The members of the Network for Dialogue come from both faith-based and secular organizations working at the local, national, and European levels on the integration and social inclusion of refugees and migrants in Europe. Network members are also religious leaders, academics and other experts who endeavour to assist and support the social inclusion of newcomers in host societies using dialogical approaches. Network members have vast experiences in working with refugees and migrants in different European contexts. They engage with other institutions on the national and European level in order to bring forth voices of grassroots initiatives in policymaking.
Dag-Kristian PontvikADRA Italy
Dag-Kristian Pontvik has been the Country Director of ADRA Italy since January 2017.
His work with ADRA focuses on migrants, poverty, and education. Dag-Kristian completed his studies in Theology at the Italian Adventist University in Florence in 2007 and in 2013 he received his Master of Social Work with a specialisation in International Social Work from Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee (USA). Dag-Kristian enjoys mingling with people and cultures, building positive outcomes.
Igor MitrovićADRA Serbia
Igor Mitrović has been the Executive Director of ADRA Serbia since 2011.
Igor earned his Bachelor of Theology at the Belgrade Theological Seminary, and his Master in Biblical Studies at Newbold College, UK. He served as a pastor with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Čačak and Belgrade from 1999 until 2011 when he joined ADRA. With ADRA and all its partners, Igor is involved in developmental and relief work. He also lectures in undergraduate studies at the Belgrade Theological Seminary (of the Adventist Church) and preaches and works with local Adventist churches in Serbia. His interests are in theology and spirituality, culture and community building and their potential to synergistically contribute to community transformation.
Dr. Ángela María ArbeláezART Bridges
Dr. Ángela María Arbeláez is the founder of the nonprofit cultural organization, ART Bridges in Lesbos (Greece).
Prior to ART Bridges she taught Art History at several universities in Colombia from 1992-1998, followed by a Fellowship at the University of Crete in 1998. In 2012, she was awarded the Marca Pais-Marca Colombia prize as one of the prominent Colombian citizens working abroad and in 2015 she received the Premio de las Americas in Israel, with both awards being tied to her contribution to interfaith, intercultural dialogue. In 2018, Ángela expanded her NGO’s activities to the slums where the Greek Roma people live in conditions of extreme poverty in Mytilene and continues building bridges of understanding among all the actors.
Maria Lucia UribeArigatou International office, Geneva
Maria Lucia Uribe has been the Executive Director of the Arigatou International office in Geneva since 2013.
In her role as Executive Director, she currently heads the strategic implementation and expansion of the Ethics Education for Children Initiative, ensuring that values-based education is integrated in programmes to respond to the prevention of violence and the promotion of peacebuilding and interfaith and intercultural collaboration. She is also currently convener of the International Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence, and of the Working Group on Children and Violence of Child Rights Connect. Previously she served as Coordinator of the Working Group on Education and Fragility for the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). Maria holds a Master in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the University of Basel, Switzerland.
Dr. Alba Sabaté GauxachsBlanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture
Dr. Alba Sabaté Gauxachs is the Deputy Director at the Blanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture and a professor at the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations, at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona.
Alba is a journalist and holds a PhD in Communication. She was also a KAICIID European Region Fellow in 2019, a member of the Global Board of Directors at the World Association for Christian Communication and UNAOC Fellow 2020. Alba serves as a news contributor at CatalunyaReligió.cat.
Nejra Kadić MeškićCentre for Cultural Dialogue
Nejra Kadić Meškić is a CEO at the Center for Cultural Dialogue that builds intercultural societies and fights growing mistrust and polarization by strengthening intercultural and interreligious dialogue, with a special approach to people on the move.
She finished the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and has ten years of experience as a programme and campaign leader in the field of human rights, culture of dialogue, gender equality and youth at political and implementation levels. In 2013, Nejra received an award for her contribution to the achievement of gender equality from the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is a KAICIID Fellow, generation 2019. She is interested in peace building, conflict resolution, gender equality and quality education.
Her motto is: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Dima MahjoubDiaspora Network Alliance
Dima Mahjoub is an active member of the Diaspora Network Alliance (DNA), a non-affiliate organization that aims to empower newcomers by providing them with opportunities and tools to assimilate and become active members in their host countries.
Dima is a seasoned refugee practitioner having worked with diverse NGOs across several continents. With more than 10 years of experience in her domain, she started as a volunteer in 2007 and later became a staff member working with the UNDP and UNHCR in Syria. With an educational background that spans two Masters of Law, from Berlin and Manchester universities, along with an undergraduate degree in Law from the University of Damascus, Dima is an accomplished practitioner and human rights advocate that enjoys engaging in discussions and dialogue that aims to advance human rights initiatives.
Haythem Kamel BadawyFSL
Haythem Kamel Badawy is the Director of the Training and Awareness
Association in Luxembourg (Formation et Sensibilisation de Luxembourg
FSL is a newly established association in Luxembourg that works on developing intercultural competencies and human rights education as a tool for integration among different communities in Luxembourg using non-formal educational methods and programmes as key tools to achieve its goals. He is also an elected member of the national council for foreigners which channel the point of views of the foreign population to the decision-makers in Luxembourg. Currently he is working at the University of Luxembourg on his PhD thesis that focuses on the integration of newly arrived Arab speaking refugees in Luxembourg. Haythem was one of the co-founders of youth networks and organizations in Egypt, the Arab region and Europe; worked previously in the League of Arab States, Anna Lindh Foundation, Bibliotheca Alexandrina and he is a member of the Trainers Pool of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.
Dr. Francesca CadedduFondazione per le scienze religiose Giovanni XXIII in Bologna
Dr. Francesca Cadeddu works for the Foundation for Religious Sciences in Bologna, Italy.
She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Social and Institutional Sciences in Cagliari in Italy. She is also a research fellow at the Foundation for Religious Studies in Bologna, Italy. Francesca wrote her PhD dissertation on the Jesuit Priest and theologian John Courtney Murray, an important figure in U.S. Catholicism who featured prominently in the development of the Second Vatican Council’s draft of Dignitatis Humanae. She has researched at two of the most prominent institutions for Catholic Studies in the U.S.; Georgetown and Notre Dame.
Amanda FiguerasForo Abraham
Amanda Figueras is a journalist and writer, truly passionate about interfaith dialogue and is working with Foro Abraham (Spain).
She was working for a decade at the newspaper El Mundo where she achieved many successes. Amanda was also a fellow of the UN Alliance of Civilizations programme (UNAOC) and was selected as a local Project Manager in 2018. She has also been selected as KAICIID’s European Fellow 2020. In 2018, Amanda published her book, Por qué el islam: mi vida como mujer, europea y musulmana (Why Islam: My Life as a Woman, European and Muslim).
Dr. Archimandrite Panteleimon PapasynefakisGreek Orthodox Church
Dr. Archimandrite Panteleimon Papasynefakis was ordained as a Priest of the Greek Orthodox Church in 2001.
He studied Theology at the University of Athens where he also concluded his postgraduate degree. In 2019, he obtained his doctorate in Inter-Christian Dialogue summa cum laude from the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He is the Head of the Cathedral of Nea Philadelphia in Attica where, amongst other things, he has developed active charity activities. In 2017, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece appointed him General Director of Integration at the Integration Centre for Migrant Workers – Ecumenical Refugee Program (KSPM-ERP).
Amina KhalidInitiatives of Change UK
Amina Khalid academically specialises in the Sociology of Medicine and Social Policy with a Masters in Equality and Diversity Policies.
She is internationally trained in dialogue facilitation, mediation, communication and conflict resolution and has worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She has been with Initiatives of Change for over 10 years. Currently, she is the Head of Programme for Sustainable Communities and a Trustee for Somali Initiatives for Dialogue and Democracy (SIDD), as well as founder of Peace Begins at Home– an international inter-generational dialogue training created to empower and build bridges between generations and policymakers. She has a real passion for working with women of all backgrounds and faiths to build bridges and unlock their full potential. In her role as an international advocate for peace she uses her language and coaching skills to inspire, equip and connect individuals and organizations to become positive change agents.
Dr. Amjad Mohamed SaleemInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – IFRC
Dr. Amjad Mohamed Saleem works for the IFRC as the Manager for the Inclusion, Protection and Engagement Unit.
He is a political analyst on South Asian issues with expertise in Humanitarian and Development issues, Peacebuilding and Interfaith Dialogue. In the past he has worked with International Alert, KAICIID, Search for Common Ground, Islamic Development Bank, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Cordoba Foundation, Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid. He is a regular contributor to Fair Observer and New World Order. He is an alumnus of the International Visitors Leadership Program, the Concordia Forum and a Hive Global Leaders Fellow. He has an MEng from Imperial College, London, an MBA from U21 Global Singapore and a PhD from Exeter University. He is associated with N4D in a personal capacity.
Atallah FitzGibbonIslamic Relief Worldwide
Atallah FitzGibbon is the Faith Partnerships Advisor at Islamic Relief Worldwide, where he has worked for 25 years, previously serving as Policy and Strategy Manager and International Programmes Director.
IRW is the largest non-governmental Islamic NGO in the World and works closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United Nations World Food Programme to provide humanitarian relief and development programmes in over 30 countries around the world.
Jelena DjurdjevićJesuit Refugee Service
Jelena Djurdjević is a social worker and Project Coordinator of the Integration House, Pedro Arrupe, run by the Jesuit Refugee Service Serbia.
The Integration House accommodates unaccompanied refugee and migrant children and provides full support. Jelena earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Science, in the field of social work and protection of refugee children. She is a member of the UNICEF Working group for the protection of unaccompanied and separated children in the Republic of Serbia. Jelena’s field of interest is the protection and fulfilment of refugee children’s rights.
Carl DahlbäckKyrkoherde Nacka församling
Carl Dahlbäck was ordained as a Priest of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden in 1990.
He has been the Vicar of Nacka Parish in the Stockholm Diocese since 2004. In the same year, he started to work with interfaith topics and God’s House in Fisksätra outside of Stockholm. Carl has written a biography about his wife called Ett Långsamt Farväl (2014), has composed music; Gudomlig Poesi (2000) and I Stillhetens Rymd (2013), and is currently enrolled in the Master’s Programme in Theology at Uppsala University.
Elena DiniSacred Heart Basilica Rome
Elena Dini is Senior Program Manager of the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
She holds degrees in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Communications, Catholic Theology and Interfaith Dialogue; and she is starting a PhD at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in the field of Theology of Religions. She is also responsible for interreligious meetings at the Sacred Heart Basilica in Rome and is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Abrahamic Forum.
Karl Johannes ZarhuberUniversity for Teacher Education of Lower Austria and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies– IFRC
Karl Johannes Zarhuber works with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva, based at the Austrian Red Cross in Vienna as Global Coordinator for the Humanitarian Education Initiative.
Karl studied German Language & Literature and Theology (Combined Religious Education) at the University of Salzburg and taught both subjects at a private high school in Salzburg. Parallel to his 10 years of teaching, he was the Director of the Austrian Youth Red Cross Salzburg Branch. In February 1996 he was appointed Secretary General of the Austrian Youth Red Cross and moved to Vienna for professional reasons. In March 2012 Karl joined the IFRC Youth & Volunteering team in Geneva and started to work on the global Humanitarian Education Initiative. Since March 2016, Karl Johannes has been teaching and developing educational programmes on migration at the University for Teacher Education in Lower Austria.
Nefeli Themeli is the Global Programmes Manager for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and has been a volunteer of the movement for more than 20 years.
She is currently managing the Voices Against Violence curriculum which is developed in collaboration with UN Women and is being implemented in 40 countries around the world. Nefeli has a range of experience in developing and delivering educational and inclusive programmes focusing on gender and youth empowerment and her academic background is in Gender and Development, from the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex).
Marina LiakisZa’atar NGO
Marina Liakis is a French-Greek citizen and serves as Director of Za’atar NGO.
After studying Law and Communications in Paris and New York City, she began a career in humanitarian work. During her professional career, she has worked at a variety of international organizations, including the United Nations and for the French Embassy. In 2016, after volunteering at the Port of Piraeus with refugees arriving in Athens, Marina decided to establish Za’atar NGO. She speaks Arabic, English, French, Greek and Spanish.
Ruham Al-BezraDialogue Facilitator
Ruham Al-Bezra works as Dialogue Facilitator at The International Dialogue Centre (KACIID) in Vienna.
Ruham moved to Austria after completing her studies in Syria. She holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology and has a background in philological and cultural studies in English and American literature. She has completed a diploma programme in integration coaching and intercultural competence in Vienna and has volunteered by teaching integration-related courses for refugees. She has also served as an interpreter for several Austrian municipal authorities and schools. Ruham has spent five years with International Human Relief in Vienna as a coach and trainer for refugees from Arab-region conflict areas.
Elisabeth PalugyayExpert in Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Migration
Elisabeth Palugyay is working as consultant for intercultural and interreligious dialogue in Vienna.
She started the engagement in intercultural dialogue and became a founding member of the Network for Dialogue when she was in charge as Head of Section for Refugee Aid and Migration for the Red Cross in Vienna. She was responsible for integration projects for refugees in Vienna, with a special focus on intercultural exchange. Elisabeth holds a Master in Political Science and International Law from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany, as well as from the Diplomatic Academy for International Studies in Vienna. With her theses, she focused on humanitarian law and the Near and Middle East Region.
Mabrouka RayachiSupervisor for Islamic Education
Mabrouka Rayachi originally comes from Tunisia and has been living in Austria for 29 years.
She was a teacher of Islamic Education and Arabic in Austrian public schools and since 2012 has been a supervisor for Islamic Education in Lower Austria. Mabrouka was a KAICIID Fellow in 2015 and is actively engaged in many integration programmes in Vienna and Lower Austria.
Jon RasmussenWorld Organization of the Scout Movement, Denmark
Jon Rasmussen has a Bachelor in Social Education and is an Intercultural and interreligious dialogue practitioner, coach and peace-builder.
He is an inclusion enthusiast as well as an artist. Jon believes in youth empowerment, gender equality, peace and reconciliation. He also believes that building bridges between people, cultures, identities, faiths and religions is important to create a peaceful community, society, and world at large. He is co-founder of Online Circle of Compassion, advisor for the Afghanistan Youth Empowerment and Peace-building Organization, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and Dialogue for Peace Facilitator for the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Jon is also a leadership trainer with the Danish Guide and Scout Association, member of the UK-based New World Leadership cohort and volunteer in a shelter for homeless migrants. He is part of of Euphrates Institute 2021 Peace Practice Alliance Cohort.
Isabel Martins da SilvaMEERU | Abrir Caminho
Isabel is the Community Director of MEERU | Abrir Caminho, which aims to promote community cohesion through Dialogue and Proximity.
Isabel coordinates the project MEERU Aproxima which promotes a model for boosting informal support networks for migrant families living in Portugal, using Intercultural Dialogue as an instrument for creating genuine bonds of affection and belonging, and combating social isolation. In 2016 she stumbled on the pains and dreams of a Syrian refugee family in Portugal. Since then, she has been part of two humanitarian missions of the Refugee Support Platform (PAR), in Greece, in the fields of education, empowerment and inclusion of refugees. In 2019 she was one of the founders of the NGO MEERU | Abrir Caminho, where she is the Community Manager and coordinator of the project MEERU Aproxima. Determined to make the dreams of the world around her come true, Isabel is permanently restless and firmly certain that it is possible for us to live in community, with equal dignity and rights.