The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, inaugurated the II Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Encounter, alongside the Secretariat of the Pontifical Council of Interreligious Dialogue, Monsignor Miguel Ángel Ayuso, and other high religious authorities in all of Latin America.
President Michelle Bachelet, on her part, sent a welcoming video on which it was highlighted Chile's respect for human rights and religious freedom. "I believe the participation of over 60 representatives of different countries and religious organizations that are received in Chile with the affection and regard of our brothers, without consideration of their belief or religion, is very relevant", she said.
This meeting was encouraged by Pope Francis on 2016 in the Vatican and in that opportunity the central topic was the Papal Encyclical "Laudato Si", document where the Pope analyzes the global situation, emphasizing the protection of the environment and the need to protect, what he calls "our common home". At the end of said encounter, Chile committed to host and organizing the second session in the city of Santiago. "Today we are fulfilling that commitment", declared Minister Muñoz on his opening speech.
The head of Chilean diplomacy highlighted that "in the times we are living, this encounter seems more relevant than ever and a good way to prepare the environment to receive the Holy Father in Chile, as it was he who has advocated for this interreligious dialogue and for the encounter between cultures in hopes of finding a way to peace, reconciliation, tolerance, all of which are fundamental objectives of this second encounter. In the same way, he explained that this colloquium is "much more transcendental when there are expressions of fanaticism that are fighting to impose their points of view though intolerance, violence and terror".
The Minister pointed out that the topic of migration in our "common home", to which the Pope refers to in his Encyclical, has been added. "A wave of migrants has been arriving to Europe over the past years and the situation has been aggravated in the region and in our country. It is a very appropriate discussion to have now that the government has entered a migration bill to organize our legal regulation in this matter", he manifested.
On his part, the Secretariat of the Pontifical Council of Interreligious Dialogue, Monsignor Miguel Ángel Ayuso, affirmed that "the dialogue is not something optional in our common home, it is a vital necessity of which depends a great part of our future".
The encounter was divided on four thematic sessions. The activity began with "Dialogue in America, our common home" with the participation of the Director de Chile's Diplomatic Academy and the Papal member of the Council of Justice and Peace, Ambassador Juan Somavía, and it was moderated by the Chilean Ambassador in the Holy See, Mariano Fernandez; then, "Ethical Code for the dialogue on Democratic coexistence: Chilean experience on Interreligious Dialogue", moderated by the Rabbi Daniel Zang, president of the Chilean Association of Interreligious Dialogue (ADIR); in third place, "Migrations, in light of the Sustainable Development Goals – 2030 Agenda" with the participation of Father Lauro Bocchi, representative of the Chilean Catholic Institute on Migration (INCAMI), Daniel Godoy, Dean of the Chilean Theological Evangelical Community and moderated by the Chilean Ambassador in Argentina, José Antonio Viera-Gallo.