The Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association was officially formed in 1989 to promote and facilitate positive engagement between the faith communities of our religiously and culturally diverse city. EIFA is now considered one of the most experienced and developed Inter-Faith bodies in the U.K.
Some of the Association’s notable early achievements include being honoured annually by The Lord Provost, our Patron, and the City Council through an Annual Civic Reception. Past events include the world’s first Inter-Faith Burns Supper, an Inter-Faith memorial service for a young murdered Muslim, a centenary celebration of the 1893 Chicago Parliament of the World’s Religions, a significant bid to host the 2005 Parliament of the World’s Religions, the production of an Inter-Faith greetings cards based on designs by Edinburgh school children, an exhibition for the University of Edinburgh’s Millennium celebration.
We have over many years organised and promoted numerous public talks, dialogues, panel events, film screenings, exhibitions, highly successful and well attended city based Inter-Faith ‘pilgrimages’, conferences on subjects such as Islamaphobia, Science and Religion, Religion and Education, Re-visioning Inter-Faith and Positive Education. Furthermore, we co-ordinate and promote a significant programme of activities in Edinburgh during Inter Faith Week.
Recently the Association has played a lead or supporting co-ordinating role in the visits to Scotland by religious and spiritual leaders such as the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Swami Chidanand Saraswati Ji, Chief Rabbi David Rosen, Sr Joan Chittister, Archbishop Abuna Elias Chacour, and other distinguished persons such as Arun Gandhi, Prof Rajmohan Gandhi, Prof Tariq Ramadan, Karen Armstrong, Nobel Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire and many others. These visits included not only public talks but also on many occassions education programmes for children and youth. We are also a partner in the Just Festival during the Edinburgh Festivals in August.
EIFA have recently entered the field of Diversity Consultancy and Training through a partnership with Diversiton Scotland.