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Canada promotes reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Canada’s promotion of reconciliation and religious freedom was well-received by the local audience in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Panelists engage in stimulating discussion on the need for interreligious dialogue for peacebuilding in the Balkans. From left to right: Prof. Ismet Bušatlić, Prof. Ahmet Alibašić, Prof. Enes Karić, Prof. Mato Zovkić, Ina Merdjanova, and Patrice Brodeur.

In his presentation, Canadian academic Patrice Brodeur called for recognition of the importance of dialogue, including interreligious and worldview dialogues.

Archpriest Darko Đogo (Dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Foča), Ina Merdjanova (Senior Researcher at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) and Patrice Brodeur discuss inter-religious dialogue for peacebuilding.

Canada has long been involved in supporting peace, prosperity and good governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Although significant progress has been made towards reconciliation, the country remains divided along ethnic and religious lines even two decades after the end of civil war.

As part of Canada’s commitment to religious freedom and tolerance, the Embassy of Canada to Hungary, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina partnered with local academic institutions to host a three-day forum on inter-ethnic reconciliation. The program featured Canadian scholar Patrice Brodeur, who discussed the theme of Inter-religious Dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans.

Dialogue for Peace

The theme “inter-religious dialogue for peacebuilding” refers to discussions between members of different ethnic or religious communities. Through constructive dialogue, these communities can address common problems, bridge inter-communal divides, and build relationships of mutual understanding and acceptance.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, deep social divides tend to be passed down from generation to generation through social norms, ethnic identities, and a segregated education system. Inter-religious dialogue for peacebuilding can help end the pattern of ethnic and religious grievances in Bosnia and Herzegovina by promoting tolerance and reconciliation between communities.

Inter-Religious Dialogue in the Balkans

The Embassy, with support from local academic institutions, delivered a comprehensive three-day program in Sarajevo and Foca. These cities are home to important institutions of major religious groups, including Islamic, Catholic and Orthodox churches. The program was full and provided an important opportunity to highlight the benefits of inter-religious dialogue and several policy recommendations for engagement with religious communities.

Ultimately, dialogue is a way of life,” explains Patrice Brodeur. Brodeur is the Research Chair on Islam, Pluralism, and Globalization at the University of Montreal, and Director of Research at the KAICIID Dialogue Centre in Vienna.

In a panel discussion at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at the University of Sarajevo, Patrice Brodeur presented his research in the field of inter-religious dialogue for peacebuilding. His presentation to the panel and the audience of students, academics and media representatives, called for recognition of the importance of dialogue, including inter-religious and worldview dialogues.

The forum’s schedule also included a visit to Foca, home to the Orthodox Theological Seminary, in the Repubilka Srpska. In Foca, Brodeur engaged with students and professors in an in-depth discussion about the benefits of inter-religious dialogue for peacebuilding in the region.

Embracing mutual respect and acceptance is an essential component of a peaceful society. Canada will continue to work in partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community to help build lasting ethnic and religious peace in the country.


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