Joint Statement by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Embassy in Manila
THE PHILIPPINES AND AUSTRALIA STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIP ON INTERFAITH DIALOGUE
The Philippines and Australia today opened a photographic exhibition which depicts the efforts of both countries to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding and to build links between communities locally, regionally and globally.
The exhibition was opened by the Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Alberto Romulo, and Australia’s Special Representative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the Holy See, His Excellency Tim Fischer AC, during the first day of the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development (SNAMMM) in Manila.
Secretary Romulo cited the partnership between the Philippines and Australia on interfaith dialogue, particularly the annual UN Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace, which was initiated by the Philippines in 2004.
“Each year, we review the progress of our initiatives on interfaith dialogue through the annual resolutions at the UN General Assembly and our meetings at the sidelines,” he pointed out.
Australia and the Philippines are active participants in United Nations General Assembly interfaith initiatives and are members of the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations initiative. In the region, the Philippines and Australia are co-chairs, along with Indonesia and New Zealand, of the Regional Interfaith Dialogue (RID) process, the most recent meeting of which was hosted by Australia in Perth in October 2009.
“Australia is committed to fostering mutual respect, understanding and tolerance among different religions and cultures,” Ambassador Fischer said.
Australia also works with governments, NGOs, community groups, academia and religious organizations in South-East Asia, including in the Philippines, to strengthen communities divided by misunderstanding and conflict and build links between communities.
The Australian Embassy in the Philippines supports such activities through its Strengthening Grassroots Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding (SGIDU) program. Since 2006, Australia has provided Php64 million in support of 60 community projects including interfaith and intra-faith dialogue, youth peace camps, and training workshops in conflict resolution, leadership skills and peace advocacy.
The exhibition particularly highlights the interfaith dialogue and peace-building activities of Filipino community groups and religious organizations with local Muslim, Christian and Indigenous Peoples communities.