April 25, 2010
Religious Dialogue and the Quest for Peace in the Holy Land
If a peace settlement is to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, religious leaders will have to play a vitally important role. Since the mid-1990s, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders have been working to build trust within and across their communities in the region -- mainly outside the media spotlight. Rev. Dr. Trond Bakkevig of the Church of Norway has been central to those efforts. Since 2005 he has convened the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, which includes the most important religious institutions in Israel and the Palestinian territories: The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the Meeting of the Heads of Church in the Holy Land, and Muslims appointed by the President of the Palestinian Authority. In his talk, Rev. Bakkevig discussed the accomplishments and prospects of the Council and other efforts to foster religious dialogue and peace in the Holy Land.
Rev. Canon & Dr Trond Bakkevig is a pastor of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway. Born in 1948, Bakkevig has a doctorate in theology from the University of Oslo (1979). From 1987-88, he was personal adviser to the Norwegian state minister of foreign affairs, and from 1984-93 general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Foreign Relations. From 1993 to 2000, he served as pastor of the Röa parish in Oslo; he is currently dean of Vestre Aker, a grouping of eleven Oslo city parishes. Since 1996, Bakkevig has facilitated dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jewish religious leaders in Palestine/Israel. This has also involved extensive contacts with political and religious leaders in that area and in other parts of the Middle East. He is currently the convenor of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land – which is composed of the main religious institutions of Israel and the Palestinian Areas: The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Bishops and Bishoprics of Jerusalem, and Muslims appointed by the President of the Palestinian Authority.