1st World Scout Interreligious Symposium - Valencia, Spain
After many years of efforts following the proposal made by Gualtiero Zanolini to the Interreligious Scout Forum (which groups the religious Scout co-ordinations in consultative status with WOSM as well as representatives from other active denominations in Scouting), the dream became a reality: thanks to the energetic and efficient support from Spanish Scouting, in particular from the members of the Movimiento Scout Catolico (MSC), the first World Scout Interreligious Symposium took place in Valencia, Spain, from 29 November to 2 December 2003.
The general conclusions are completed with the reports from the working groups devoted to the theme of the Symposium: Learning to Live Together, Tolerance and Solidarity. It is worth adding that a keynote address on Baden-Powell and Religion was delivered at the opening session by Ambassador Mario Sica. The following day, a lively panel moderated by Mateo Jover, involved special guests from six denominations.
The participants, representing 33 NSOs from five of the six WOSM regions and 12 religious denominations, also had the opportunity to share their experiences and views in working groups, special evening forums, visits to the different religious places of the city of Valencia, and a special programme which took them to the ruin of the old mosque and catholic monastery of Valldigna at an hours drive south of Valencia. During the visit, a superb concert, specially prepared for the Symposium, was offered to the participants by the excellent symphony orchestra of Valldigna. Religious prayers were celebrated every day at the Symposium venue - the Royal Society of Agriculture of Valencia - by the different denominations and all participants attended them independently from their religion of origin.
The support given by the national and local authorities of Spain was great, as well as the financial help received from various fondations and entities which are mentioned in the general conclusions. Marie-Louise Correa and Gualtiero Zanolini represented the World Scout Committee, Therese Birmingham, Chairman of the European Scout Committee was also present, as well as Dr. Yongyudh Vajaradul, member of the Asia-Pacific Scout Committee. The Symposium also offered to our Secretary General-designate, Eduardo Missoni, an excellent opportunity for a first introduction to members and activities of WOSM. Eduardo attended the event on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30.
As for the future, the Symposium confirmed the forthcoming creation of the International Jewish Scout Forum, and of the World Scout Buddhist Brotherhood. It also helped the present European-based Protestant Scout co-ordination (CCGS) to broaden their contacts and envisage the creation of a world-wide link.
Furthermore, the participants accepted with enthusiasm the invitation for a second Symposium to be held in Taiwan in 2006, a third to be held in an Arab country in 2009 and a fourth to be held in Korea in 2012 on the occasion of the celebration of the centenary of Won-Buddhism. Finally, the member organizations or representatives of the World Scout Interreligious Forum (DESMOS, ICCS, IUMS, Judaism, Buddhism and Protestantism) decided to meet in Taiwan in Spring 2004 in view of supporting the preparation of the interreligious programme at the 12th World Scout Moot in August 2004.