Introduction to the theme
A bunch of flowers in many colours looks beautiful, a choir with high and low voices sounds good, an
international study environment is exciting. Life is full of diversity in nature and in our social structures,
starting from our family, to our neighbourhood, our countries, our globe. Diversity makes life
interesting. Yet, diversity is often seen as a source of tensions and conflicts, dividing communities and
creating conflicting identities.
In this Interfaith Conference we will explore diversity in manifold aspects as a source of celebrating
life, as enrichment for our communities, and as a strong instrument to promote local and global peace.
We will not close our eyes to the harsh reality in many parts of the world where people are made to
believe that they are better than the ‘other’, the other religion, the other ethnic group, and therefore
have the right to fight the other. Out of fear and ignorance they perceive diversity as a threat to
their own identity.
100 years ago in 1913 the Peace Palace was established in The Hague to solve international conflicts by
talking together rather than by making war. The Peace Palace continues to remind us of the urgent
need to work for justice and to celebrate peace. Together in all our diversity we can make this planet a
better place to live for all.
The keynote speaker
Prof. Manuela Kalsky (*1961 in Germany) will give the keynote speech on Celebrating Diversity for
Peace. She is the director of the Theological Research Center of the Dominicans
DSTS and professor in Theology and Society at the VU University Amsterdam.
She created a multimedia website, looking for a new ‘we’ in the Netherlands:
www.nieuwwij.nl, and just started a new research project on ‘multiple religious
belonging’. Manuela Kalsky is a well known speaker about issues related to
multicultural and multi-religious society.
Council of wise people and group session
A panel of representatives of various religious traditions (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Bahá’í) will share
their personal experience with diversity and how their religion looks at diversity.
In the afternoon we offer a variety of group sessions to get deeper into various aspects of our theme
and to allow for more interaction amongst participants.
In between the spoken words you will enjoy music and songs. There is a dance workshop, and we end
the conference by joining all together in a multi-religious singing for peace.
10:00 Registration, refreshments
10:15 Musical contribution
10:35 Words of inspiration from different religious traditions and a Jewish-Muslim duet
10:55 Welcome message by prof.Mohammed Salih on behalf of the ISS
11:00 Message by Mr. van Hoogstraten, director of the Peace Palace
11:10 Key note speech ‘Celebrating Diversity for Peace’ by prof. Manuela Kalsky, Q & A
12:00 Council of wise people panel (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Bahá’í)
12:40 Participatory session
13:00 Lunch (vegetarian and halal)
14:00 Group sessions
1. Multiple religious belonging (Manuela Kalsky)
2. Towards inter-religious harmony in Kenya (Mariëlle Beusmans)
3. Diversity in marriage – personal stories
4. Dance workshop (Riëtte Beurmanjer)
5. Diversity policy and implementation – the case of Canada, South Africa, Brazil & India
6. Diversity in gender and sexual orientation
15:30 Tea break, photo exhibition
16:00 Musical intermezzo
16:15 Reports from the group sessions
16:30 Winner of the photo and essay contest announced
16:40 Multi-religious singing for peace (Marion Kuiperi)
17:00 Closing followed by drinks and snacks
Contribution € 5 including lunch, tea/coffee, for non students € 10, to be paid on arrival
Travel expenses (train second class within the Netherlands) will be refunded.
Location: Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Kortenaerkade 12, The Hague (opposite Hilton Hotel)
From Central Station by bus 22 or 24, from Hollands Spoor by tram 1 or 17, stop Mauritskade
Walking distance to ISS from Central Station is approximately 30 minutes.
For cars there is paid parking around the ISS.
Essay and Photo/Artwork contest
Show your creativity and participate in an essay and photo/artwork contest (see this page for all the info). The
winners will be announced during the conference. Good luck!
To sign up, or for further information related to the conference you can send an e-mail to Nynke van der Veldt, N.vanderVeldt@PlatformINS.nl