Bridges of Faith

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Bridges of Faith: Fostering interreligious integration of migrants and refugees in Portugal

Abrir Caminho and Blanquerna Observatory came together to think on a set of activities able to promote interreligious dialogue and to raise awareness regarding the religious challenges faced by refugees and migrants arriving in a new community. As two institutions whose work complements each other, we join MEERU’s expertise in bringing dialogue and proximity into the hosting process of refugees and migrants as a means for more integrated communities; and Blanquerna Observatory’s knowledge and experience in the field of journalism and communications, with specific focus on the reality of migration and interreligious movements and actions.

By implementing Bridges of Faith between November 2023 and May 2024, we will be exploring and emphasizing the significance of faith and religious integration within hosting communities for refugees and migrants, as well as creating time and space for interreligious dialogue and interactions within MEERU’s community. Through a series of thought-provoking activities and events, the project aims to foster understanding, dialogue, and social cohesion among a diverse refugee, migrant and local community, as well as to raise awareness of the religious challenges faced by migrants and refugees when arriving in a new country.

Project objectives:

OBJECTIVE 1: Promote interreligious dialogue, understanding and cooperation among a diverse refugee and migrant community through the creation of two interfaith events where religious leaders, the local community and refugees or migrants exchange their religious experiences. 

  • Organize and implement an interfaith prayer event, based on an innovative methodology and thoroughly thought out activity plan, that brings together religious leaders, the local community and refugees and migrants to share and learn about different religious practices, fostering understanding and respect for diverse beliefs and celebrate common values together. 
  • Organize and implement an interfaith roundtable that promotes dialogue between migrants and refugees, addressing relevant issues related with faith, religious integration and religious challenges in the local community.

OBJECTIVE 2: Raise awareness of the religious challenges faced by a diverse migrants and refugees community through a journalistic report that captures both their statements and those of experts in the field, as well as emphasizes the role of faith and religious understanding in creating inclusive and harmonious societies.

  • Identify the religious challenges and needs of migrants and refugees arriving in Portugal by taking valuable insights of the dialogues generated during the interfaith events and by conducting in-depth interviews with members of this community and experts in the field of assistance to migrants and refugees.
  • Prepare a media report and a short documentary that effectively communicates the religious challenges and needs faced by the migrant and refugee community arriving in Portugal, incorporating the perspectives of both community members and experts in the field.

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