Vienna, 4 April 2013 Press release

Austrian Foreign Ministry - Imam Training 06 - 10 April 2013

Vienna, 4 April 2013 – The successful country familiarisation training in Austria for religious representatives from Turkey will be held again for the fifth time from the 6th to 10th April in Vienna at the Afro-Asiatic Institute (AAI). The week long programme will this year bring together 13 Turkish religious representatives, including 2 women, who began their work at mosques in Vienna, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg in autumn last year. The imams who are taking part all have university educations and basic knowledge of German.

The training prepares the participants for a long term of duty in Austria. Religious representative are key figures of intercultural and interreligious dialogue and they are frequently bridge-builders for integration issues. For this reason it is of great importance that Turkish imams who are active in Austria have a basic understanding of the relationship between the state and religion in Austria and Europe, together with knowledge of the Austrian school system, women’s rights and religious freedom in Austria.

The prime focus this year will be on youth, together with a series of specifically Austrian core training modules. A visit to a youth correction centre in Gerasdorf will provide the imams with an opportunity to deal with the problems of young offenders, and a visit to Youth Department 11 in Vienna (the City Department for Youth and Families) will familiarise them with the existing advisory services available for young people.

The training is the first element of a co-financed support project to have been set up by the European Integration Fund and the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs under the title: "Dialogue and integration training for imams, religious ministers and mosque associations".  The event has been organised with the cooperation with the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet/ATIB) that has sent 10 - 15 imams annually to Austria for five year tours of duty since 2008.

This successful project is proving an ideal basis for dialogue and cooperation and is an important step for successful coexistence in Austria. The Foreign Ministry partners in the project include the Austria Integration Fund of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior (ÖIF/BMI) and the University of Vienna.


Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3320
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159 213