The Dialogue Institute, in partnership with Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), launched the Asia Interreligious Development Network (AIDN) with an initial gathering in Hong Kong of 15 Asian scholar-activists from 10 different countries, December 10-12, 2014. The three-year project is funded by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, with participants from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
The AIDN initiative will enable participants to share their visions and accomplishments in the arena of interreligious engagement, and learn from one another so that best practices can be honed and disseminated throughout the region. The purpose of the AIDN is three-fold:
1) To build an effective network of academics and practitioners across Asia (East, Southeast and South Asia) who work in the area of interreligious dialogue, in order to develop and share best practices in the field;
2) To develop curricula for interdisciplinary General Education courses and modules, adapted to the needs of each particular country context, through which the values and skills of interreligious engagement can be taught to undergraduate students; and
3) To publish an edited volume presenting network members’ interreligious projects – challenges overcome, theoretical questions, lessons learned – that will foster wide-scale replication and innovation in the field.
During the initial gathering, participants shared oral presentations of their interreligious dialogue work, including case studies and identifying practices and strategies they've found useful in overcoming obstacles. Over the next two years (through the end of the academic year, 2016-2017), participants are also being asked to launch and complete a pilot project (General Education course or other training module) in their home institution, in consultation with DI/HKBU staff. These projects will inform the final edited volume.
The next gathering will be held again in the Philippines in February of 2016.