(WASHINGTON, DC) - The inauguration ceremony of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was held yesterday in Vienna, Austria. The ceremonial opening was attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of European and International Affairs Dr. Michael Spindelegger, Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dr. José Manuel Garcia-Margallo and members of the board of directors, among others.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered the keynote speech to a distinguished audience of nearly 800 guests including religious, civic and political leaders from around the world.
In 2011, Prince Saud signed an agreement with Dr. Spindelegger and then-Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Trinidad Jiménez García-Herrera to establish the center. Located in Vienna, KAICIID will act as a hub among followers of different religions and cultures, empowering others already working in the field of dialogue and promoting harmony and cooperation.
“It is hoped and desired for the center to be a catalyst for enlightened dialogue which tackles issues of interest to every human community – issues over which costly wars have been fought, bloody conflicts have broken out and crimes have been committed, not to mention, extremism, violence and terror in all its forms and manifestations,” said Prince Saud. “It is our hope that the function of this center would not only be confined to ending conflicts and reinforcing understanding between religions and cultures, but would also involve restoration of commitment to moral values and principles.”
The KAICIID Secretariat is headed by Secretary-General, H.E. Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaammar and Deputy Secretary-General Mrs. Claudia Bandion-Ortner. Members of the board of directors are comprised of high-level representatives of five major world religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism). After its refurbishment, KAICIID will be located at the Palais Sturany at the Schottenring in Vienna’s 1st district. Additional information about the center is available at www.kaiciid.org.