IPAG; Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue (CICD), Griffith University, Government of Kerala, India and Ma’din Academy jointly organized the G20 Interfaith Summit Preconference (South Asia) on July 25-27, 2016 in Kerala, India.

The G20 Interfaith Summit is a timely initiative that aims at bringing together stakeholders from different socio-economic, political and faith groups for open discussion and deliberation to enhance harmonious co-existence among diverse faith groups for sustainable development in the world. The objective of the G20 Interfaith Summit is to facilitate peace and harmony among people of all religious, ideological and philosophical traditions while exploring ways to work together to strengthen economic development. Since South Asia is the home to nearly 1.7 billion people from diverse faith and culture, this preconference in Kerala aimed at highlighting the role of religion in achieving sustainable development in the region. By bringing together a number of well-respected and influential religious leaders, government officials, experts, academicians, and media representatives, the preconference provided a platform to explore common grounds to enhance harmony among different religion and faith groups to achieve sustainable development in South Asia and beyond.

Some of the key themes that were discussed in the pre-conference are:

  • Role of Government and Policymaking in the Development of Interfaith Harmony
  • Promoting Mutual Respect through Inter-Governmental Cooperation
  • Empowering Communities and Religious Leaders for Synergistic Harmony
  • Interfaith Dialogue and Coexistence: South Asian Experience
  • Influence of Law in Interfaith Harmony and Sustainable Development
  • Media Perspective on the Development of Interfaith Harmony
  • Interfaith Harmony at Educational Institutions: Promoting Tolerance and Sustainable Development
  • Social Harmony for Sustainable Development

The program was inaugurated by Mr. P. Srirama Krishnan, Speaker of Kerala Assembly. Senior policymakers from the government of Kerala including Dr. Thomas Issac, Minister of Finance, and Dr. KT Jaleel, Minister of Self Government & Minority Affairs delivered keynote speeches at the program. Dr. Brian Adams from Griffith University, Sheikh Bukhari and Dr. Abbas Pannakkal from Ma’din Academy, Prof. Kazi Nurul Islam from Dhaka University, Sri M from Satsang Foundation, Swami Agnivesh – a renowned Indian social activist, Swami Sadyojathah from Art of Living, Dr. Greg Walsh from University of Notre Dame Australia, Dr. Ambreen Agha from South Asian Terrorism Portal attended the conference as speaker. The program was attended by participants from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom etc.

IPAG was represented in the conference by Mr. Syed Munir Khasru, Chairman; Mr. Makshudul AM Mondal, Fellow and Senior Research Associate; and Maliha Iqbal, Research Associate. Mr. Khasru delivered one of the keynote speeches in the inaugural session and moderated a session on “Promoting Mutual Respect through Inter-Governmental Cooperation”