The Certificate in Advanced Studies in Interreligious Studies has been offered at Bossey since 2005. This year, the course is taking place from 25 July to 11 August.
Rev. Dr Kuzipa Nalwamba, WCC programme director for Unity, Mission, and Ecumenical Formation said the Certificate in Advanced Studies sits strategically in the overall vision of the WCC, and its significance derives from the significance of interreligious solidarity. “It creates opportunity to reflect together and to live together, in order to cultivate trust,” she said. “The Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity takes place against the backdrop of many sins of profound injustice, such as casteism, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, colonialism, economic exploitation, and the corruption of our relationships with creation.”
Nalwamba added that the WCC's Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation. and Unity finds expression among Christians in a fragmented world, in lived solidarity with all people of goodwill, especially people of faith. “I take this opportunity to wish you well in your studies,” she said to the students. “The world is the richer for having your commitment to this vision.”
Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, academic dean at the Ecumenical Institute, said Bossey is a place where people come together, where they engage in dialogue, and where they get to interact with one another and their faith traditions. “On this first day, I could feel and sense the openness, curiosity, and expectation in the room,” she said. “You applied for this course because you have some expectations for it. However, I believe it is not just because of the degree but more of to know each other and getting to know other faiths.”
Sinn shared more about the institute, mentioning that it was founded in 1946. “In essence, Bossey is a place where we can build trust because any foundation of knowledge is based on trust,” she said. “I hope you enjoy this holistic approach to interreligious dialogue and relations we have.”
Welcome from religious partners
Rabbi Eric Ackermann, Fondation Racines et Sources (local Jewish partner) said: “It is a pleasure to be with you today. My sincere appreciation goes out to all the course organizers. For me, the question of health and living together is fundamental to me today.”
He noted a current time on the Jewish calendar—a time when catastrophic events happened. “On the historical record, this is the period when disasters occurred,” he said. “It is very important to know that we do not look for sadness or disasters to find God, since we can experience God in joy and we can see this applies to everyone, whether Christians, Jews, or Muslims.”
Sheikh Hafid Ouadiri, Fondation de l’Entre-connaissance, Geneva (local Muslim partner), noted that the day was a happy one. “As students arrive from around the world, they stare at each other, but if we want to be together, we have to know what words we need to use,” he said. “Bossey gives everyone the chance to get to know one another from their basic knowledge of each other's faith.”
Bossey also allows everyone to grow spiritually and reach God, noted Ouadiri. “The theme of this year really ties into that,” he said.
Laura Casorio, executive secretary at Fondation pour l’aide au protestantisme réformé (FAP), also mentioned the challenges of today’s world. “By working together across denominational lines, we can pull our strengths and resources to address these challenges more effectively,” she said. “Our collaborative efforts have proven that unity among us not only strengthens our individual communities but also enables us to tackle global issues with a stronger voice and a more impactful presence.”
Fondation pour l’aide au protestantisme réformé (FAP) firmly believes in the importance of ecumenical dialogue and cooperation among Christian denominations, added Casorio. “Through our support and collaborative initiatives, we strive to promote unity and address the challenges of our world today,” she said. “Together, we can make a difference and create a more inclusive, just, and compassionate society.”