Last month saw notable speakers from within the religious and multi-religious sphere, discuss the roles of religious leaders and multi-religious actors, in supporting their communities through the pandemic, in a live 75 minute webinar. 

The online debate was run by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL). It proved to be a success in drawing awareness around this timely topic, highlighting the prevalent issues Covid has arisen for the world religions. The speakers centred on how religion is vital in strengthening human security in today’s society, as well as assessing what the potential implications could be for the future, post-pandemic. 

There were six influential speakers involved in the debate, all offering their unique perspectives from different regions and communities. Those speaking at the webinar included: Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze from the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, Daniel Eror, the Co-Founder and President of Youth for Peace Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kishan Manocha a Senior Adviser on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the ODIHR, Stina Tysk who is the Vice-Chairperson for the World Student Christian Federation in Europe. Prof. Agata S. Nalborczyk, the Head of Department for European Islam Studies at the University of Poland and Zaki Cooper, who represents Faiths United, a coalition of faith leaders and activists in the UK responding to Covid-19. The webinar was moderated by Rev Dr Thomas Wipf and Mikolaj Wrzecionkowski. It was organised by Rebecca Bellamy.

The panel addressed the challenges people of faith are facing within their religions an their regions, as a result of the pandemic. They highlighted different perspectives and experiences in different European regions. Kishan Manocha of OSCE considered how these experiences could influence future policies in the area of freedom of religion and belief.

At the end of the session, the audience were invited to participate in a Q+A session with the guest speakers. This interactive engagement proved to be popular with attendees, who sent questions through the webinar chat function.

To watch this webinar, click on the link provided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ-lDMw9syU