The initiative came after the visit and the gracious welcome received by the Prince of York during his recent visit to the King Hamad International Centre for Peaceful Coexistence in which he expressed his pleasure with the steps taken by Bahrain to promote coexistence among different religions and sects, multi-ethnicism and openness.
Addressing the large audience representing the British institutions concerned with coexistence and religious tolerance the Duke of York praised Bahrain’s forward-looking progress in reinforcing the values of coexistence and openness to the other.
“Britain has much more to learn from Bahrain than Bahrain does from us…..their peaceful coexistence is not a goal or objective, it is actually the reality of how they live their lives every day, harmoniously, as one family.”
HRH praised the King Hamad Chair as a world first and an outstandingly unique initiative from HM the King, as the first step to implement the Global Reach of The King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence.
“His Majesty the King believes that the way they live today in Bahrain is due to the fact that 200 years ago His Majesty’s great, great, great, grandfather chose to work with Britain rather than another European country.
Bahrain may have learnt from us 200years ago but I can assure you that today, we, in Britain can learn much more from what you have achieved in Bahrain,” he said.
“In Bahrain what I witnessed was a reality that we in Britain only talk about.”
At the invitation of HRH the Duke of York, the King Hamad Global Centre’s first International Interfaith Partnership will be signed with St George’s House, solidifying the historic connections between two noble royal houses, The Royal House of Al Khalifa and The Royal House of Windsor.
The Dean of St Georges House Windsor, The Right Reverend David Connor, and the Deputy Chairman of The King Hamad Global Centre, Betsy B Mathieson, will proceed to sign a collaborative agreement.
In his speech, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa thanked on behalf of HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa HRH the Duke of York for hosting the event at the iconic Windsor Palace.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain has been for centuries a centre for dialogue, peaceful coexistence and a shared presence. Our historic location as a trade port and gateway to the East and West has made the Kingdom of Bahrain an open and distinct society with a long tradition of tolerance, rich diversity and tolerance,” he said.
“Modern Bahrain is truly a multi-religious society where mosques, churches, temples, co-exist harmoniously and where different communities live together in peace, mutual acceptance, harmony and understanding. In these days we see in Bahrain the construction of the Cathedral of the Lady, the largest church in the Arabian Peninsula. The church is being built on a plot of land granted by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and adjacent to a new mosque as well. “
Shaikh Fawaz added that he was pleased to welcome all guests to the dialogue on religious diversity and peaceful coexistence through the King Hamad International Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and Interfaith Dialogue.
The ambassador pointed out to the importance of the values of the modern world and to the role they can play to overcome extremism.
“I hope that you will find in this event a wealth of useful information that gives us today better perspectives and opportunities for mutual understanding about our need for dialogue and a common presence to confront international challenges.
In her remarks, Mathieson said that she was pleased with the royal reception at Windsor, stressing that the This Is Bahrain experience was a reflection of the royal philosophy towards a world free of hatred that divides societies on the basis of colour, sect and race.
“Based on this ambitious and forward-looking initiative, there were various stations in a number of capitals for dialogue and discussion and where This Is Bahrain conveyed His Majesty’s philosophy towards a world in which people coexisted with one another in an atmosphere of compassion and love and away from any manifestation of fanaticism, extremism or hatred,” she said.
“Based on such unique efforts aimed at creating a better world of different cultures and civilizations, a chair in the name of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was inaugurated at the University of La Sapinza to teach dialogue, peace, understanding and religions in Rome. This is a great and confident step to teach dialogue, peace and understanding among religions, in various countries of the world, based on a kingdom embodying the human civilization built on the noble values of coexistence between all sects and religions, which have distinguished Bahrain since ancient times.”
The world is in dire need of such great initiatives, which contribute to bringing together religions and sects, spreading a culture of moderation that shuns extremism and fanaticism, she added.
“Societies do need the diversity that has always characterised the Kingdom of Bahrain, a country that has become a global example of coexistence between all, regardless of their different religions, ethnicities, or backgrounds,” she said.
The King’s Chair, which was awarded to the best and most prestigious Italian universities, will contribute to the teaching of young people from different regions of the world about the inherent values that characterize the people of Bahrain, especially in bringing together sects and religions.
“This stems from the profound belief of HM the King in the status of Bahrain as a source of inspiration and as a country that promotes moderation and openness on the world with its cultures, religions, and beliefs.”
As part of such initiatives, the Kingdom of Bahrain Declaration was launched in Los Angeles on September 13, 2017. This Is Bahrain organised the event held under the patronage of HM the King.
”These extraordinary efforts by His Majesty the King contributed to the launch of the King Hamad International Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, which represents a major breakthrough towards a safe world free of hatred and extremism. At the same time, it affirms that Bahrain is the leading and advanced country in spreading the values of tolerance and religious pluralism, that it is home for all those who seek peace and secure coexistence,” she said.
“The establishment of the Centre reflects the social cohesion that characterises the components of Bahrain and represents an outreach to the world through messages of remarkable co-existence in Bahrain. The outreach is also conveyed through cooperation with centres of tolerance and interfaith coexistence and peace in the Middle East and the world. The Centre is a valuable reference for the provision of diverse research information on areas of coexistence among peoples, and for consideration in addressing humanitarian issues.”
A video was screened to brief the audience about the King Hamad International Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, which highlighted HM the King’s vision and philosophy towards a world free of extremism and hatred and that allows the growth of pure generations keen on understanding, love and integration.