Religions and Society in Asia: an International Conference in Chennai (India)

Religions and Society in Asia:

an International Conference in Chennai (India)



     In February 2016, Loyola College (University of Madras) organized a conference on “Religions and Society in Asia Today.” Prof. Benoit Vermander (Fudan School of Philosophy, Xu-Ricci Dialogue Center) was a participant, and his talk introduced the participants to the diversity of the religious landscape of Shanghai.


     The organizers of the conference were Prof. Michael Amaladoss and Vincent Sekhar, who together direct the ‘Institute of Dialogue with Culture and Religion” (IDCR) at Loyola College. IDCR is a close partner of the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Center, as we invited Prof. Amaladoss to our 2011 conference (‘Is Asia Pacific?”) and later on Prof. Sekhar for a talk on India’s religious diversity in 2014. Another participant to the conference who was invited by the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute in 2014 was Prof. Leo Lefebure, of Georgetown University.


     The participants were coming from all over India as well as from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, France and the USA. The focus was on the future of interreligious dialogue in Asia, taking into account a context marked by secularization and increased potential for conflicts. The participants discussed at length approaches to social and cosmic “harmony” found in different Asian traditions, exploring the possibilities that such approaches provide for fostering creative peace-building. They unanimously agreed to reinforce and extend their networking so as to continue to explore the way interreligious dialogue can contribute to peace and harmony in contemporary Asian societies.