The 3rd Vienna International Christian-Islamic Summer University 2012 again took place in Stift Altenburg, lasted from 1 to 21 July 2012 and was able to welcome 43 students from universities in many different European and non-European countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa and Austria. The academic programme consisted of lectures and tutorials and dealt with “Introduction to Islam (Mualla Selcuk, Turkey), “Introduction to Christianity / Christian Social Ethics” (Ingeborg Gabriel, Austria), “Introduction to International Law / Islam and International Law” (Irmgard Marboe, Austria), “Religious Pluralism” (Fatimah Husein, Indonesia), “Islam and Human Rights” (Ann Mayer, USA), “Gender and Religion” (Barazangi/Albrecht, USA/Germany), “Islamic Law” (Mathias Rohe, Germany), “Religious Minorities” (Javaid Rehman, GB), “Religion and the State” (Stefan Hammer, Austria).
In addition, round tables and discussions took place in the evenings. Zekirija Seijdini, the spokesperson of the Islamic Religious Community in Austria, talked about “Islam and Austria”, Prof. Salifu Kantanfe from Ghana spoke about the situation in his country, and Dr. Angelika Walser gave an evening lecture on “Gender and Religion from Christian Perspective”. Prof. Manfred Nowak (University of Vienna) and an Iranian delegation visited the Summer University in the framework of the “Academic Austro-Iranian Human Rights Talks” and participated in a round table on “Religion and the State – Unity or Separation?” Janet Lim from the UNHCR spoke about the role of religion in relation to refugees problems, and Prof. Andreas Bsteh, the founder of the Summer University, recapitulated the beginnings of the interreligious dialogue initiatives in Austria. Father Michael, responsible for guest relations, gave a guided tour through the Abbey of Altenburg and the Garden of the Religions.
On 12 July, Abbot Christian Haidinger and the community of the abbey of Altenburg invited all the participants of the Summer University as well as prominent guests from Vienna and Lower Austria to a celebratory summer reception. The extracurricular programme was complemented by an excursion to the abbey of Melk and a boat trip on the Danube, a visit to the castle of Rosenburg as well as a number of social events, such as a multicultural talent show, an intercultural dinner and a number of sporting activities.
The last days of the Summer University took place in Vienna where the students received their certificates of participation by Vice-Rector Christa Schnabl of the University of Vienna. They visited the city, including the main building of the University of Vienna and the United Nations, and were invited to a reception in the Vienna City Hall and a farewell party in a Viennese restaurant.
The Vienna International Christian-Islamic Summer University 2012 was organised by the University of Vienna and mainly funded by the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research (BMWF). Additional sponsoring was provided by the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMeiA), the Dreikönigsaktion (Austrian Childrens’ Charity Fund), the Province of Lower Austria and the City of Vienna.
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