Some of the participants with the speakers at the end of the conference.

By Victor Gotevbe,

On Friday, November 23, 2018, New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, in partnership with the West Africa Regional Office of United Religions Initiative (URI West Africa), hosted the 8th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue with the theme: “The Role of Religions to Promote Peace, Security and Transcend Violent Extremism” at the GoodLife Guest Inn, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

The conference which was attended by 105 Participants, “made a critical appraisal of the role of religion in security issues and suggested practical ways religions can help in resolving security problems as well create and promote an inclusive, compassionate community dialogue process that honours different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony” according to Dr. Emmanuel Ivorgba, Executive Director of NEEDCSI.

Participants included Community leaders and activists, Chief Executives of International, National and Local NGO, CBOs and FBOs, Religious/Spiritual leaders, Peace activists, Government representatives, Students, Cultural/Ethnic and Spiritual Community representatives, Human Service providers, Academics, Social Science researchers, etc.

The Keynote was delivered by Prince Charles Dickson, PhD of the Nexus Fund. Other Conference Speakers included: Barrister Clement Iornongu, ESQ, Executive Director International Centre for Peace, Charities and Human Development (INTERCEP); His Grace Salika Dasa, Temple President, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Nigeria; Alh. Salis Mohammad Abdulsalam, Executive Director, Face of Peace Foundation; Mr. Christoph Kowalewski, Transparency International, Guatemala; Mr. Godwin Okoko, Country Representative, Apurimac Onlus Nigeria; and Mrs. Simi Goshwe Angelina, Executive Director,  Simji Girl-Child Empowerment Initiative, among others.

The meeting specifically examined dimensions and dynamics of “The OTHER” on individual and group levels, and considered how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated. It also identified and compiled fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the “The Other.”

Some of the beneficiaries of the sewing machines at the event.

Ten (10) brand new sewing machines were also presented to religiously-diverse men and women, as part of NEEDCSI’s ongoing Livelihood Skills Support Program, funded by Peace Initiative Network (PIN) and Peace Director.