The Global Exchange on Religion in Society (GERIS), a two-year project administered by the European External Action Service and Particip GmbH, piloted the 2022 Intercultural Civil Convention with over 100 professionals, civil society actors, academics, government and intergovernmental professionals, as well as faith-based professionals from different parts of the world to engage in critical discussions on civil society issues that concern them.
The Intercultural Civil Convention is a platform for professionals, industry experts and political actors to connect, collaborate and support each other through mutual ideas that promote the dissemination of positive experiences and coexistence. between people of different faiths or not. The program focused on three thematic areas such as “interreligious issues, issues of young people with disabilities and issues of education”.
Some of those facilitated from Nigeria included the Special Needs Initiative for Growth and Blog4SDGs (representatives of both organizations Racheal Inegbedion and Georges Gambadatoun are both GERIS winners and participants).
In the opening speech by Clément Boutillier, Head of the Governance, Peace and Migration Section of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria. He said the European Union Commission will continue to promote inclusion at the center of civil society issues such as religion, democracy, education, digital rights and the rights of persons with disabilities.
Lefhoko Kesamang, Senior Social Affairs Officer for the African Union Commission, also said that the African Union Commission is committed to addressing issues related to disabilities, education and investing in issues. socio-economic issues that affect civil society communities.
Marika Djolai, expert and team leader of the Global Exchange on Religion in Society project, expressed her message of goodwill by stating that the convention will continue to promote social inclusion and cohesion in civil societies on a global scale and in the GERIS network.
The program was anchored by the Creative Director of the Special Needs for Growth Initiative, Amdi Salam, who hosted and anchored the speakers such as Luciano Bizin, Emina Frljak, Nyasha Freeman, Mira Zineddin, Imam Shefiu Abdulkareem Majemu, Abiodun Oyeniran, Helen Umeobieri, Rukia Kalanzi, Kikelomo Olatunde who shared their strategies and insights on how to mitigate interfaith conflict and improve support for youth with disabilities and educational equality from local perspectives and international. Amdi Salam gave participants the opportunity to discuss interfaith issues, education and issues related to young people with disabilities for 30 minutes in breakout rooms with the speakers. Participants’ views were documented and will be used to develop programs aimed at improving civic engagement and a more active, participatory and shared sense of citizenship across the boundaries of beliefs and worldviews.
Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions and get answers and insights from the speakers. Tobi Omimakinde and Agama Zinji represented the deaf community by signing in British and American Sign Languages at the convention.
During the closing of the convention, Oluwaseun Ejalonibu and Emmanuel Ayogu presented a summary report on the work of his convention which will serve as a political communication product to be addressed to the main political stakeholders at the level of the African Union and the European Union in high-level consultations. meetings and forums.
Racheal Inegbedion, executive director of Special Needs Initiative For Growth, said the convention is the first of its kind with a call to action on policy actors to mainstream inclusive opportunities and use evidence-based approaches such as the convention. intercultural civil society to design projects and responsiveness to the problems of civil society on a global scale.