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RIIFS continues mission to foster inter-religious, intercultural dialogue

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Feb 21,2023 - Last updated at Feb 21,2023

AMMAN — The mission of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) is to foster inter-religious and intercultural dialogue as an effective tool for countering intolerance, extremism and radicalism, according to its director, Renee Hattar.

The RIIFS also aims to  forge a culture of mutual respect and understanding, and encourage regional networking on religious and cultural issues through effective communication and interaction within academic and religious environments, Hattar told  The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Founded in 1994, the RIIFS was a pioneering institute as most other similar research institutes around the world started after 9/11, Hattar continued, adding that the RIIFS links research to training and action, “encouraging intellectual generosity and enhancing intercultural exchange and outreach, locally, regionally and internationally in different languages”.

Annually, the RIIFS organises: The Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, the RIIFS Arabic Publications Programme, the RIIFS Foreign Languages Publications Programme, Visiting Scholars Programme, Internship Programme and Peace and Arts Programme, Hattar, who holds a PhD in Peace Studies from the University of Granada in Spain, outlined.

Regarding the plans for this year, “the RIIFS will continue to organise its events through its different programmes, including seminars/webinars, conferences, lectures, training workshops. As well as receiving interns, visiting scholars and delegation visits from different entities around the world interested to know more about RIIFS work and interfaith relations in Jordan,” Hattar said.

She added that the RIIFS will issue its periodical publications: four new volumes of Annashra, a new volume of the Bulletin of the RIIFS, a new volume of Muqabast Hadariyya and other case studies.  

Furthermore, the RIIFS will start various research projects in cooperation with different universities and research centres on topics related to interfaith dialogue; Arab Christian studies; cultural preservation and Arab diaspora in Latin America, Hattar highlighted, adding that the RIIFS is looking forward to developing an e-library which will include access to databases, library catalogue, resources, articles, books and journals and collections. 

“The RIIFS will contact other similar and specialised libraries through its wide network of scholars and academicians to start an open access library and connect with these libraries and will add a media-technician, which will include its collection of DVDs, CDs and videos, by digitising them into a proper order within the library,” she said, noting that a new digitalised archive of all RIIFS material for the past 30 years will be available between this year and next year.

In 2023, the RIIFS is going to start implementing the “Living Together in Harmony” project, which seeks to involve both Jordanians and Iraqi refugees to promote peace and dialogue through artistic creativity, while respecting freedom of expression via collaborating with different artists and experts to build on cultural, social and academic collaboration, Hattar said.

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