When I watch the news and I see our world on fire, with refugee crises, xenophobia, terrorism, war, and extreme poverty tearing lives apart, I worry. I worry about the future. I worry for our children. I dream of seeing a more harmonious world for us and for our children, built upon mutual respect for one another. To put balm on my wounded hopes, I was honoured to be invited by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal to Jordan’s Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) in Amman, Jordan for a round table discussion titled, “Religions and the Dignity of Life: Christian and Muslim Viewpoints”. RIIFSis directed by my dear friend, Dr Majeda Omer, and is under the patronage of HRH Prince Hassan. Participants in the dialogue included such senior scholars as Professor Hichem Grissa, President of Ez Zitouna University, Tunis. Other Muslim leaders present included His Eminence Sheikh Husein Kavazovic, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Professor Jabber Al Refae, Director of the Center for the Study of the Philosophy of Religion in Baghdad, Professor Mohammad Ali Azar from University of Tehran, Iran, His Excellency Dr. Khalil bin Abdullah from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman Gulf Embassy for Studies and others. A number of senior Catholic leaders were also invited for the dialogue. These figures included: Miguel Ayuso, head of Catholic Delegation who joined us from the Vatican, Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, Bureau Chief for Islam, both from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Mons. Mauro Lalli, Apostolic Nunciature, Jordan, Msgr. Bernard Munono from the Vatican to promote Human Development, Dr. Paola Bernardini, Professor Department of Philosophy and Global Perspectives, Notre Dame, USA, Dr. Youssef Kamal El-Hage amongst many others. With current political leaders leading the world in a direction that confuses and angers the youth, we all need to seek out and promote positive role models in order to give them hope and clear moral leadership For two days, we talked about the challenges we each face in our own faith and communities. Furthermore we discussed efforts for common action for the sustainability of human dignity, mutual respect and citizenship in an interconnected world. Additionally, in light of the ongoing refugee crises as well as those of human trafficking and global warming we agreed that there was a need for an ethic of reunification of human beings and a strategic implementation of such an ethic. Theological discourse took place regarding the pathways to Rahma(mercy). After all, God is Rehman and Rahim, His Prophets are Rehmat al Alamin — mercy to all of humanity, and He loves those who show mercy to others. How do we then serve and empathize with all of humanity, not just our own kind, at the expense of other communities and their dignity? From a pragmatic perspective, we also asked ourselves, how do we turn to inclusive policy? To social cohesion? We reflected on the need to embrace intellectual diversity, as humans will always disagree by nature on various matters, including sacred texts. It was put forward that a principle of our survival is to study the other, as the Quran calls on Muslims “to know” the other on the basis of knowledge and compassion. The Quran also states that if you want peace, work for universal justice. Importantly, we also must work to support our young people if we are to foster dialogue and understanding in this world, as the future rests in their hands.With current political leaders leading the world in a direction that confuses and angers the youth, we all need to seek out and promote positive role models in order to give them hope and clear moral leadership. From within the context of this conference, there are two leaders who I would point out are leading examples of figures embodying compassion and mercy. One is Pope Francis,who showed great humility when he washed the feet of female Muslim refugees — St Francis is a profoundly caring saint who gave up his wealth and family to love and care for humanity and the earth. The other, HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan, who has always encouraged bridge building and deeper understanding between communities locked in conflict. His work has led to the eradication of many divides.Both believe that we should all stand with the persecuted beyond our own religious affiliations because they are our brothers and sisters in humanity. This, they have said, is our present-day challenge. To conclude the conference, an MoU was signed by RIIFS with the Vatican, the Ez Zaitouna University and with the Centre for Dialogue and Action (CD&A), Pakistan.The Declaration stated that, “The young generations need to be educated on the respect of the Creation and the dignity of life…the idea of an ethical code to be taught at schools merits thorough study.” The youth indeed are the next nexus of human security and dignity and this is one area we will all focus on together Insh’Allah. The writer is Editor, Centre for Dialogue and Action. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, August 1st 2018.