December 9, 2008 – New York – Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has invited AJC’s Africa Institute to assist in organizing a major international interfaith conference next year in the West African state.
President Wade, who also is president of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), has said he wants to host a 2009 conference for religious leaders from the three main Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – and observers from other faiths. His objective is to build on previous conferences, including the one earlier this year in Madrid hosted by Saudi King Abdullah, to advance the evolving dialogue among faith leaders committed to religious harmony and peace based on shared core beliefs.
"President Wade’s vision offers a welcome and needed opportunity to convene Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders in an African setting to advance the ties of dialogue and mutual understanding," said Stanley Bergman, chair of AJC’s Africa Institute. “We are delighted to be part of the planning process.”
The visit to Dakar followed a meeting between AJC and President Wade in September in New York, when he attended the opening of the UN General Assembly session.
AJC has long been a leading non-governmental voice in interreligious affairs worldwide. Most recently, Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs, was centrally involved in the Madrid interfaith conference convened by Saudi Arabia, and its aftermath.
During their visit to Senegal, Bergman and Eliseo Neuman, director of AJC’s Africa Institute, also met with Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio and other Senegalese officials.