The 800th anniversary of the presence of the Franciscans in the Holy Land has provided the cue for a reflection on the role that inter-religious dialogue plays in creating a peaceful, inclusive society. Today, an international conference is being held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on “Inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue in promoting peace: 800 years of the Franciscans’ presence in the Holy Land”.
This conference is one of a series of events planned for the 800th anniversary, and organised by the Foreign Ministry with Professor Salvatore Martinez, President of the Observatory on Religious Minorities in the World and on the Respect of Religious Liberties. There was also a conference held in the morning at the auditorium of the Pontifical University Antonianum entitled “From Saint Francis to Pope Francis: the prophecy of a reconciled world”. The same issues will be dealt with at a day-long event to be held in Assisi on 22 December. Organised by the Foreign Ministry, in association with the Holy See and the Franciscan Order, these two events will also be attended by Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land.
The conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will be opened by Minister Angelino Alfano, to be followed by an address by Professor Martinez and the Custos of the Holy Land. The Ambassador of Morocco, Hassan Abouyoub, the Ambassador of Israel, Ofer Sachs, and the Mayor of Bethlehem, Anton Salman, will also make presentations. Closing remarks will be made by the Minister.
Protection of religious minorities and inter-religious dialogue are priority issues for Italian foreign policy. It stepped up its actions at international level in 2017, both during its presidency of the G7 and its term of office as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.