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Q&A on A World of Neighbours

What is A World of Neighbours, who is behind it and what is its objective? Find the answers to your questions.

What is the programme A world of neighbours – interreligious praxis for peace about?

The programme “A World of Neighbours” aims at strengthening interreligious relations between faith-based actors working with and for 'people on the move' -migrants and refugees - in Europe.

In doing so, we seek to make this work more connected and visible. Furthermore, the programme enhances opportunities for the interreligious community to voice more strongly its ethical, moral and humanitarian concern for refugees in Europe, in the public discourse.

The programme wishes to defend democratic values, promote social and existential sustainability and nurture peaceful coexistence in Europe.

Who is behind the programme?

It is part of the work of the Church of Sweden at national level.

What is the objective of the programme?

The objective is to contribute to peaceful coexistence and a diverse, humane and socially sustainable Europe.

It aims to develop and deepen the Church of Sweden’s relationships with other religious communities and organisations working with and for refugees in Europe, and to help ensure that the work we do together is reinforced, shared and highlighted.

What is happening in the programme at present?

Since spring 2018, more than 150 site visits in eleven countries has been conducted across Europe to study how communities and faith-based organisations work on refugee and migration issues.

Drawing on the learnings from the visits, seven areas important in connection to welcoming people on the move and to promote coexistence have emerged. So far, five working groups our of seven have met to work on a specific topic.

Countries, communities and faith-based organisations visited:

GERMANY:

The Order of Malta, IsraAid, Caritas, the German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Bishop Anba Damian from the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD)

SCOTLAND:

The Scottish Refugee Council, the St. Rollox Church of Scotland, the Mental Health Foundation/Refugee project, Caritas, the UNESCO Chair of Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, Scottish Faith Action for Refugees, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Catholic Justice and Peace Commission/the European Network of Justice and Peace Commission’s working group, the Livingston congregation/the Church of Scotland

UK:

The Catholic Diocese of Salford, Caritas, Revive, the Quakers of Birmingham, St. Chad’s Sanctuary, Restore, Sanctuary Cities, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Church of England, World Jewish Relief, Christian AID, Islamic Relief, Al-Manaar – The Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre

GREECE:

The Evangelical Church of Greece, the Evangelical Church of Greece congregation in Exarchia, “Faros” – home for unaccompanied minors, Project Hope, the Church of Sweden Abroad in Athens, Caritas Hellas HQ, Caritas Athens (Refugee Centre, Social Spot, shelter), Apostoli – humanitarian branch of the Greek Orthodox Church (“Hestia” home for unaccompanied minors, Educational Centre for Refugees and Migrants, soup kitchen and “street church”), Caritas Thessaloniki (Social Spot – education and support for refugees, migrants and Greeks), Diavata refugee camp, Thessaloniki, Project Naomi, Thessaloniki, the Evangelical Church in Katalini – work with refugees.

ITALY:

Diaconia Valdese, Milano (Social spot – support for migrants), the Intercultural Methodist Congregation in Milan (intercultural and integration work in the congregation), the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (including the Italian Lutheran Church), the Italian Methodist Church (Humanitarian corridor), the Papa Giovanni Association, Jesuit Relief Services, the Vatican’s Migrants & Refugees Section, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Sant’Egidio, the Order of Malta, Caritas International, Caritas Italy, Caritas Biella, Jesuit Relief Service International.

HUNGARY:

the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, the Lutheran Congregation in Budapest District 8, the Order of Malta, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Menedék organisation for migrants, Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, Kalunba, Hungarian Interchurch Aid – part of ACT Alliance, the Reformed Church Hungary, the Scottish Mission in Budapest, Sant’Egidio, Caritas Hungary, Hungarian Baptist Aid, the Lutheran Church’s Diaconia, the Organization of Muslims in Hungary, the Swedish Embassy in Budapest, the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship, the International Organization of Migration

POLAND: 

Islamista blog – public education, the Ecumenical Council of Poland, the Polish Migration Forum Foundation, Bread & Salt – grassroots organisation, Ocalenie, Jesuit Refugee Services Poland, the Secretariat of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Poland, the Muslim Cultural Centre in Warsaw, the Polish Helsinki Committee, the Refugee Foundation Poland, Caritas (HQ and Warsaw), the Union of Progressive Jewish Communities in Poland, the Warsaw Progressive Jewish Community  

Who is the programme director?

Anna Hjälm is the programme director of “Interreligiös praktik för fred – En värld av grannar” (A world of neighbours – interreligious praxis for peace). Her mandate includes reinforcing, linking together and highlighting the work that religious actors perform with and for migrants in Europe, and strengthening the interfaith infrastructure regarding this issue in Europe.

Anna Hjälm was educated at Umeå University, where she has also conducted research and taught in fields such as population issues. In 2011 she defended her PhD thesis in social and economic geography. 

Between 2013 and 2016 Anna Hjälm worked for the Church of Sweden as an ecumenical officer, posted at the office of the World Council of Churches in Jerusalem. In recent years she has worked on public education issues in the Middle East team at the Central Church Office in Uppsala.