In Albania, religious tolerance and harmony are considered traditional social values. Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims and Bektashi have lived together peacefully for decades. An interreligious institute is now being established in Tirana.
As a result of the mapping that OEC carried out last year on the topic "Interreligious Dialogue" in seven Balkan countries, the renowned think tank "Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS)" and the "Interreligious Council Elbasan (IRCE)" jointly took the initiative to establish an Interreligious Institute in Tirana.
Taking into consideration the input of all relevant stakeholders, both organizations worked on the conception of the new institute. Religious communities, local non-governmental representatives and municipal institutions, as well as state institutions, international organisations and media representatives have been involved in this process moderated by OEC.
The concept provides the path towards the establishment of the Interreligious Institute in 2 phases: in phase 1 the research and project departments will be established at local level. In phase 2 a department for international cooperation will be added, mainly for exchange and cooperation in the Balkan region. The implementation will start as soon as possible. Due to the COVID 19 crisis and the shutdown in Albania, the planned conference on 12 March 2020 for the public presentation of the project had to be cancelled on short notice.