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Presentations by Christian University Students from the Middle East and Africa at the European Parli

The EPP Working Group on 'Intercultural and Religious Dialogue', founded in order to facilitate dialogue and activities on various aspects involving religious organizations, such as education, migration or social tensions, hosted an Extraordinary Meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 10, 2019. Christian students from Kenya, Nigeria, and Iraq were invited to share their experience in their native countries and abroad.

The first part of the event presented the efforts of the foundation “Aid to the Church in Need”, which provides humanitarian assistance to Christians facing increasing danger in countries such as Syria, Kenya, Nigeria, or Iraq, and 145 other countries. Ms. Marcela Szymanski, Head of Brussels Office of “Aid to the Church in Need”, as well as Mr. Marc Fromager, Director of the same foundation in France, made known the needs of Christians living in such places, where they are the most targeted minority, as well as all over the world, and pointed to serious differences between mass-media, which ignores much of the situation, and reality. In Iraq, for example, 80% of the Christian population has already been displaced or disappeared. New chances can be offered to young people from these countries through scholarships.

The second part included the testimonies of such students (Mr. Fadi Najeb Nissan Bidawit, Iraq; Ms. Charity Tikama Baraya, Nigeria; Mr. Franklin Chesuban, Kenya), who detailed the situation of Christian communities in their countries and the opportunities they were given through the special program “Scholarships for Christian Young People”. They expressed the desire to return to their homes and help rebuild what was destroyed through war or oppression of their community. The presentations were followed by a session of Q & A.

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