The Department of Religious Studies of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has organised the 3rd International Conference on Religion and National Development. The two-day conference held at the IDL Conference Centre was under the theme; ‘Inter-Religious Dialogue and Global Peace’. The conference saw diverse religious leaders in Christianity, Islam and Hindu.
Reverend Prof. Kuwornu-Adjaottor, the Head of Department of Religious Studies in his welcome address said the idea of religion apart from the belief that it brings humanity closer to God, is also about promoting peace and nurturing fellow-feeling among human beings. This, he said is in line with the theme of the conference.
He added that religion has a social dimension which can be harnessed to promote development in Ghana and scholars in religion.
The speech of the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei-Mensah was delivered by Mr. Clement Obeng Addai, the Assistant Director of the Regional Coordinating Council. He noted that the level of development of every country is affected by many factors, including religion, which is very vital. He continued that the responsibility that religion shares in human societies are realised in different aspects of life and helps to conquer fears and instil hope in our very existence. Religion, he said, has the capacity to be the medium both in positive and negative events in human history including inciting wars, racism, peace and development.
According to Mr. Obeng, as a nation seeking to develop into a full middle-income status, unity based on partnerships and synergies between religious bodies is a safe path to accelerate national development. He expressed hope that the conference would promote inter religious dialogue for national and global peace and help solve the many conflicts over the world that arise through religious differences.
Professor Eugenia Amporfu, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences expressed gratitude to the organisers for the good work being carried out to enhance the image of the Department and the Faculty. Prof. Ampofo mentioned that in recent times, inter-religious dialogue is gaining importance globally, and this she said is due to its goal of building bridges among different religious groups to promote respect, tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
Rev. Dr. Johnson Mbillah, the immediate past General Secretary for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa who was the guest speaker made some general reflections on the theme. At the governmental level, he stated that the promotion of inter-religious dialogue for global peace must be accompanied by recognition that global world requires a global action. This he believes is important since global religions have local presence that enables negative local actions across religions.
He urged religions and government to take seriously the growing politicisation of religion which has the tendency to jeopardise world peace.