Notes from the Field

Whitehouse.gov Cites Dhaka Religious Leaders Conference as Move to Foster Interfaith Dialogue

July 7, 2010

In Cairo, President Obama declared a renewed commitment to fostering interfaith dialogue and called for a new beginning in relations with religious communities worldwide. On the heels of this historic speech, religious leaders have gathered from across the world for two international conferences to engage in dialogue and debate and affirm the president’s call. In addition to a recent interfaith conference in Indonesia, Whitehouse.gov highlights the March 2010 conference in Dhaka, convened by USAID and The Asia Foundation, on “The Role of Religious Leaders in Advancing Development in Asia” in connection with the work of the administration’s Inter-religious Cooperation Task Force of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The conference provided a forum where over 70 religious and community leaders from 14 countries could share views and experience drawn from different country contexts and working environments. The Asia Foundation’s Bangladesh Leaders of Influence program, which since its launch in 2004 has introduced over 15,000 religious and community leaders to key development issues, served as a working model for conference participants. Upon return from the conference, many enthusiastic participants shared their thoughts on the Leaders of Influence blog, and demonstrated a keen interest in developing similar programs in their home countries.

Read a recent in-depth blog piece about the conference by participant Kim McQuay, The Asia Foundation’s Regional Director for Law and Governance, or visit the Leaders of Influence website to learn more.

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