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What is A world of neighbours – interfaith practices for peace about?
It is a programme that aims to facilitate joint international and interfaith accountability for refugees. Networks are now being formed and the experiences of various religious actors collected. A meeting has been planned for February 2021, to be hosted by the Archbishop. It will highlight how religious communities and related organisations are working for and with refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and IDPs in Europe and the Middle East.
Who is behind the programme?
The programme is part of the work of the Church of Sweden at national level.
What is the objective of the programme?
The Church of Sweden’s objective with the programme is to contribute to peaceful coexistence and a diverse, humane and socially sustainable Europe.
The programme aims to develop and deepen the Church of Sweden’s relationships with other religious communities and organisations working with and for refugees in Europe. It aims to help ensure that the work we do together is reinforced, shared and highlighted.
The hope in Sweden is that, in collaboration with the dioceses, the programme will contribute to a society that is characterised by social cohesion and defends basic democratic values.
What is happening in the programme at present?
During 2018 programme director Anna Hjälm is visiting actors in several countries to study how communities and faith-based organisations work on refugee and migration issues, mainly regarding what practical initiatives are being taken but also what advocacy work is being conducted.
So far, visits have been made to the following countries, communities and faith-based organisations:
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 – interfaith practices 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.