The Council of Europe organized the exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue for the 9th time on 9th and 10th of November 2016. The main focus of the dialogue was on education of democratic citizenship as a means to prevent radicalisation. The Ambassador of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Processes at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland held an address at the conference.
The Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue brought together several senior delegates from religious communities on behalf of Christianity, Islam, Buddhim and Judaism. However, there were also representatives from non-religious convictions and NGO's as well as experts and academics who participated in the conference. The exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue was divided into two sub-themes, first of which dealt with the education of democratic citizenship in the context of cultural and religious diversity. The second sub-theme focused on the empowerment of women and on the role of the family in countering radicalisation and violent extremism.
The Ambassador of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Processes, Pekka Metso, held an address on women and on their connections with violent extremist movements. Throughout the dialogue women had been prevalently viewed as victims of the extremist movements or as preventors of radicalisation. Pekka Metso noted that women can also act as members of violent extremist movements, for which reason it is important to analyze the experiences of de-radicalised women in order to understand motives behind radicalisation. Promoting women's social activities through participation in women's organisations makes them more resilient against extremist propaganda. In addition, Pekka Metso pointed out that religious leaders have an important role in promoting women's active participation within religious communities.