NZ theologian appointed fellow at International Dialogue Centre


Wellington-based theology lecturer Dr Christopher Longhurst has been appointed a Fellow of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).

Longhurst, (on left in the photograph above) is a theology lecturer at Te Kupenga — Catholic Theological College.

He is also on the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interfaith Relations and the Wellington Interfaith Council.

KAICIID was established in 2012 to promote interreligious dialogue to prevent and resolve conflict and enhance understanding and cooperation.

Named after the then-King of Saudi Arabia (who died in 2015), it was founded by Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain, with the Holy See as a founding observer.

Its board consists of representatives of major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism).

KAICIID fellows are educators from academic religious institutions worldwide, who learn skills to teach their own students and communities about interreligious dialogue, so they, in turn, can become facilitators and leaders in dialogue and promoting peace in their communities.

Longhurst’s fellowship involves training and capacity-building in dialogue through three intensive in-residence training sessions and online learning programmes.

During the term of his one-year fellowship, he will publish a handbook for teaching and learning interreligious dialogue through reflection on and conversation around pictorial art.

He said that the use of pictorial art could be “an effective and innovative technique to undertake interreligious dialogue”, and he hopes that the handbook will be used in classrooms and academic centres teaching religion throughout New Zealand.

Longhurst hopes that KAICIID’s worldwide mandate to promote dialogue and enhance understanding will be taken up by the New Zealand Government and key stakeholders to foster dialogue among people of different faiths and cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand.



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