The Director General of IRCICA Ambassador Prof. Dr. Mahmud Erol Kılıç was invited to address the International Online Conference on “The Role of Religious Leaders in Achieving Sustainable Development of the World” which was organized on 18 May 2022 by the Nursultan Nazarbayev Center for Development of Inter-faith and Inter-Civilizational Dialogue, Nur-Sultan City, Kazakhstan. Religious and cultural authorities from different countries and organizations addressed the conference. It was opened and moderated by Ambassador Bulat Sergazievich Sarsenbayev, Chairman of the Board of the Nursultan Nazarbayev Center. The opening address was delivered by the Vice Minister of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Serik Rakhmetollayevich Egizbayev, who underlined, in his speech, the increased new role religious authorities are expected to play for promoting mutual understanding between peoples to stabilize their relations. Addresses were given by: Dr. Nazir Ayad, Secretary General of Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy; Monsignor Khaled Akashe, Head of the Bureau of Islamic Affairs of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican; Ambassador Prof. Dr. Mahmud Erol Kılıç, Director General, IRCICA; Dr. Majed Al-Turki, Director of the Russian-Arab Center for Research and Information, Riyadh; Dr. Zahra Rashid Beigi, Chair of the International Center for Interreligious Dialogue of the Organization for Culture and Islamic Relations, Iran; Dr. Rudraksha Sakrikar, Assoc. Prof. of Sanskrit at the Dharma Institute, Vidyavihar, India; Archbishop Yuri Novgorodov, Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kazakhstan; Yeshaya Cohen, Chief Rabbi of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Archpriest Evgeny Korolkov, Kazakhstan; Nurlan Kayirbekov, Head of the Department of Religious Expertise of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Kazakhstan; Monsignor Dr. Peter Pytlovany, Press Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan and Central Asia (BCKCA); Toleu Temirlan, Leading Manager, Kazakhstan Institute of Social Development “Rukhani zhangyru”, Kazakhstan.
In his address, IRCICA Director General Prof. Dr. Mahmud Erol Kılıç pointed out that the world’s peoples have become increasingly interdependent for their survival and sustainability in the face of the multiple global problems faced in all spheres; in this situation, constructive management of inter-faith and intercultural relations can contribute invaluably towards reinforcing trust, harmony and cooperation between peoples of the world. Prof. Kılıç evoked the goals adopted by international organizations, including the UN and the OIC, to attain the conditions conducive to sustainable development, among them the reinforcement of inter-faith and inter-civilizational dialogue; the Director General outlined IRCICA’s international cooperation and cultural activities aiming to contribute to this dialogue.
The various speakers underlined the roles incumbent upon religious leaders in reinforcing inter-faith and inter-cultural tolerance and harmony which are necessary conditions for sustainable development in the world. They alluded to the salient aspects of the theme with references to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and made recommendations, which will be taken into consideration by the Nursultan Nazarbayev Center in the preparations for the Seventh Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions to be held on 14-15 September 2022 in Nur-Sultan City, Kazakhstan.