PREPERATION FOR WORLD GATHERING ON DIALOGUE BETWEEN RELIGIONS IN OHRID
UNESCO will financially and logistically support the World Conference on Dialogue Between Religions that will be held in Ohrid on 26-29 October. The amount the world body will allot for the gathering of representatives of the world religions has yet to be announced but it is certain that support has been approved. The Pope will not come to Ohrid, Vice Minister of Culture Slobodan Despotovski explains, and still, the conference will be attended by members of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and several Protestant denominations, of the Sunnis and Shiites, representatives of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism etc.
“We are expecting a number of religious dignitaries. This is about an ambitious project that will result in affirmation of Macedonia worldwide. The conference is devised to take place in every two or three years and develop into an institution, though it is too early to speak about that. UNESCO has already given its support, which has also been expected from other international organizations. We still do not know how much the conference will cost but despite the difficult economic situation of the country, it is less important relative to what Macedonia is getting internationally,” Despotovski says.
According to Lidija Topuzovska, Secretary of the UNESCO National Commission of UNESCO for Macedonia, they “The dialogue between religions is a current topic anywhere in the world. If we want to have dialogue and peace among the humankind, the religious token of all religions, of all peoples is important besides the respect of culture and civilization. This is why the topic of the conference is contribution of faith and culture to universal respecting and cohabitation,” Topuzovska explains.
She says Ohrid has not been chosen accidentally as the venue for the conference. Ohrid is a UNESCO-protected town and our shrine. She confirms that the world organization has officially informed our country that it will support the world gathering. Asked what is this expedience owed to given that the idea of conference is relatively new, Topuzovska says:
Asked about the meaning for Macedonia of the fact that a world conference is organized with us in a very short time, Topuzovska replies:
“This is more of an opportunity to present ourselves as a cultural treasure and treasure of different religions that have been able to live together, mutually communicate culturally and regionally, have coexistence and reflect daily living for centuries through many shrines that are a part of the cultural heritage. Our century-long destiny is to be located geographically on the crossroads of Europe, the oldest continent, to be the crossroads of many civilizations, religions and cultures. We want to show that we cherish that tradition. The term dialogue may be used today but such connection has existed for centuries between different cultures and different religions living here. This continuity is going on today. We want to show immediately that example not only as an important regional event but on a higher level, in the world frameworks, Topuzovska says.
MD: Very nice! Ohrid needs more of these events, it’s the perfect place. Too bad the pope will not come though