The annual series of Building Bridges Seminars was established to bring together a range of internationally-recognised Christian and Muslim scholars to discuss the two religions through the study of selected texts. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, convened this year's event, which took place at Villa Palazzola, an old Cistercian monastery south of Rome. The seminar was organised in partnership with Georgetown University.
The Archbishop and his advisers invited 24 scholars who were known for their contributions to inter-religious dialogue. They came from a range of countries including Britain, US, Australia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan, and others. The papers and subsequent discussions focused on selected Biblical and Qur’anic texts, and will be published in the conference proceedings. In his speech reflecting on the event, the Archbishop said:
“…there's been a strong air of spiritual intensity about this meeting, partly helped by the place which is a place of prayer, so I feel very, very grateful for these few days …”
Previous seminars in this series were held in London, Qatar, Sarajevo, Washington DC, and Singapore. The first Building Bridges seminar was hosted at Lambeth Palace in January 2002 by Dr George Carey (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002). The second and subsequent seminars were convened by Dr Rowan Williams. The proceedings of previous seminars have been published.