“Searching for Peace – Towards a Culture of Nonviolence” – Seminar in the context of the 101st “Katholikentag” in Münster
With a very lively group of 46 scholars from 23 countries, KAAD once again participated in the Katholikentag as one of its seminars. The Katholikentag is the Catholic Convention of Germany, organized every two years by the Lay Council of Catholics (ZdK).
Due to the ecclesiastic partnership with (northern) Ghana, the host city of Münster was a special place for the KAAD. The Katholikentag in Münster was the 101st of its kind and took place from the 9th until the 13th of May. The KAAD seminar in the context of the Katholikentag was led by Dr. Marko Kuhn, Head of Department at KAAD, and KAAD chaplain P. Prof. Dr. Thomas Eggensperger OP. The assistant to the General Secretariat, Dorit Raderschatt, the assistant to the Africa Department, Miriam Roßmerkel and the Head of the Middle East Department, Dr. Nora Kalbarczyk, were also part of the KAAD team.
Themed “Searching for Peace – Towards a Culture of Nonviolence”, the seminar group visited various events of the Katholikentag on topics such as the worldwide Christian-Islamic dialogue, the socio-political conflicts in the Near and Middle East, as well as the difficult situation of Germany as an actor and mediator in the current politically tensed situation on the globe.
In addition, the KAAD also appeared with three self-organized podiums:
- “Africa and Europe – a common future in a just world?” At the request of the program coordination of the Katholikentag.
- “Searching for peace through dialogue of religions – Living together in Northern Ghana” in cooperation with the diocese of Münster (Ecclesiastic partnership with Ghana) and
- “Opportunities in the home country to combat the causes of migration. The example of Ghana and its migratory flows”. Also in cooperation with the diocese of Münster (Ecclesiastic partnership with Ghana).
These podiums were also marked by specially invited international guests. All podiums received large audience attention due to their political topicality and the prominent participants, which was evident in overcrowded halls and always stimulating discussions. On the podiums the German Development Minister Dr. Gerd Müller, Peter Cardinal Turkson (Vatican / Ghana), Auxiliary Bishop Stephan Zekorn (Münster), Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide (University of Münster) and Dr. Nora Kalbarczyk (KAAD) among others discussed with invited bishops from Ghana, an Imam from northern Ghana and three African scholars / alumni of the KAAD.
This also inspired the seminar group to engage in lively discourse and reflect on global interreligious dialogue and global developmental issues. The reflection rounds in the course of the seminar turned out to be of great benefit as they not only served as a retreat for the group from the hustle and bustle of the Katholikentag events, but also always helped to clarify matters.
Lively and in its full diversity, the KAAD also presented itself in other smaller program contributions: a prayer service prepared by KAAD scholars, which was organized together with the Cusanuswerk and a presentation of the ecclesiastic partnerships of the Diocese of Münster, where the Ghanaian scholars sang, danced and appeared as panelists. In this occasion, the Ghanaian KAAD group represented the lively partnership of Northern Ghana with the Diocese of Münster, which was the center of attention on the Katholikentag and was also celebrated with other invited guests from Ghana.
Embedded in the colorful landscape of the “Lebenswelten Studium” of the KSHG Münster, KAAD was also represented with a booth, within which KAAD informed about its scholarship work and its global networks. Here, the seminar participants also took the opportunity to tell interested visitors about their studies and their home countries.
The seminar group also participated in other major Katholikentag events, with scholars being especially impressed by the religious and spiritual community of Christians at the opening and closing worship services in the form of large open air mass. The participants expressed that this experience of oneness in faith has been a unique, faith-strengthening and invigorating experience for them. Many participants of the seminar reported on their enthusiasm for this spiritual experience and at the same time on their sensitization and knowledge gain concerning domestic and global political events. This was certainly due to the very political and current topic of the Katholikentag this year – the search for peace in a highly complex and precarious world situation.