Visit of a delegation of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.) | Boston, Washington DC, Ottawa | 15 – 22 November 2012.
A delegation of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.) realized a visit to Boston, Washington D.C. of the USA and Ottawa, Canada from 15 – 22 November 2012, where they had the opportunity to realize various meetings.
The I.A.O. delegation was headed by the I.A.O. Secretary General Mr. Anastasios Nerantzis with the participation of Mr. Lefteris Christoforou, Member of the I,.A.O. International Secretariat, Mr. George Varnava, Member of the I.A.O. Financial Committee, Mr. Alexandr Miliutin, Head of the I.A.O. Coordinating Cooperation Committee with the Interparliamentary Assembly of Eurasian Economic Community and the I.A.O. Advisors Dr. Kostas Mygdalis and Prof. Valery Alexeev. The I.A.O. organized a conference with subject: “Civil society and Orthodoxy” on Nov. 16th and 17th at Holy Cross Theological School in Boston where, politicians of all levels, Senators, MPs, local and regional authorities, as well as representatives of Orthodox and Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, theological schools, and other intellectuals participated and presented reports on the major hot-button themes of the witness of Orthodoxy in the modern world. (AGENDA – REPORTS OF THE CONFERENCE). On November 19th and 20th, the I.A.O. members visited Washington D.C. where they had a meeting with Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Ex. Director, Amb. Mrs. Jackie Wolcott, Mr. Knox Thames, Director of Policy and Research, as well as with other members of the Commission. A significant meeting was held with Mr. Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, as well as his collaborators, where they had the opportunity to discuss issues regarding the presence of Christians and their safeguard in Syria, Egypt and the wider region of Middle East. Moreover, the I.A.O. delegation had meetings with executive members of various US institutions (MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON DC). On November 21st and 22nd, the I.A.O. delegation members realized a meeting with Mr. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and discussed issues regarding the protection of Christians in Syria and the wider region of Middle East. The agenda of all meetings at the Canadian Parliament was organized by Mr. Costas Menegakis, member of the Canadian Parliament, Chairman of the I.A.O. Committee on Regulation. (MEETINGS IN OTTAWA).It was of outmost importance that the presence of the I.A.O. delegation in Ottawa coincided with the statement of the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. John Baird regarding the current situation in Syria: The Canadian Government in opposition to decision taken by countries such as Great Britain, France and Turkey refuses to recognize a new coalition of opposition fighters and leaders as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people until it can prove it respects religious minorities.
The aforementioned visits were realized in order to expand, strengthen and forge closer ties with the representatives of the Orthodox and Ancient Eastern Churches, as well as the Members of Parliament from the U.S.A. and Canada, as well as to inform them on the I.A.O.’s existence and its worldwide activity on global cooperation and peace. In Washington DC, as well as in Ottawa, during the political-parliamentary meetings, the I.A.O. delegation members discussed issues for interparliamentary cooperation and how it can pave the way and perspectives on religious mutual understanding. The I.A.O. drew attention to the problem of Orthodox Christians’ protection in the Middle East and the wider region, while highlighting its initiative after the decision of the I.A.O.’s General Assembly and in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament, concerning the establishment of the “Foundation for Democracy, Parliamentarism, and Religious Tolerance in Africa”, seated in Athens and Maputo, Mozambique.
MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON D.C. | 19 – 20 November 2012
MEETINGS IN OTTAWA | 21 – 22 November 2012
CONFERENCE WITH SUBJECT “CIVIL SOCIETY AND ORTHODOXY”