“Religion, Peace, and Security: Challenges and Prospects in the MENA Region”

The Study Seminar “Religion, Peace, and Security: Challenges and Prospects in the MENA Region”, organized by the Religion & Security Council (RSC) in cooperation with the NATO Security Force Assistance Center of Excellence (NATO SFA COE), will take place in Rome, at the Air Force’s Officers Club, on 5 and 6 May 2022. The event will bring together an international group of scholars, experts, practitioners, and military officers, who will examine the potentialities of the “religious factor” in the Mediterranean and the Middle East as a “driver” of peace and security, rather than of warfare and instability.

The proceedings will elaborate on how religion can help prevent and defuse confrontational situations, counter the radical discourse and narratives, overcome sectarian discrimination and protect human rights, enable cooperation and partnership relations between different religious denominations and entities.

These defining issues for the future of peace and security in the MENA region will be tackled throughout 3 thematic sessions: 1) Interreligious Dialogue in Conflicts Resolution and Peace-Building; 2) Addressing Radical Thinking and Violent Extremism; 3) How to Foster Reconciliation and Peaceful Coexistence: Best Policies and Practices.

Each session will feature the presentations of two keynote speakers, followed by a round-table discussion that will allow all participants to share their views and recommendations on the topics dealt with.

The keynote speakers of the three sessions will be: Dr. Elie Al Hindy, Executive Director of the Adyan Foundation and Associate Professor at the Notre Dame University-Louaize; Dr. Majeda Omar, Associate Professor at The University of Jordan and former Director of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies; Prof. Aicha Haddou, Director of Ta’aruf − Morocco Interfaith & Peacebuilding Research and Training Centre, Rabita Mohammedia of Ulemas; Imam Yahya Pallavicini, President of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy (COREIS) and Ambassador for Dialogue among Civilizations, Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO); Hon. Pascale Isho Warda, President of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization and former Minister for Immigration and Refugees, Iraqi Interim Government; Dr. Elie Abouaoun, RSC Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

The Study Seminar has been devised by RSC Chairman Emiliano Stornelli, along with Dr. Sihem Djebbi, NATO SFA COE Subject Matter Expert and Associate Professor at the University of Sorbonne Paris Nord, and the Pontifical Faculty of Theology of Southern Italy. The proceedings will be opened by NATO SFA COE Director, Col. Massimo Di Pietro.

RSC and NATO SFA COE signed a cooperation agreement as a platform for the organization of the Study Seminar.