Supporting Multi Religious Initiatives across Europe  – Different Faiths, Common Actions

The beginning of the year saw the inception of a new project, titled Speech for Change. The project concept was initiated by the “Conflict Transformation” working group at the joint Youth and Women meeting in Warsaw (25-26 May 2019), a multi-religious meeting organised by ECRL in preparation for the World Assembly of Religions for Peace in Germany August 2019.

The project was initiated to help in the fight to combat online extremism and religious hate speech. ECRL were determined to support the women and youth led project and gave seed money, which enabled a pilot project to take place in early 2020.

Speech for Change workshops in February 2020 were facilitated by Uma Duric and Amra Pandzo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The educational programme ran over five days and was held at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Sarajevo. Over the course of the five days, a diverse and multi-faith group of young peace-builders attended various talks, lectures and workshops focusing on countering religious hate speech and how to identify fake news. The project ran as a success, with participants having said they are inspired to continue with similar activities in the future.

ECRL plans to continue its support for the Speech for Change project. Since commissioning a regional scoping study produced by Olivia Fuchs, the secretariat are liaising with partners to build on the project’s promising beginnings. We will look forward to developing these schemes with European partners and are excited to see the project develop over the coming year.