The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) together with OSCE Mission in Kosovo organized a two-day visit to Sarajevo on 2 and 3 December 2019 for women from five religious communities and civil society organizations in Kosovo – Islamic, Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Protestant Evangelical.
During the visit, the participants met with the Inter-Religious Council in BiH, which is one of the OSCE’s main partners in promoting inter-religious dialogue. Their discussions focused on the inclusion of women from religious communities in inter-religious dialogue activities.
“There is an emerging consensus around the world that women’s participation in inter-religious dialogue contributes to its quality and durability,” said Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “It seems that dialogue these days is more important than ever and I am happy to see that women lead the way.”
Vaxhide Bunjaku, representative of the Islamic Community in Kosovo, said: “The Islamic Community in Kosovo established a women’s section back in 2005. Its aim is to improve the status of women regardless of their ethnic or religious background, with a particular focus on the promotion of inter-faith dialogue.”
Olivera Jovanović, representative of the Inter-Religious Council of BiH, said: “The Inter-Religious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina has proven to be a very successful model that could be replicated elsewhere. As for the role of women, it is interesting to notice that many of the organizations leading the inter-religious dialogue at a global level have women in top positions.”
The group also met with representatives of other organizations dealing with countering hate speech and violent extremism, and visited five places of worship in Sarajevo: the Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque, the Ashkenazi Synagogue, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the Sacred Heart Cathedral and the Protestant Evangelical Church.