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When they met for the first time, three years ago in Lebanon, Yassine Noui and Mina Atta Boustorous had no idea they would become two among a group of four close friends able to set an example of successful interreligious dialogue for other youth in the Arab world.

Noui and Boustorous, an Algerian PhD researcher in Islamic Sciences and a student from Cairo’s Theological University, now 37 and 27 years old respectively, took part in an interreligious dialogue training organised by KAICIID and followed by participating in the Centre’s Youth Forum a year later in Jordan.

Fighting misconceptions and hatred through interreligious dialogue in Iraq is proving to be an achievable task, as young members of religious minorities targeted by sectarian violence meet with their counterparts from different faith communities to learn about each other with the help of a specialised multi-cultural team.

KAICIID’s “Faith4SDGs” Project showcases the work of faith actors in providing quality education, clean water, renewable energy, jobs, safe housing and ensuring gender equality in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This week, the project is supporting the SDG Global Festival of Action to promote interreligious partnerships around sustainable development and equal opportunity for all.

Father Rifat Bader is an expert in relations between the Catholic Church and the Arab region, as well as a founding member of the KAICIID-supported Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Arab World. He acted as a spokesperson in three papal visits to Jordan and spoke with KAICIID about Pope Francis’ historical visit to Iraq.