IX. Nürnberger Forum
26.-29. September 2006

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Johannes Lähnemann, Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg

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Making Visions come true

Evaluating Concepts of Interreligious Learning

"Making visions come true". The Nuremberg Forums have been taking place over a quarter of a century. They bring together people at the forefront of their communities, people with vision, people who paint a future of a coexistence embracing religions and ideologies and who are working towards that end. The Forums provide a focal point for exchange, reflection and critical analysis. They are a gauge of developments in the field of interreligious encounter with particular emphasis on the tasks facing education and learning. Has much changed during this period in terms of new mutual awareness, understanding and cooperation, of initiatives and projects that unite and are binding?

On the one hand there have been new confrontations:

  • conflicts in which religion is a contributory factor, as in the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Nigeria, India
  • terrorism under the cloak of religion, for which the events of 11 September 2001 set a particularly conspicuous and catastrophic precedent
  • the new trend to resort to sweeping generalisations such as "the aggression of Islam" or "the West has no values", and the unguarded use of catchwords such as "crusade" or "holy war"

However, there has also been the positive development of a wide variety of ideas, projects and forms of encounter and work:

  • through interfaith activity towards rapprochement and reconciliation, as in Bosnia, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sierra Leone
  • through multifaith movements and organisations such as the Parliament of the World\'s Religions, the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and "Religions for Peace" (WCRP)
  • through the opening up of a "Dialogue among Civilisations" and the "Global Ethic Project", which takes global challenges seriously and is now being discussed by politicians, business experts as well as religious communities and educational institutions
  • through research in the field of theology as well as in the social sciences and education, and through countless meetings on the ground

By "making visions come true" is meant "earthing" the ideas intended to bring humankind together within one world: the patient, ongoing work on the structures and methods of a new coexistence, on the shaping of attitudes and associated learning processes.

The 9th Nuremberg Forum will take stock of the current position and will also look to the future. It coincides with the retirement of Johannes Lähnemann - the initiator of the Forums - from his university post. In a tried and tested way it brings together international figures, both theoreticians and practitioners, with experience and commitment in the fields of religions, ideologies, politics and education. The Forum will evaluate the achievements of interreligious cooperation, but also give impetus for future action. It will lend strength to the courageous and open up new pathways.

Translation: Martin Prowse