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Dawn clouds rise above the Vatican

In times of global fragmentation, how might Pope Francis' call for a "culture of encounter" help to transform the international agenda? During the first phase of the Culture of Encounter Project, thirty scholars and practitioners around the world engaged with this question.

Over the course of 2021 and 2022 the Berkley Center cooperated with three Vatican partners—the Dicastery for Culture and Education, and Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development—to convene a global network around Pope Francis' concept of a "culture of encounter." Working groups made up of diverse scholars and practitioners, converged around three major themes: global governance, interreligious dialogue, and education for citizenship.

This work resulted in two major conferences in Rome (in November 2021 and May 2022), 35 online interviews and group dialogues, six sets of joint reflections, and three working papers centered on encounter as it relates to global governance, interfaith dialogue, and education for global citizenship.

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Pope Francis waves to a crowd

This culture of encounter makes it possible for many voices to be heard around the same table, in order to dialogue, consider, discuss and formulate, in a polyhedral perspective, different aspects and possible responses to global problems involving our peoples and our democracies.

– Pope Francis, Video Message to the Economy of Francesco Meeting, November 21, 2020