In October 2017, the 137th IPU Assembly concluded its General Debate entitled Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue with the adoption of the St. Petersburg Declaration. The Declaration recognizes that inter-religious dialogue is essential to peace and cultural pluralism and that, as representatives of peoples, the world's parliaments are committed to strengthening normative processes and legal frameworks. Among other things, the Declaration calls for the "holding [of] a world conference on interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue, which could be organized together with the United Nations and with the participation of Heads of State, Speakers of Parliament and leaders of world religions".
This proposal was subsequently endorsed by the IPU Governing Council and referenced in the UN General Assembly resolutions of 2018 and 2020 on interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the IPU, whereby the UN Member States acknowledged that the event would be organized by the IPU, working in cooperation with the United Nations, and held in the Russian Federation in May 2022. The UN Secretary General has designated Ms. Teresa Whitfield, Director in the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPPA), as the UN focal point for the event. Substantive support would also be provided by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Conference will provide an opportunity for political and religious leaders to take stock of the various initiatives aiming to enhance inter-faith and intercultural dialogue and agree on a roadmap of people-centered measures and action to better translate their various commitments into national and local realities.
Organizational setting and reporting relationships
The Consultant will report to the Director for Member Parliaments and External Relations and the Senior Advisor to the Secretary General, and will provide organizational and substantive support to the preparations for the World Conference on Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue.
Within delegated authority, the Consultant will:
- Undertake background research on interfaith and intercultural dialogue, the confluence of religions and international initiatives in this area.
- Conduct a mapping of existing legislation and parliamentary activities in the aforementioned fields.
- Draft background notes and other documents as required for the Conference.
- Prepare for, participate in, and report on coordination meetings with the Conference’s organizing partners, and any other relevant meetings.
- Prepare updates for the IPU President, the IPU Governing Bodies, and the IPU Secretary General on the status of preparations for the Conference.
- Draft and dispatch correspondence relating to the Conference.
- Promote the Conference through the production of articles for the IPU website and social media, etc.
- Liaise effectively with UN and Parliamentary partners on all aspects related to the organization of the Conference.
- Ensure effective follow-up to the Conference, including through drafting the outcome report of the Conference in collaboration with organizing partners.
- Any other deliverables as may be deemed necessary.
Work implies frequent interaction with the following:
- Parliamentarians, Secretaries General/Clerks of parliament, parliamentary staff
- The Executive Office and members of the IPU Secretariat
- External partners and institutions, including the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPPA), the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
High-quality outputs and speedy delivery of services. Production of high-calibre reports. Effective support to the organization of the Conference and liaison with external partners. A high level of discretion, political tact, and commitment in carrying out responsibilities.
Education: Advanced university degree in international relations, political science, law, religious studies, or a related field.
Language: A perfect command of written and spoken English. A working knowledge of French and other UN languages will be an advantage.
Experience: At least 2 years of work experience (including internships or post-graduate work) in a similar or relevant field.
- Basic knowledge of the dynamics of interfaith dialogue is essential, and previous experience working in a parliamentary environment, or working in the field of interfaith and/or intercultural dialogue will be a distinct advantage.
- Experience in the organization of conferences and meetings will also be an advantage.
- Ability to work independently.
The consultancy is for a period of 16 months, from 15 February 2021 until 31 May 2022. The Consultant will start working at 60% for the first calendar year, moving up to 100% in 2022.
The consultancy is being offered at a rate of CHF 300 a day.
Although the position will be based at IPU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the consultant can begin his/her work remotely, with the requirement of physical presence in the office depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.