The International Progress Organization and the Dialogue among Civilizations and Religions (1972-2012)

A Report by Hans Köchler, Founder and President, International Progress Organization, presented at the 10th Doha Interfaith Dialogue Conference “Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue” on April 24, 2013

In the more than 40 years since its foundation, the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.) has focused its work on global peace through dialogue between civilizations and religions. In 1972, in the era of the East-West conflict, we sent a letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), suggesting the holding of an international conference on “the dialogue between different civilizations.” In 1974 we organized an international conference on inter-cultural co-operation as a basis of peaceful co-existence among nations, which was followed by a series of initiatives in the field of Muslim-Christian relations in Europe and worldwide. In 1981, the I.P.O. held a first international gathering of Muslim and Christian scholars on “The Concept of Monotheism in Islam and Christianity.” The paper describes how the I.P.O. created a global network of contacts in more than 70 countries, it reflects on the organization’s efforts to work out a set of principles of inter-cultural hermeneutics, and it analyzes the “transformations of dialogue” which we have witnessed from the era of the Cold War to today’s process of globalization.

Read the Report