Areas of focus

Interreligious dialogue

Many regard religions as the root cause of conflicts. Yet there are many examples of how religions can advance the cause of peace. In many regions of the world, religions and churches are peacemakers that play a key role in easing tensions. Religions often have a profound influence on people and politics. We live in a time in which social change processes are highly dynamic. People look to these processes for orientation and a sense of security. Religions can provide this, but they can be as much a part of the problem as of the solution. All too often they are misused as a tool of political power. At the same time, many representatives of the church and other religions strive for reconciliation and peace in conflicts. But how can religions promote peaceful coexistence? The answer is to enter into a dialogue and continue to pursue it – and to pull together with concrete action in the interests of the common good and peace.

Religion is not necessarily the problem, nor is it inherently a source of conflict. At their core, all religions convey a message of peace.

Matthias Eder, CPS development worker in Kenya

Respect for other religions

Interreligious dialogue is guided by the conviction that both respect for other religions and learning from each other form the basis for a peaceful coexistence of religious communities. CPS development workers from AGIAMONDO support the Christian partner organisations that facilitate and support the peace process.

A dialogue between religions

In recognition of the immense importance of religion in societies, AGIAMONDO is expanding its focus on the area of interreligious dialogue. CPS development workers and staff of partner organisations explore the requisite conditions for interreligious dialogue and develop concepts and strategies to achieve it. AGIAMONDO is increasingly able to support interreligious networks that emerge in the partner countries. Another task is to integrate an interreligious awareness, not only into educational systems in general, but more importantly to anchor this in clerical training to teach tolerance and the potential for people to pool their efforts.

Dealing with the violence of the past and reconciliation

The experience of injustice and violence has a profound impact on the lives of the people and societies concerned. These inequities of the past and the present shape the future of a society and influence the way people live together. If peace is to flourish again and people are to come to terms with traumatising events, it is essential that victims are provided with long-term support. Furthermore, societies need to gain a deep understanding of how they can face and cope with a past that is marred by violence and injustice. Remembrance work helps people and societies stricken by violence to reclaim and strengthen their ethnic, religious and cultural identities. Places of remembrance, such as memorials, play a very important role in this process.

Civil society and church involvement

Church and civil society organisations have considerable resources and potential to restore truth, memory and justice, and to deal with injury and loss. They are generally the first and most important points of contact for victims, especially in the most dire of circumstances, and this steadfastness in the face of adversity has earned them trust and respect. Through a variety of programmes, they support victims and enable them to deal appropriately with the perpetrators of injustice. These organisations offer people a means of embracing their identity – above and beyond all political and ethnic boundaries. They can foster trust and the ability to engage in dialogue, thus helping to build bridges between those affected and diverse groups in society.

As religious institutions, church organisations take seriously the spiritual needs that are central to people who have been exposed to violence and are seeking to come to terms with grief, healing and reconciliation.

From theatre to reintegration and recollection

There are many aspects to dealing with a violent past. CPS development workers support efforts such as theatre projects that encourage victims and give them a voice again. Working hand in hand with local organisations, they build places of remembrance and contribute to the restoration of collective memories. They help in the search for missing family members and support society with the reintegration of violent perpetrators. In addition, they advise the partners on documenting and truth-finding as well as on representing victims’ interests in the historical and legal process of coming to terms with the violence.


In many crisis regions, people have little or no influence on political and social decision-making processes. This silencing of their voices hinders the constructive and non-violent resolution of conflicts. To achieve effective conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation, church and civil organisations involved in peace work constructively engage political and social groups. They are called upon (Greek: advocare, to call upon) and assume the role of advocates for these marginalised people.

The peace workers take a stand for the victims and draw attention to violations of human rights. It is important to continue with our work together.

Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro, Colombia

What does advocacy work entail?

Church and non-denominational organisations involved in advocacy work are essential to an engaged civil society. They assert the rights of disadvantaged groups and individuals, inform the public on issues of conflict, support victims of armed conflicts in court and in their interactions with institutions, document acts of violence and assist in establishing the truth. They also initiate communication campaigns, provide programmes aimed at promoting democracy and educate the local population politically.

Supporters and facilitators

AGIAMONDO international CPS development workers support the work of advocacy partners by advising on organisational development, providing training and education, strengthening networking and initiating dialogues with political and social stakeholders. Throughout this process, they work on behalf of local partner organisations as staff members integrated into a team of local development workers.

This work by the advocacy partners in the Global South is supported by the AGIAMONDO Head Office in Germany, in particular by participating in political networks and other advocacy activities.