On May 29, 2023, MEPEI’s President, Mr. Flavius CABA-MARIA, was invited as a speaker at the roundtable discussion organized by the Institute for Faith-based Diplomacy Romania (IFBD), led by Mr. Cristian DAVID. The event was organized in one of the halls of the Romanian Senate, in the building of the Palace of the Parliament.
The event was focused on the presentation of some potential aspects of the reconstruction process of Ukraine after the end of the war started by Russia by identifying and preparing all the mechanisms that will be able to support the post-conflict reconciliation process and that of mitigating the inherent social tensions that follow crisis situations.
With the presence of Rev. Brian COX, President of IFBD USA, the event gathered experts from the religious and secular sectors, namely security, since one of the ideas of underlined during the event was the inherent connection between religion, as part of the national identity (especially for countries in the Eastern European region and mainly, Christian Orthodox ones, a heritage of the Byzantium), and the issue of security overall. As such, the discussion of the present debate was organized on two pillars: a religious one and a secular one, based on the speakers’ professional and personal experiences.
In his speech, Rev. Brian COX highlighted the idea that faith-based diplomacy has been used in the Balkans and Eastern Europe region for about 35 years and as a complementary element in conflict resolution in states or regions such as Sudan, Kashmir, Syria, Israel, Palestine and Jordan. According to what was presented, diplomacy through faith aims to connect not only the religious communities in the states in conflict, but also to open the way for communication and collaboration with the state authorities and the political community of a state in the process of peace or social justice. These are core values for the political community and political leaders. Therefore, religious values are important and facilitate paradigm shifts in conflict zones. For Russia, religion is a fundamental pillar of society, manifested during its entire history and its role in the current conflict is substantial, due to the influence in the political sphere, much more different than the Ukrainian approach.
However, in general, religion can be invoked in pro-war arguments, thus emotionally influencing the course of action. At the same time, religion must be one of the means by which a crisis can be completed, aiming at Christian reconciliation. And Romania can contribute decisively, in the future, in this reconciliation process, regardless of religion.
This whole crisis is an opportunity for help among Christians. Reconciliation and then reconstruction are essential to resolving the consequences of the crisis.