An international conference »Religions and Civilization in the New Millennium: the Albanian case« was organized in Tirana on November 14-15, 2003 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania in collaboration with the Albanian Center for Human Rights, the Helsinki Albanian Committee, the Albanian Media Institute and the House of Books and Communication under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Albania, H.E. Mr. Alfred Moisiu, and the UNESCO Executive Director, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura.
Excerpts from the invitation from Ismail Kadare, Head of the Conference's Steering Committee:
The conference will address issues of inter-religious and inter-cultural relations of the present time. Were these last years' developments a confutation or a proof of the theory of the clash of civilizations? Where are the relations between the main religions headed to, with particular regard the relations between Christianity and Islam? What are the dangers that should be avoided?
Also relations between religion and democracy, as well as those between religion and nation-remain important issues, around which the debate in the conference will evolve. The Balkans' constitute a ground where the dramatic experiences, namely those of the last decade, coexist with the positive experiences, and have not yet received the proper recognition.
Albania, a country with a rich and complex religious landscape, where three main religions coexist - Islam, Catholicism and Orthodoxy -constitutes an interesting case of the harmonic coexistence between religions, as well as of religious tolerance. One decade after the reestablishment of religious institutions, following the ruthless ban on religion by the Communist regime, religious faith has revived. This decade has also witnessed the emergence of problems pertaining to the relations between religion and state, to the legislation on religion, as well as to the foreign influences on the country's religious life.
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01: The Vicechairman of the Parliament, Makbule Ēeēo, and Kozara Kati, the Executive Director for the Albanian Center for Human Rights.
02: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu.
03: The Head of the Conference's Steering Committee, the Writer Ismail Kadare.
04: The Head of the Conference's Steering Committee, the Writer Ismail Kadare.
05: The Bishop of Kosovo, Monsignor Mark Sopi, and the Reverend Marcus Braybrooke, the President of the World Congress of Churches, London.
06: The Publisher Veton Surroi, Kosovo, and the Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Belgrade, Predrag Simic.
07: The Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Belgrade, Predrag Simic, the Director of East European Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, Dr Janusz Bugajski and Professor at the South-East Institute in Berlin, Dr Franz-Lothar Altmann.
08: The Journalist Shkėlzen Maliqi, Kosovo, the Politician Mr. Arbėn Xhaferri, Macedonia, the Historian, Dr Bernd Fischer, University of Indiana, and Mr. W. Cole Durham, the Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham University.
09: The Journalist Shkėlzen Maliqi, Kosovo, the Politician Mr. Arbėn Xhaferri, Macedonia, and the Historian, Dr Bernd Fischer, University of Indiana.
10: The Historian, Dr Bernd Fischer, University of Indiana, Mr. W. Cole Durham, the Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham University, the Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Belgrade, Predrag Simic, and the Sociologist, Professor Artan Fuga - University X - Paris and Tirana University.
11: As # 10. To the right: Mrs. Elira Kokona, Lawyer, ECHR in Strasbourg.
12: The Bishop, Monsignore Vincenzo Paglia, Chairman of the Saint Egidio Foundation, and [Fatri Sinani, the Head of the Religious Committee at the Council of Ministers].
13: Members of the Muslim Communities, Mr. Hafiz Sabri Koēi, the Father Reshat Bardhi, the Bektashi Community and [to the right].
14: The Writer, Mr Sabri Godo, Albania, the Historian, Dr Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, Rome, and the Historian, Dr Nicholas Pano, US.
15: The Politician, Genē Pollo, Albania.
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16: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu.
17: The Head of the Conference's Steering Committee, the Writer Ismail Kadare.
18: The Vice Prime Minister, Dr Ermelinda Meksi, the US Ambassador, Mr. James F. Jeffrey, and the Reverend Marcus Braybrooke, the President of the World Congress of Churches, London.
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22: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu.
23: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu, and the Politician Ali Ahmeti, Macedonia.
24: As # 23.
25: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu, and the Politician Arbėn Xhaferri, Macedonia.
26: As # 25.
27: The Head of the Conference's Steering Committee, the Writer Ismail Kadare and the President, Dr Alfred Moisiu.
28: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu, and the Bishop, Monsignore Vincenzo Paglia, Chairman of the Saint Egidio Foundation.
29: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu, and the Historian, Dr Nicholas Pano.
30: The President, Dr Alfred Moisiu.
31: His Holiness Dr Anastas Yannoulatos, the Orthodox Autocephaly Church in Albania, [Dr Rexhep Boja, the Muslim Community in Kosovo], [a Representative of UNESCO], the President, Dr Alfred Moisiu, His Holiness Monsignor Rrok Mirdita, Bishop of the Catholic Church in Albania, the Durrės-Tirana Diocese, the Father Reshat Bardhi, the Bektashi Community and The Bishop of Kosovo, Monsignor Mark Sopi.
An international symposium on »Islamic Civilisation in the Balkans« will be jointly organised by the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the Academy of Sciences of Albania, the General Directorate of Archives (Albania), and the University of Tirana, in Tirana, Albania, on 4-6 December 2003. Cf.: http://www.ircica.org/conf/index2.html [Unfortunately, I don't have further information about this conference]
The symposium will review and study the sources and development of Islamic civilisation in the Balkans with a comprehensive approach, covering the subject matter in terms of the material culture (written, architectural and other tangible assets and heritage) and spiritual culture (oral, artistic, literary and other intangible aspects of culture and heritage), the stages, trends and patterns of the expansion of Islamic culture and civilisation, the formation and the legacy of the Islamic cultural heritage, its present state and prospects, with specific thematic or regional focuses. The symposium is expected to throw light on the contributions, the role and place of Islamic civilisation in the region, its relations and interactions with other cultures and civilisations, and also, to illuminate the future prospects regarding peaceful co-existence and positive cultural dialogue among the peoples of the region. At the same time, it will be an occasion to take note of the new studies to be presented during these sessions, to assess the state of scholarly research and publication in this field, and to deliberate on the problems and prospects of the study of Islamic civilisation in the Balkans as a field of academic research.
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