Article and photos by Amy Quirk
The historic COP28 Faith Pavilion drew together people of many faiths. Some came for panel discussions. Some came for respite from negotiations. For all, it was an oasis within Dubai. The Friday, December 8, 2023 program, “Faith, Youth and COP28,” drew me.
The moderator was Abdulla Al Shehhi, Acting Executive Director of the Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith home for a mosque, a church and a synagogue.
The panelists represented viewpoints from the perspectives of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
HE Omar Saif Ghobash, Advisor to the United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to the Holy See, spoke about his hopes for continuing Muslim dialogue on care for creation. He also discussed his publication, “Letters to a Young Muslim.”
Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Arab Emirates, highlighted the need to address the loss and damage experienced by youth living in particularly vulnerable parts of the world.
Rabbi David Rosen, English-Israeli Special Advisor to the Abrahamic Family House, offered perspective. He sees hope in the increasing interfaith collaborations, as exemplified by the Faith Pavilion at COP28. Rabbi Rosen was honored by Queen Elizabeth ll for his distinguished career in “promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.”
The opportunity to speak informally with each other before and after the panel presentation enhanced the experience of being in the Faith Pavilion.