The Council of Europe, one of the largest international defenders of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, invited the European Union of Jewish Students to Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) on 1-3 November 2015. The event that took place in Sarajevo was the Council of Europe's annual exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue, with this year's theme being "building inclusive societies together".
Various representatives from civil society organizations had the opportunity to exchange their views at a 36-hour conference, during which high profile professionals presented findings regarding radicalization, education and religious and non-religious beliefs in the public space.
Hosting this event in Sarajevo had symbolic value due to Sarajevo's war torn past. However, despite its political challenges Sarajevo has been the home of many cultures. It is a city where different religions are openly celebrated, and where its inhabitants find strength in the city's historical richness.
Karin Flieswasser was there on behalf of EUJS to raise concerns for the current resurgence of antisemitism in Europe in relation to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. In the light of inclusion and integration, international organizations and civil society organizations are requested to respect, identify and act upon Jewish communities' rights to remain a vital part of contemporary Europe. It is also important that European actors promote these values to their political counterparts in the Middle East.
At the event, Karin met with Rabbi René Gutman (Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg) and Rabbi Andrew Baker (American Jewish Congress), as well as with the secretariat of the Council of Europe, ambassadors to the Council of Europe and a number of religious and humanist civil society organizations.