Search for Common Ground organized and hosted a one day policy consultation on Safeguarding Holy Sites for UN and US policy makers and academics on February 27, 2014 in New York. 14 UN missions and US government organizations took part in discussions on the significant role religions play in world affairs and the reciprocal role policymakers can play in supporting inter-religious interests and cooperation to promote peace. Presentations by academics and religious leaders led to practical suggestions by interested policy makers and diplomats on how to support such cooperation.
A consultation on the Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites took place at the Residence Palace in Brussels on December 5, 2014. The event was attended by 25 European representatives, including from the permanent missions of Austria, Serbia and Spain to the EU. Five experts from four organizations (Oslo Centre for Human Rights, Inter- Religious Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Search for Common Ground and Religions for Peace) presented their experiences on working for the Universal Code of Conduct to Protect Holy Sites.
The overall goal of the project is enhanced trust and improved relations between religious and ethnic communities in Bosnia Herzegovina, by improving the protection of religious objects and holy sites in Bosnia Herzegovina. With the support of leaders from all religious denominations, as well as from local communities and the media, the project is well on the way to achieving this goal, showing early indications of success.
The overall goal of the project is enhanced trust and improved relations between religious and ethnic communities in Bosnia Herzegovina, while the main aim of the project is to improve protection of religious objects and holy sites in Bosnia Herzegovina. In this regard the project fulfilled its immediate objectives. As a result of the implemented activities, it contributed to the development of techniques in some local communities, to improve the protection of holy sites in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Search for Common Ground's (SFCG) Jerusalem office, partnering with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Israel, held a day-long conference in Jerusalem on November 18th 2015, entitled "Addressing Interreligious Tensions: Holy Sites in the Holy Land". We hosted religious leaders from the Abrahamic faiths, diplomats, academics and representatives from Israeli authorities, who reflected on recent escalations, discussed the power dynamics of religious majority-minority relations in the Holy Land and the possibility of finding common ground between religious and civic values regarding sacred places.
On May 20th 2014, Search for Common Ground’s (SFCG) Jerusalem office held a day conference in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Israel, entitled "The Trail of Pope Francis – Holy Sites in Jerusalem". The conference took place five days before the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land and drew a packed audience of 108 people including top religious leaders from the Abrahamic faiths, senior European diplomats, academics, and members of the local and international press. Reflecting on changes over the past half century, the conference discussed issues relating to Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, opportunities for inter and intra-faith reconciliation, the vision of the Holy See for Jerusalem and its inhabitants, and the status of Israeli/Vatican relations.
Read this book chapter written by Search for Common Ground’s Jerusalem Co-Director Sharon Rosen, found in Sacred Space in Israel and Palestine, Chapter 11. Edited by Marshall J. Breger, Yitzhak Reiter, and Leonard Hammer. Published by Routledge of New York in 2012.
In Indonesia, holy sites, like houses of worship and other sacred places, are quite often targeted for destruction in religious conflicts and/or they become the center of controversy that leads to then becoming potential targets or sites of violence. Subsequently, SFCG Indonesia conducted research to improve our understanding of the houses of worship and holy sites, including holy site category and complexity of related issues. Field research was conducted in four areas: Manado, Pontianak, Bali, and Bekasi. It applies quantitative and qualitative research method as well.