In light of the severe impact of the coronavirus on Spain and around the world, two major interfaith events—the Third International Award for Studies on Interfaith Dialogue with Carmelites and the Carmelite and Chan/Zen Interfaith Conference—which had been scheduled to be held in July in Avila, Spain, have been postponed until 2021.
The conference is titled “2nd World Encounter Teresian Mysticism and Interreligious Dialogue: Chan/Zen Buddhism and Carmelite Spirituality: On Love and Compassion” and is jointly organized by the Catholic Order of Discalced Carmelites and the International Centre of Teresian and Sanjuanist Studies (Centro Internacional Teresiano-Sanjuanista, CITeS) and the Centre of Buddhist Studies (CBS) at The University of Hong Kong (HKU).
In a letter to conference speakers and attendees and shared with Buddhistdoor Global, Fr. Francisco Javier Sancho Fermin, director of CITeS, noted that: “Although the situation in Spain seems to be improving very gradually, everything does point to the fact that the road ahead will be slow. Moreover, COVID-19 is also spreading on a daily basis through many other countries, so that international travel is becoming more complicated and restricted, and simply does not seem to be recommendable or feasible at this time.”
Fr. Fermin continued: “The dates that we have reserved for holding the congress will be from 21–25 July 2021, exactly one year after the original dates. We would therefore like to ask you to please reserve these dates so that we can continue to count on your participation at the congress, which is extremely important to us. The subject matter, the speakers and the overall dynamic will remain the same.”
The Third International Award for Studies on Interfaith Dialogue with Carmelites will likewise be postponed to coincide with next year’s conference. The deadline for submissions has been extended to 1 April 2021.* The themes, guidelines, criteria, and terms of the award are unchanged.
The award aims to foster greater harmony among people of different religions by drawing on the spiritual life of the Carmelite mystics. Papers submitted for the award will compare the experiences, writings, and/or symbolism of the Carmelite tradition with those of other religions or sacred texts. Further information and contact details can be found in the conference’s online registration form.