The Role of Religion in Conflict and Peacebuilding. Cyprus A History of Hope.
During 4 July 2017 in Sweden, at the island of Gotland and after the kind invitation of Lutheran bishop S. Bernhard and the Swedish Foundation of Alexandria a debate was held on the topic "The Role of Religion in Conflict and Peacebuilding: Cyprus-A History of hope ". They participated: on behalf of His Beatitude Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and all Cyprus Mr. Chrysostomos His Grace Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, His Excellency Mr. Shakir Alendar on behalf of the Mufti of Cyprus, on behalf of the Swedish Embassy in Cyprus Mrs. Salider Weiderud, Mr. Sheikh Mohammed Abou Zaid from Lebanon or Ms. Zahra Langhi from Libya. Dr. Isak Svensson was moderating the discussion. The event was welcomed by Bishop S. Bernhard.
During the first discussion it was presented the historical course of the dialogue of the religious leaders of Cyprus since 2009 (starting year) to the present day. During the first meetings in 2009 they participated only the Swedish Embassy in Cyprus, the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II and his Excellency the Mufti Mr. Souitcmez. In 2012 the dialogue became broader with the participation of the religious leaders of the Armenians, the Maronites and the Latins. The participants presented to the audience the achievements and the failures of the dialogue, as well as the problems they have faced over the last eight years. The dialogue of the religious leaders of Cyprus is for the turbulent regions of the Middle East and North Africa a hope. This kind of dialogue can provide substantial support and assistance to the negotiating political leaders for the ceasefire and the peaceful resolution of the problems. Mr. Mahmoud Abou Zaid and Ms. Zahra Langhi gave various examples from their experiences of Lebanon and Libya.
During the afternoon, His Grace Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, and Imam Mr. S. Alendar, had a meeting with the Swedish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Annika Soder. The representatives expressed their gratitude to the Swedish government for its support to the ongoing dialogue and informed Ms. Soder for the crucial moments of the political negotiation of the Cyprus problem. Ms. Soder expressed her optimism and hope for finding an acceptable solution to the ongoing Cyprus problem.