The United Nations Climate Change Conference 25 was to take place in Santiago, Chile from 2-13 December 2019. However, due to the violence that started in Chile in October the meeting was moved to Madrid. However, a significant number of Chilean organisations decided to remain in Chile and to run a parallel international session in Santiago. Fundación Milarepa for the dialogue with Asia was one of them and hosted researchers from the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP) of Scotland, Dr Ann Mitchell, and the Secretary General of Laudato Si’ International Dr James Morris, also a CSRP Associate Researcher based in Japan.
The main conference session took place on Wednesday 11 December hosted by Fundación Milarepa at a corporate building in the financial district of Santiago. Speakers on Laudato Si’, dialogue, religion and politics, ecology in Colombia and Japan, and contemporary Chile delivered substantial papers. Members of the interfaith movement in Chile were also present. Speakers included Marcela Arévalo (Fundación Milarepa), Jorge Cuché (Fundación Milarepa), Ivonne Bell (Fundación MIlarepa), Professor Tony Lang of the University of St. Andrews who spoke via skype, Dr Ann Mitchell (CSRP, Laudato Si’), and Dr James Morris (CSRP, Laudato Si’). The session was chaired by Professor M.I. Aguilar, director of the CSRP.
On Thursday 12th December there was a meeting of Laudato Si’ Fellows and members at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. In parallel meetings, the developments of a new Foundation, Health without Borders (Salud Sin Fronteras), were discussed with the medical advice of Dr Camila Foncea, a Chilean odontologist and lecturer at the Catholic University, and the international coordination of Professor Aguilar. Impact in research, aid to local communities, and international cooperation were the key areas that will bring together the new Foundation with the CSRP, Laudato Si’ International, universities in the UK, Chile, and Japan, and with research and education programs on dialogue and health, religion and politics in Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico, Ruanda, and Somaliland.
Research cooperation and action within communities, as well as a full publishing program will continue to prepare for the COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020. Indeed, during 2020 the cooperative research team of the different organisations will meet at the annual meeting of the European Academy of Religion (Bologna June 2020), and at the conference ‘Diverse Aspects of Dialogue: Religion, Politics, and Health’ at the University of Tsukuba (Japan, October 2020).