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The Culture of Encounter: The Future of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue

A conference organized by Georgetown University and La Civiltà Cattolica

November 8- 9, 2021
Location: Villa Malta (Rome) Map

A signature contribution of Pope Francis's pontificate is the concept of a culture of encounter. Rooted in his experience as a Jesuit and as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the concept emphasizes humility, generosity and patience as foundational for productive dialogue across cultural, religious, and political divides. In his October 2020 encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Francis made an impassioned plea for a culture of encounter in a global society torn by the pandemic and increasingly fragmented along socio-economic and ideological lines. "I have frequently called for the growth of a culture of encounter capable of transcending our differences and divisions," Francis wrote, "a society where differences coexist, complementing, enriching and reciprocally illuminating one another, even amid disagreements and reservations."

The conference marked the first anniversary of Fratelli Tutti and explored the meaning and implications of a culture of encounter for the Church and the world. Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle provided keynote addresses. Three panels explored the innovations of Fratelli Tutti; the 2019 Document on Human Fraternity, a milestone in interfaith understanding; and the implications of a culture of encounter for the future of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. 

The conference was sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and La Civiltà Cattolica.


Monday, November 8

3:00-3:15 p.m. | Welcome
Antonio Spadaro, S.J., La Civiltà Cattolica
Thomas Banchoff, Georgetown University

3:15-4:30 p.m. | First Panel: The Innovations of Fratelli Tutti
Paul Elie, Georgetown University (Moderator)
John Borelli, Georgetown University
Sandra Mazzolini, Pontifical Urbanian University
Philipp Renczes, S.J., Gregorian University

4:30-5:00 p.m. | Coffee Break

5:00-6:00 p.m. | Keynote Address and Questions
Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot

6:00-6:45 p.m. | Reception

Tuesday, November 9

9:00-10:00 a.m. | Keynote Address and Questions
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

10:10-11:25 a.m. | Second Panel: The Document on Human Fraternity as a Model for Dialogue
Debora Tonelli, Georgetown University (Moderator)
Faisal Al Remeithi, Muslim Council of Elders
Katherine Marshall, Georgetown University
Diego Sarrio Cucarella, Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies

11:25-11:45 a.m. | Coffee Break

11:45-1:00 p.m. | Third Panel: The Culture of Encounter and the Future of Dialogue
Jose Casanova, Georgetown University (Moderator)
Indunil Kodithuwakku, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Alessandra Smerilli, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Paul Tighe, Pontifical Council for Culture