Letter of the President


After the exceptional success achieved at the First and Second European Conferences for Religious Dialogue and Cooperation (from a scientific and organizational point of view), the Centre for Intercultural Studies and Research at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje   organize the First World Conference for Religious Dialogue and Cooperation. This conference will be attended by eminent professors and researchers in the field of religion and culture who will be representatives of the largest number of countries from all continents of the world. We expect around 150 participants from all regions of the world to participate in the First World Conference for Religious Dialogue and Cooperation. The latest research results in the field of intercultural and religious dialogue and cooperation in the world will be presented at the Conference; the role of religious and cultural institutions in resolving religious conflicts in Europe and the world; implementing the processes of interculturalism in the post-global era; implementing the ideas of ecumenism and neo-ecumenism in the world framework; the role of religion in peace and conflict, etc. After the Conference, the papers presented will be published in the international scientific journal Religious Dialogue and Cooperation published by the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. In addition, papers will be selected that will be published in a book (edit collection) that will be published by one of the eminent publishing houses in Europe.

In addition, we will use the presence of the participants at the World Conference for their networking, which will lead to the realization of numerous scientific research projects in the field of religion and culture.

The First World Conference on Religious Dialogue and cooperation on the topic: Religious conflicts in the world: causes and possible solutions, in many aspects builds on and supports the principles of interculturalism. Europe and the world are facing the problem of the closure of small crops (organic crops). In question are cultures that constantly collide and face misunderstandings, especially with the dominant culture in the country. In principle, these conflicts are resolved through the euphoria of closure, dividing the subjects into “ours” and “theirs”, knowing in advance who they are. Due to all of the above, there are ethno-religious groups in the world that are discriminated against and do not have equal opportunities. Because of that, members of certain marginalized religious groups are almost socially excluded. All of the above can easily lead to discrimination on religious and cultural grounds. However, to obtain concrete data based on absolute numbers and percentage data, longitudinal quantitative scientific research should be funded to support these analyses. We plan to do that with the participants of the First World Conference on Religious Dialogue and Cooperation.

Modern civilization rests on secularist ideas, according to which religion is relegated to the private sphere of the individual. We cannot talk about elements of religious fundamentalism in a religion as long as the expression of religious feelings among individuals remains in the private sphere and does not interfere with the normal life and the same freedom of the members of other religions and cultures. A certain religion is transformed into a fundamentalist one at the moment when, according to the interpretation of a religious teaching, the establishment of such social relations is required in which the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated.

Individuals and social groups can turn to religion to secure their unique sense of identity. They can use it to confirm the superiority of the individual or the social group over others. It can mobilize social groups, with the desire to exercise power and influence in a globalized society in which they feel marginalized or think that it is a threat to them. Religions and cultures that seek to emphasize particular differences are often closely tied to nationalism. Israel, Iran, India, China, Japan and the Russian Federation are examples of countries in which conservative or fundamentalist religions are most pronounced (religious fundamentalism is the name given to the various political ideologies and movements that try to harmonize the entire social life with a consistent interpretation of a certain religious doctrine). Religious fundamentalism is a relatively new phenomenon that was only observed in the last quarter of the 20th century. Until today, it was mostly associated with Islam and the countries of the Middle East. In response, Christian Protestant fundamentalism in the United States is increasingly intensifying. The post-global era is shaken by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Some researchers characterize this as the first religious war of the 21st century. This conflict brought to the surface the Orthodox Christian fundamentalism, which is the bearer of the Russian Orthodox Church. On the other hand, in the Far East, Buddhist fundamentalism (especially in China) is increasing.

Religious fundamentalism often manifests itself as a complete or partial rejection of modern ideas, be it religious tolerance, secularization, various advances in science and technology that for various reasons are not compatible with a certain religious doctrine. That is why these religions are often associated with nationalism which creates a chauvinistic attitude towards other nations.

Starting from all the above-mentioned topics and dilemmas, the First World Conference on Religious Dialogue and Cooperation will try to answer the crucial question: are religious wars a myth or a reality? We will also determine the reasons for the outbreak of religious conflicts in the world. With that, we will offer solutions that will lead to the resolution of religious conflicts and the practical implementation of the principles of interculturalism.