'All Different - All Equal' Forum calls in Turkey

The forum was jointly organized by the Council of Europe and the Directorate General of Youth and Sports of Turkey in cooperation with the Islamic Conference Youth Forum.

'All Different - All Equal' Forum calls in Turkey

'We need dialogue and tolerance in the world. This can bemade possible by integration through participation, and Turkey can play asignificant role in fostering a new global culture of equality and diversity,'reads a keynote speech from an intercultural and inter-religious symposium

A four-day symposium bringing together over 200 youngleaders and youth workers to discuss what can be done to establishinter-religious and intercultural dialogue started in Ýstanbul yesterday at theGrand Cevahir Hotel.

The forum was jointly organized by the Council of Europe and the DirectorateGeneral of Youth and Sports of Turkey in cooperation with the IslamicConference Youth Forum. The symposium is part of the European Council campaign"All Different-All Equal," run by young people in 49 countries, 46 ofwhich are members of the Council of Europe. The campaign, launched in June2006, is based on the three pillars of diversity, participation and humanrights and aims to promote the message that all people everywhere have theright to preserve their identity and be treated justly.

Turkey's Minister of Sports and Youth Mehmet Ali Þahin, in his openingspeech, emphasized that unless tolerance for members of other religions andcultures was not established, the future would not be bright. Þahin said calls forintercultural and inter-religious dialogue had a clear target: "To showthe will to live together in peace with our differences."

The Council of Europe's Director of Youth and Sport Ralf-Rene Weingartnerhighlighted the importance of dialogue between cultures and religions to fightIslamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, which he said were threats againstsociety. Intercultural and inter-religious dialogue has to be made anintegrated part of daily life, Weingartner said, emphasizing that young peoplehad a key role to play in achieving this. Speaking to the press afterdelivering his keynote speech, Weingartner expressed his belief that"young people are the future."

Youth and Sport General Director Mehmet Atalay said: "If the AllDifferent-All Equal concept can be extended to cover every field of life, wecan turn the world into a livable and peaceful place." He added that thesymposium was like the Olympics of peace and dialogue. Meanwhile, EuropeanYouth Forum President Bettina Schwarzmayr said her organization was working tocreate a world in which nobody would be afraid to reveal their identity.Schwarzmayr also criticized anti-terrorism policies for restricting the scopeof human rights. She stated that young people in particular had to strip themselvesof their prejudices and called on young people to question their prejudicesabout other races or religions, which she said would be the only way to reachintercultural dialogue.

Another speaker at the conference, Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijani minister foryouth and sport, speaking to journalists, also highlighted the need fordialogue. "We need people to speak with each other." Ali Sarýkaya,president of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Youth Forum saidthe final statement of the conference, which will be released by the symposiumwhen it ends on Saturday, would be known as the "Declaration ofÝstanbul" and would be a key document setting the touchstones of ademocratic world without discrimination, similar to the European Union's Maastrichtor Copenhagen criteria. Ýbrahim Kalýn, a professor of Islamic studies whodelivered a keynote speech, highlighted problems caused by Euro-centrism,saying it went beyond hurting non-Western individuals or Muslims in Europe butalso reached Western populations. "Much of the current sentiment ofdispossession is a result of this," Kalýn said, stressing that the futurewould be shaped by "whether we recognize this fact."

Kalýn expressed the importance of finding a way to reconcile differences bypreserving one's own identity and said creating an absolute "self"and an absolute "other" was the major obstacle standing in the way.Kalýn said integration models relying on assimilation were a "thing of thepast" and that "integration through participation" would fostera new culture of equality and diversity in which some countries of Europe,particularly Turkey, would play a significant role. The conference will featuremany more speeches as well as working groups on common issues, challenges andexpectations and will end on Saturday with the presentation of the ÝstanbulYouth Declaration, which will then be conveyed to governments of the countriesof the Council of Europe, OIC and other participating nations.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16