3rd Virtual World Congress on Transdisciplinarity 2020-2021 - 3rd REFICA Week - Interreligious Dialogue and the Contribution of Africa, May 5 and 7, 2021

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IMG 6671The 3rd Week of the Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa, REFICA,organized in the framework of the 3rd Virtual World Congress on Transdisciplinarity 2020-2021,took place on May 5 and 7, 2021.

The Wednesday May 05, 2021online session focused on interfaith dialogue and Africa's contribution to the process.

To address this vast question, REFICA invited the following speakers:

05/05/2021 - Sub-Theme: Interreligious Dialogue, Africa's Contribution.

- Moderator: Prof. Djénéba Traoré, Director General of the West Africa Institute (WAI), Praia, Cabo Verde

Speaker: Prof. Mathias Savadogo, Specialist in Contemporary Islam, Professor at the Department of History of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University of Cocody-Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

3 p.m. - 4 p.m. GMT

05/05/2021 - Sub-Theme: Is Interreligious Dialogue Possible?

Moderator: Prof. Djénéba Traoré

Speakers: Father Eugène Goussikindey, member of the Society of Jesus. His research focuses on revelation, Christology, intercultural dialogue and peace. He has taught at the Jesuit Theological School in Nairobi (Hekima College) and in Abidjan (ITCJ).

and Prof. Paolo Orefice, Emeritus Professor of General and Social Pedagogy, Director of the UNESCO Transdisciplinary Chair on Human Development and Culture of Peace at the University of Florence

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. GMT

05/07/2021 - Sub-Theme: Interreligious Dialogue, Objectives and Challenges

Moderator: Father Eugène Goussikindey

Speakers: Prof. Mathias Savadogo

and Prof. Denise Houphouët-Boigny, Full Professor in Mineral Chemistry (CAMES), Director of Higher Education of Côte d'Ivoire, Secretary General of the Center for Research and Action for Peace (CERAP), an institution devoting its teaching and research activities to Conflict Management, Peace, Dignity and Human Rights, Governance, Member of Académie des Sciences, des Arts, des Cultures d'Afrique et des Diasporas Africaines de Côte d'Ivoire.

3 p.m. - 6 p.m. GMT

The session took place in the presence of the President of the III World Congress on Transdisciplinarity, Professor Julieta Haidar of the School of Anthropology and History of Mexico City.

In her capacity as moderator for the May 5 session, Prof. Djénéba Traoré introduced the theme with the following reflections:

It is said that it is in times of crisis that critical thinking develops.

As you know, humanity has always known crises.

The terrible tragedies occurred for more than thirty years around the world, and more particularly in Africa, have as names armed conflicts, terrorism, race for profit, increasing poverty and inequalities, loss of ethical and deontological values, overexploitation of raw materials and natural resources, pollution and environmental degradation, and the current pandemic of the SARS COV 2 virus better known as Covid-19.

In this context, what can be the contribution of the different religions in Africa? Is there interreligious dialogue and if so, how is it articulated? Is there a clear separation between religious power and the State? What are the characteristics of monotheistic religions in Africa? Have they integrated certain elements of our traditional religions and of our African cultures?

The three monotheistic religions, notably Judaism, Christianity and Islam were transmitted by God respectively to the Prophets Moses, Jesus Christ and Muhammad through the three holy books: the Torah, the Bible and the Koran in order to eradicate the evil and to create a better and more just world.

Indeed, these three religious beliefs pursue the same goal, as the parable of the three rings underlines in the play "Nathan the Wise" (1779) by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.

In response to Sultan Saladin's question "What is the true religion?" Nathan tells the following story: "Long time ago a man had a ring made for himself which had the power to stir up the love of God and of men for who wears it. This ring was passed down from generation to generation to the favorite son until the day it goes to a father who equally loved his three sons. Seeing his imminent death, he summons a goldsmith and tells him to fashion two new rings. He then secretly gave a ring to each of his children. With the father dead, the three sons fight over the inheritance, each believing tohave the real ring in his possession.

Unable to find a compromise, the brothers asked for the opinion of the judge. After hearing the plaintiffs, the judge invited the brothers to work for the future by striving to make the generations to come as virtuous as possible, given the character of the ring, unless the father hadlet made three new rings because the original ring was lost.

In this parable, the father can be seen as a representation of God, the three sons being the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Just as the father loves his three sons, God also loves the three religions. Unfortunately these three religions argue and each claim to hold the truth instead of imitating the father's love for them. On the assumption that the three rings are new, the father appears as the representative of an original or ideal religion now lost, and the sons as the three revealed religions, similar to the first truth. In this latter perspective, God recommends that men be concerned with the education of their peoples instead of incessantly engaging in quarrels and wars."


Below are the links giving access to the following videos:

• Magistral Conference and Round Table: https://youtu.be/D7pPCH3lvtg

• Symposium:https://youtu.be/SO1-aGiBrqM