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ISKCON Member Selected as KAICIID International Fellow

By: for ISKCON News on Nov. 13, 2018
Activism

Yudhisthir Govinda Das at an international round table discussion.

ISKCON Member Selected as KAICIID International Fellow

ISKCON India’s Director of Communications, Yudhistir Govinda Das, was earlier this month chosen by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) as one of its twenty International Fellows for the year 2019.

KAICIID, based in Austria’s capital city Vienna, is an inter-governmental organization jointly founded in 2012 by the Republic of Austria, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Holy See (Vatican) following the initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to promote inter-religious dialogue with the aim of preventing and resolving conflicts.

Governed by a Board of Directors comprising of leading religious leaders who include Bishop Miguel Ayuso (Vatican’s Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue), H.E Metropolitan Emmanuel (Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Chief Rabbi David Rosen (Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland & Director of Inter Religious Affairs for American Jewish Committee) and Reverend Mark Poulson (Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury), the organization’s activities and programs are spread across the world, noticeably in Africa, Europe, Middle-East, South-East Asia and at the United Nations.

The participants for the International Fellows Programme were chosen after a rigorous process that involved in-depth assessment and interviews of applicants from around the world.

“Over a period of twelve months, the Fellows would participate in a series of in-person and online trainings, along with field visits and discussions on the theme of interreligious dialogue, coexistence and pluralism. This integrated learning process is designed provide the Fellows with the necessary tools to facilitate and develop such training within their respective institutions” read the invitation letter from KAICIID. At the end of their training, the Fellows will have the opportunity to develop and implement small-scale local and international inter-religious dialogue projects. They would also be added to the KAICIID Alumni providing them further opportunities for networking, micro-grants and invitations to conferences.

“Though, I have been participating in inter-faith dialogues for a long time, it is the first time I have opportunity to study this subject in-depth. I am grateful to KAICIID for this opportunity.” said Yudhistir Govinda Das.

ISKCON, since its inception in 1966, has pro-actively engaged with religious groups and leaders to promote a mood of respect and cooperation among the faiths. Over the years, this has resulted in several successful programs like the annual Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue and the Vaishnava-Muslim Dialogue. ISKCON members have also participated in founding/advising inter-religious forums such as the United Religious Initiative, Religious Freedom Institute.

“In the conflicting times that we live in, the message of dialogue and mutual respect is even more essential. ISKCON has a long and rich history of pioneering and participating in inter-religious dialogue not just in India or USA but around the world. I hope this Fellows programme will help deepen that appreciation and understanding for IRD within ISKCON and the larger Hindu community.” added Yudhistir.

KAICIID International Fellows Programme, which begins in January 2019 in Vienna, has over the years drawn many distinguished individuals including the likes of Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, a Harvard alumni presently serving as a Visiting Professor and Sikh Chaplin of NYU, and Alissa Wahid, the National Director of Gusdurian Network Indonesia (GNI), named after her late father and former President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid. 

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