The Muslim Council of Elders in 2023: Exceptional Efforts to Empower Youth and Enhance Their Capacities to Bear the Torch of Hope and Peace Globally

Throughout 2023, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the Muslim Council of Elders dedicated itself to empowering the youth, enhancing their capabilities to become harbingers of hope and peace worldwide. This commitment aligns with the Council’s vision to instill and reinforce human values, peaceful coexistence, and tolerance among young people, shaping them as future leaders.

One of the Council’s significant initiatives in 2023 was the successful organization of the second edition of the Emerging Peacemakers Forum in July, held in Geneva, Switzerland. This event, in collaboration with the World Council of Churches and the Rose Castle Foundation, provided a global platform for 50 young men and women from 24 countries. They collaborated on developing innovative, sustainable solutions for fostering peace in societies and launching national and regional peace-making initiatives and projects, as well as promoting values of tolerance and human fraternity.

The Forum solidified a pioneering approach among youth for constructive engagement with global issues and challenges, including climate change. Participants planted an olive tree as a call for environmental peacemakers to protect life on the Earth. They also sent a message of hope to the COP28 Presidency, emphasizing the urgent need for collective and serious action to address the climate crisis and the necessity of involving all societal groups in climate action, including youth, indigenous peoples, and religious leaders.

The role of youth was prominently highlighted in the dialogue sessions hosted by the Faith Pavilion at COP28, the first-of-its-kind initiative in the history of the Conferences of the Parties. Organized by the Muslim Council of Elders in cooperation with the COP28 Presidency, the UAE Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, and the United Nations Environment Programme, these sessions highlighted youth’s efforts and fruitful initiatives in facing the existential threat of climate change.

In its commitment to supporting promising youth initiatives, the Emerging Peacemakers Forum launched a global competition aimed at fostering innovation and encouraging young people to develop effective solutions and transform them into sustainable projects addressing the climate crisis in their communities. The competition featured categories like ‘climate change and climate justice’, ‘capacity building in climate education and training’, and ‘the role of religions in climate action’. It celebrated four exceptional projects as winners, selected from 50 submissions spanning 11 countries worldwide.

As part of its efforts to promote the values of human fraternity, tolerance, and coexistence among youth, the Council launched, in collaboration with Georgetown University, the Global Student Human Fraternity Dialogues program. This program aims to acquaint university students with the values of human fraternity, forming an international network and platform for students to share creative ideas for promoting interfaith and intercultural solidarity in societies.

Inspired by the Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity, co-signed by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, and His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, in 2019, the Global Student Dialogues provides an opportunity for students to engage in meaningful discussions on the crucial humanitarian values and issues, featuring engagement and support from youth worldwide. 

Committed to supporting youth on various fronts, the Muslim Council of Elders actively participated in numerous youth events and initiatives, including the ‘Peace Ambassadors’ camp organized by the Arab Youth Center in Abu Dhabi. The Council emphasized the need to create a generation of Arab youth capable of carrying the message of tolerance, coexistence, and building a better future for humanity. Furthermore, the Council launched a Ramadan program in 2023 to highlight youth efforts in peace-making and shed light on positive global models that have contributed to advancing peace in their communities.

Looking ahead to 2024, the Muslim Council of Elders will continue to support and mentor the youth, fostering cultural and religious communication, and inspiring the exchange of ideas that promote peaceful coexistence. The Council is dedicated to building informed and aware generations, capable of effectively spreading values of dialogue, tolerance, and human coexistence, shaping a more harmonious global community.



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