Consanguinity in the Land of a Billion

The International Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue (ICID) was established by Professor Mario Aguilar, Omar Ali, and Grace Dau in September 2016 to continue spreading the message of The Declaration on a Shared Humanity beyond Scotland once the St Andrews Year of Interfaith Dialogue ended. Recently, the ICID spent 10 days journeying across India – from Delhi to Varanasi to Dharemsala – to develop its understandings and insights on the Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, and Christian faiths and their interactions in the eastern world.

After the Delhi lectures, we were given the unique opportunity to view a private collection of works by the famed artist Chittaprosad Bhattacharya, who documented the Bengal Famine of 1943. In Varanasi, we toured Buddhist pilgrimage sights in Sarnath before partaking in the nightly Ganges Fire Ceremony performed by 12 priests before an audience of thousands of Hindu devotees. In Dharemsala, we visited a nunnery supported by Professor Aguilar's Milarepa Foundation and had an exclusive tour of Men-Tsee-Khang, the Tibetan medical college and administration centre. We also viewed the Dalai Lama Temple before returning to Delhi to visit a Hare Krishna temple.

Throughout the trip, we continued production of our upcoming documentary which will detail the story of the Declaration and the ICID as they make their way ever onwards.



Towards Interfaith Dialogue


The Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP) and the International Politics Association (IPA) of the University of St Andrews celebrated a year of activities with the theme of interfaith dialogue between September 2015 and September 2016. In 2015, the year kicked off with an opening lecture by Professor Mario Aguilar on the topic of “Silence, the Pro-Logos and the Monk in Raimon Panikkar: Sutras for a Christian-Hindu Dialogue”. During the same month the CSRP co-sponsored two talks by HH the 14th Dalai, one at the O2 Arena in Londonand the other at the London Palladium as well as a talk by M. Ghandi’s grandson Arun Ghandi (Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence). During October 2015, the Hindu scholar Sharada Sugirtharajah spoke about modern Hindu theologians. 

The year culminated with the signing of The St Andrews Declaration on a Shared Humanity, an event that took place at Upper College Hall on Friday 23 September 2016. In many ways, this event was unprecedented in scope and ambition. We sought to provide a platform for scores of religious, political, and youth leaders from some 20 countries to deliver a message of unity to the world, and we succeeded tremendously in this regard.

Our conference made headlines around the country and included representatives of Christian Churches, of the Hindu communities from the UK and India, of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist community, ambassadors of Muslim nations, British imams, academics, and leaders of the UK Jewish community.