Delegates preparing for Asia-Pacific interfaith dialogue

Sydney Cardinal George Pell and Broken Bay ecumenism commissioner, Sr Patricia Madigan, will again be part of an Australian Government sponsored international interfaith dialogue to be held in Waitangi, New Zealand next week.

The Federal government, together with the governments of Indonesia, New Zealand and the Philippines, will co-sponsor a third Regional Interfaith Dialogue in Waitangi, New Zealand from 29-31 May, Sr Madigan said in a statement.

The Waitangi Dialogue, entitled "Building Bridges: the Third Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue" is aimed at developing relations between the diverse faith communities in the Asia-Pacific region and will focus on the themes of security, education, media, peace and development.

The statement says that the fact that the Dialogue meeting is to be held in Waitangi is of great intercultural significance since it is the site where New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, written in Maori and English, was signed on 6 February 1840.

As with the two previous gatherings held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2004, and Cebu, the Philippines last year, the Waitangi Dialogue will involve delegations from each ASEAN member country, Australia, East Timor, Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Australia will lead delegates in a workshop "Learning About Each Other", which will focus on educational issues.

The Australian delegation is made up of leading representatives of each of the major faiths and religions in Australia, and staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Other delegates include Mr Brian Ashen of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, Anglican Reverend John Baldock, Archbishop Aghan Baliozian of the Armenian Church, Uniting Church Reverend Sefarosa Carroll, Reverend John Henderson from the National Council of Churches in Australia, Jeremy Jones of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, Brother Ikebal Patel of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, and Professor Toh Swee-Hin from Griffith University.

Sr Madigan, a Dominican nun, has been at the forefront of many developments in interfaith relations in Sydney, especially those involving women.

Building Bridges: The Third Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue
Australia Country Report
Discussion Paper

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Building Bridges: The Third Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue (NZ Human Rights Commission)
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Trish Madigan OP: The threat of fundamentalism? Some Christian and Muslim Perspectives (Compass Theology Review Winter 2004)

Nun on Downer's interfaith dialogue mission (CathNews, 13/3/06)
Criticism of Downer list of peace pilgrims (CathNews, 24/11/04)
Downer urges pulpit war against terror (CathNews, 7/12/04)

22 May 2007