More than a month ago, the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions was held in Astana. The forum proved that Kazakhstan’s unique experience in strengthening interreligious and interreligious dialogue is vital to creating a truly global world.
The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions was held during a unique period for Kazakhstan, when President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced large-scale democratic reforms, a full restart of key state institutions and announced early presidential elections at the end of November – as a result of the transformation of the political system and the successful implementation of the comprehensive reforms needed to build a fair and just Kazakhstan.
I believe that among the major political transformations of recent years and the main achievements of President Tokayev as a reformer are his new economic policy, the improvement of the efficiency of the health and education systems, political modernization and the protection of human rights, emphasis on decentralization of the public administration system, which will bring solutions to urgent problems closer to regions and citizens. President Tokayev has the necessary mandate of public trust, which is likely to be confirmed in the upcoming presidential elections on November 20 this year.
The January tragedy has become a severe test for all citizens of Kazakhstan. At the same time, the conclusions of the state after these events gave impetus to a new course of reforms and renewal – a new stage in the development of the country and the most important spheres of life – social, economic and Politics. The course led by the President shows that a solution to the problems around an effective increase in the standard of living of the population and economic development are at the forefront of the agenda.
The initiatives continue the main reforms within the framework of a new Kazakhstan and mark a new stage in the development of the country. As the President pointed out in his address, “peace and stability have always been placed above all for the people of Kazakhstan. In this difficult time, we must become even stronger in our unity. »
Kazakhstan commemorated another important date for the country this year: Republic Day. It is the most important date for the country because our statehood begins with it – it was on this day in 1990 that the Declaration on the Sovereignty of the State of Kazakhstan was adopted – the first step towards independence.
Since the first days of its independence, Kazakhstan has been a follower of a peaceful and constructive foreign policy, an initiator of platforms for negotiations on the settlement of the Syrian issue, the Iranian energy program and a supporter of the renunciation of nuclear weapons. .
Kazakhstan continues to attract the attention of the entire global community with a plethora of high profile gatherings this year. The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, CICA Summit, Council of Heads of CIS Member States, Central Asia-Russia Summit, Bilateral Heads of State Meetings – Astana once again proves that it has earned the title of a unique platform for dialogue on the most important key issues of the region, which plays an important role in forming the country’s international image.
The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions plays a vital role in shaping the country’s international image. During its nearly 20-year history, it has made a significant contribution to the global process of interreligious and interreligious dialogue.
The first Congress took place after the events of September 11, 2001, when the whole world began to divide and the level of radicalization in society increased sharply. The idea came to organize an event of such magnitude with the participation of spiritual leaders.
The congress and high-level guests, including the head of the Vatican, Pope Francis, Supreme Imam of Al-Azhar Islamic University Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, chairman of the department of Caucasus Muslims Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, Secretary General of the World Islamic League of Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem, Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Joseph, Director of the Akshardam Center for Applied Research in the Field of Social Harmony Jayotindra Mukundrai Dave, Vice President of the Association Zong Xing Buddhists from China, as well as other delegations from religious and international organizations from the United States, Europe and Asia. Once again, this underlined the authority of Kazakhstan within the international community, as well as the great trust and support accorded to the President and the people of Kazakhstan.
Over 100 foreign delegates from 50 countries, including representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism, Buddhism, Baha’i and Jainism attended the event .
President Tokayev noted at the opening of the Congress that the people of Kazakhstan have absorbed the traditions of different civilizations and religions, the spirit of tolerance and openness. Therefore, the principle of “unity in diversity” that he expressed has become fundamental for Kazakhstan.
“Currently, representatives of more than 100 ethnic groups live in harmony in Kazakhstan, and about 4,000 religious associations representing 18 faiths operate freely. We believe this is an invaluable wealth and an inherent advantage of Kazakhstan. The Congress is an important element of Kazakhstan’s policy aimed at strengthening dialogue and cooperation in our country and in the world. Declarations adopted in all previous forums have consistently condemned radicalism, violence and conflict, whatever ideas they hide. In today’s complex realities, it is vital that religious leaders, seated at the same table, show the world an example of goodwill overcoming all differences. This, in my opinion, is the main mission and characteristic of the congress,” Tokayev said.
Spiritual leaders, politicians, statesmen and international and Kazakh experts discussed the role of religions in strengthening spiritual and moral values, the importance of education and religious enlightenment in coexistence respectful of religions and cultures, the strengthening of peace and harmony, the contribution of religious leaders and politicians to the promotion of global interreligious dialogue and peace, to the issues of combating extremism, radicalism and terrorism, women’s contribution to the well-being and sustainable development of modern society, and the role of religious communities in supporting society’s status of women.
Pope Francis, in his address to the Congress, highly appreciated Kazakhstan’s efforts to support interreligious dialogue. “I would like here to thank Kazakhstan for its efforts in this field: always trying to unite, always trying to provoke dialogue, always trying to make friends. This is an example that Kazakhstan gives to all of us, and we must follow it and support it. We will not fight for a feigned complacent syncretism, it is not necessary, but we will preserve our identity, always ready to accept the other, for a fraternal encounter”, declared the head of Catholic Church.
In his video message, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on religious leaders to promote non-violence within their communities and to reject xenophobia, racism and all forms of violation of tolerance.
“We can meet the challenges of our time and build a better world for all by coming together as one human family, sharing the burden, solving the problems and using the opportunities,” said the UN Secretary General. .
The event received positive responses from international experts and political observers and generated considerable interest among local and global media representatives – BBC, TASS, Associated Press, Reuters, France Press, Euronews and other sources media. In total, more than 500 journalists from 33 countries participated in the event.
Following the results of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a Declaration was adopted.
The document signed by the participants of the congress – spiritual leaders of the world and traditional religions, politicians and heads of international organizations, reflects the vision of current problems of our time, possible ways to solve them, as well as the intentions of the leaders. religions of the world and their attraction for the international community, which are the basic principles of the continuity of the peaceful policy of Kazakhstan.
Participants also expressed their support for Kazakhstan’s humanitarian initiatives.
“We confirm Kazakhstan’s role as an authoritative global center for inter-civilizational, interfaith and interreligious dialogue,” the statement read.
It is important to promote the ideas of the congress globally, to attract foreign politicians, experts and journalists to the dialogue and to call on the leaders of the world and traditional religions and prominent political figures to achieve to long-term stability. The final document of the congress reflects the international initiatives of Kazakhstan, which since the first years of its independence has constantly strengthened its position on the international scene as a peace-loving and open state, a reliable partner in world and regional affairs.
The main objectives of the congress and its declaration are known today on all continents and read in all major languages.
The author is Bulat Sarsenbayev, Commissioner for Promoting the Goals and Objectives of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, Chairman of the Board of the Nazarbayev Center for the Development of Interreligious and Intercivilizational Dialogue.