

His visit will also include consultations with the leadership of the WCC’s Central Committee, including moderator Dr Agnes Abuom; vice-moderator Bishop Mary Ann Swenson; Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator; and general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as well as the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation Rev. Dr Martin Junge.

The visit of the Grand Imam coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Ecumenical Institute at Château de Bossey, where thousands of women and men from all over the world have completed academic studies, seminars and conferences since its inauguration in 1946.

Accredited press are welcome to attend.

On Saturday 1 October at 4 p.m. CET, the Grand Imam will speak on "The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace" at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. A recording of the lecture will be made available via the WCC YouTube channel by 2 October.

For information, please contact Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication, via email: or telephone: +41.79.507.6363.

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Read also:

Words of welcome to His Eminence Professor Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam and Sheikh Al Azhar (29 September 2016)

Information on the Ecumenical Institute anniversary programme

WCC work on Strengthening inter-religious trust and respect