King Abdullah Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue Center Opened
The King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was opened this evening in Vienna. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal; Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of European and International Affairs Dr. Michael Spindelegger; Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dr. José Manuel Garcia-Margallo; and members of the KAICIID Board of Directors participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event was attended by nearly 800 guests, including U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew; and other religious, civic and political leaders from around the world.
Afterwards, an inaugural meeting was convened at the Center’s new headquarters. In addition, a workshop was held on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony with the participation of 20 international institutes, centers and organizations. The workshop’s stated aim is to build communication networks among organizations interested in developing mechanisms for interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
In a statement following the meeting, Prince Saud stated, “It is hoped and desired for the center to be a catalyst for enlightened dialogue which tackles issues of interest to every human community – issues over which costly wars have been fought, bloody conflicts have broken out and crimes have been committed, not to mention, extremism, violence and terror in all its forms and manifestations,” He continued, “It is our hope that the function of this center would not only be confined to ending conflicts and reinforcing understanding between religions and cultures, but would also involve restoration of commitment to moral values and principles.”
Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain signed an agreement for the establishment of the KAICIID in October 2011, in implementation of the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz for dialogue between civilizations. The Center aims to spread the values of tolerance, cordiality, peace, security and coexistence among the peoples of the world. Members of the Board of Directors are comprised of high-level representatives of five major world religions – Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
In a statement, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom James Smith congratulated King Abdullah on the opening of the KAICIID. He predicted that the Center will play an important role in spreading tolerance and resolving differences at the global level.