Interfaith dialogue was established in Israel in the late 1950’s by a small group of visionaries (which included Martin Buber). Despite decades of commendable interfaith activities in the country, only an extremely limited circle of individuals have recognized that religious faith and commitment without dialogue threatens the stability of society.
There clearly remained an urgent need to supplement existing interfaith efforts through new strategies to draw larger numbers of individuals into the circle of interfaith dialogue. Through the development of such interactive models, true and lasting change in the outlook and attitude of participants could take effect.
In light of the above, a group of concerned longtime interfaith activists formed the Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA).
In the years since its inception, the IEA has been successful at staying true to its principles while beginning to realize a part of the society it hopes to create. In acknowledgement of the IEA’s work, UNESCO has recognized the IEA as an organization that is contributing to the culture of peace and as an actor of the global movement for a culture of peace, a United Nations initiative.
Our vision is a society in which the “otherness” of “the other” is not only accepted, but truly understood and respected. We wish to make a significant contribution to the fulfillment of this vision through this organization. We will be guided by the following basic principles and goals:
- Equal representation of all faiths in the Association
- Equality of the genders in the decision making processes and activities of the Association
- Outreach to individuals from all faiths, age groups, walks of life and levels of society
- Outreach to individuals across the religious-secular divide and political spectrums
- Continual recruitment through committed activists on the local and regional levels
- Implementation of interactive programs that effectively change outlooks and attitudes, such as extended weekend seminars and ongoing study groups
- Continual development of new interactive models for effective encounters
- Ongoing evaluation of all strategies and programs
The IEA is dedicated to promoting coexistence in the Middle East through cross-cultural study and inter-religious dialogue. We believe that, rather than being the cause of the problem, religion can and should be a source of solution for the conflicts that exist in the region and beyond. We do not believe in the blending of all traditions into one undifferentiated group, but in providing a table where all can come and sit in safety and ease, while being fully who they are in their respective religions.
The IEA maintains connections and relationships with many international interfaith organizations and networks. The IEA is a Member Group of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and attends its international Congresses and an Affiliate Member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR). The Jerusalem programs of the IEA function as part of the Partner Cities Network of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR).
The IEA also a Member Group of Roots and Shoots of the Jane Goodall Institute. It also is a member in the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN and a founding member of the Partnership Committee for the United Nations Decade of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace.
Please visit these sites that are related to our work.
- Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions
- Immortal Chaplains Foundation
- Institute for Interreligious Studies
- International Association for Religious Freedom
- Roots and Shoots of the Jane Goodall Institute
- The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
- Three Faiths Forum
- Children of the Earth
- Palestinian Society For Education and Development
- Dialogue for Development and Peace (+972-54-5554361, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Hope Flowers School
- Nablus Youth Federation (+972-9-2384952, email@example.com)
- National Movement for Change (+972-8-2828764)
- Palestinian Peace Society (+972-22212012, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Peace and Equality Supporters’ Movement (+972-8-2053501, email@example.com)
- Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations
- Children of Abraham
- Institute for Circlework
- InterFaith Youth Core
- International Interfaith Centre
- Middle Way – Compassionate Engagement in Society
- Pax Christi – Nederland
- Raoul Wallenberg Institute
- The Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions
- University of the Middle East
- World Bank’s Development Dialogue Unit
- Children of the Earth