Twenty-eight Muslim students from Cambridge Muslim College and from the Centre of Islamic Theology, Tübingen University, were in Rome for an intensive program in interreligious dialogue. The program, which ran from 9 May through to 14 May, was coordinated by The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas. The purpose of the six-day program was to build bridges of peace and understanding through friendship and dialogue. It also offered an opportunity for the Muslim university students to explore the city’s ancient past and to develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church, its art and culture. It included visits to the Vatican and its museums, in particular the Sistine Chapel. The students also visited with religious communities and attended a general audience with Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square.
The students also participated at an conference with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, who spoke on the theme, “Creating a Culture of Peace: What Can Religions Do?” German Ambassador to the Holy See Annette Schavan and British Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker also weighed in on the issue. The conference that addressed the role of religions in peace making was organized by The Lay Centre.