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The event was opened in the presence of national and international journalists and news agencies at the Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand Hotel and proceeded with its closing session at the LAU campus in Jbeil. The conference built on our previous international conference in 2012 on “Religion and Democracy in Europe and the Arab World”, where participants emphasized the need for a paradigm shift in the role of religions in the public domain.
The conference aimed at creating a forum for different sectors of society to reflect on how to actualize definitions of political values and norms in Muslim and Christian discourse on the one hand, and to explore and promote dialogue about these values from different worldviews on the other hand. This exploration is meant not only from an interfaith perspective but also from a public and scholarly perspective, where religions are invited to operate a shift from a normative discourse, and to endorse a dialogical role as part of the diverse society. In doing so, the Conference sought to put recent scholarship in social and political philosophy in more direct conversation with social and political theology, in Christianity and Islam specifically, and to confront both with questions and recommendations from leaders and policy makers active in the public domain. The event hosted around 30 international scholars in political and social sciences, as well as Muslim and Christian theologians and policy-makers from 17 countries around the world. A report and summary of the conference is to be produced by Adyan Foundation in 2015.