The International Dialogue Centre – KAICIID opened its inaugural Global Dialogue Forum last week in Lisbon, Portugal. The event (May 14-16) explored the transformative power of dialogue in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Forum welcomed 150 high-level religious leaders, like the Former Prime Minister of Italy, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, and the Imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, current and former heads of state, officials from the United Nations and European Union along with civil and non-profit leaders from around the world. Among the guests was Yudhistir Govinda Das, ISKCON Communications Director for India, who was also one of the key speakers at the gathering.

Dr. Zuhair Alharthi, the Secretary General of KAICIID, who opened the event on Wednesday, emphasized how vital these kinds of dialogues are in a global atmosphere of “growing distrust.” Yudhisthir Govinda Das echoed the sentiment, saying, “The world is going through major social, cultural, and geo-political transformations. It is essential for faith communities to work closely with policymakers in building a spiritual and value-based society. ISKCON, being a significant institution in this area, has a lot to contribute, and therefore, it must be a part of such forums.” Speeches were also delivered by several well-known public figures, such as Francois Hollande (Former President of France) and Graca Machel (the widow of Nelson Mandela and former First Lady of South Africa).

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