iDove Hybrid Int’l Youth Conference concludes in Negombo | Daily News

iDove Hybrid Int’l Youth Conference concludes in Negombo

Interfaith exchanges and inter-religious dialogue to promote peace and coexistence were the key aspects of the iDove Hybrid International Conference which concluded at the Goldi Sands Hotel Negombo recently.

iDove was launched by the African Union Commission’s Directorate of Citizens and other Organizations (AUC-CIDO) and the Deutsche Geselleschaft für Internationale Zussamenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation with a view to foster innovative youth-based interventions using dialogue and soft skills to create agents of change for inter-religious coexistence and harmony in society.

In Sri Lanka, this programme was implemented in partnership with National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO), National Peace Council (NPC) and Viluthu, three civil society organizations. 

Over 300 youth across the country and overseas participated in this process, which encouraged youth leadership. “Only when we relate to one another beyond the differences of religion and ethnicity or race, do we embrace our humanity”, remarked an  iDove Youth Ambassador.

Young people from across 23 districts in Sri Lanka as well as from Uganda, the Philippines and Kenya, who are part of the iDove global network came together over two days to learn from each other and raise awareness on this important issue. Creative arts, a strategy for mediating complex topics and finding common ground, was also a primary feature at the conference.

During the conference, the Guest of Honour, the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in Sri Lanka, Olaf Malchow, stressed the need for youth initiatives for change, especially as global conflicts were increasing around the world. He observed how youth are often undermined and neglected and iDove in that way offered them the potential to be informed, stay actively engaged and share lessons learned and best practices and amplify each other’s voice for change.

The Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism (iDove) approach was developed in 2017, to empower youth to promote inter-religious, business and cultural values and understanding in their communities.

What began with 25 “iDovers” in a Training-of-Trainers programme on preventing violent extremism has grown to 300 iDove ambassadors.

Their community efforts engaged more than 3,000 people and the social media campaigns have reached an audience of 30,000 online.  

TheiDove Hybrid International Youth Conference platform is the start of more joint learning and exchange opportunities among young iDove Ambassadors from Asia, Africa and Europe. Many of the youth had already initiated many community initiatives and awareness programmes in their respective districts and hope to continue these efforts with the support of the civil society partners.  


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