In 2017, The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding will be facilitating a new conversation between American evangelical leaders and Muslim leaders from the United States and from Muslim countries. The aim is to strengthen Muslim-Evangelical relations because stereotypes have often shaped the perception of Muslims in the American Evangelical community.
During Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov visit to New York, FFEU seized the opportunity to host a breakfast meeting with American evangelicals to raise awareness about Azerbaijan’s outstanding role in promoting religious freedom and harmony on its territory and at the international level through the Baku process. In attendance were Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the U.S., H.E. Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the U.N., H.E. Yashar Alieyv, and Ambassador Ilgar Mukhtarov, former Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Mexico, and an outstanding delegation of 15 American Evangelical leaders led by Eagles' Wings Founder Bishop Robert Stearns.
Rabbi Marc Schneier welcomed the participants and described to them why Azerbaijan was such a remarkable model of tolerance. Rabbi Schneier stated that Azerbaijan is a beacon in the Muslim world. A Muslim-majority country, sharing borders with Iran and Russia, that not only protects the religious freedom of its Jewish and Christian communities but also promotes intercultural dialogue at the international level through the Baku process.
In his comments, Bishop Robert Stearns noted that Evangelicals had no idea about Azerbaijan's model and that they wished to work closer with the two other Abrahamic faiths, Jews and Muslims.
Finally, the delegation of Evangelical leaders vowed to continue this dialogue through FFEU and the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington D.C. and explore the opportunity to implement cultural exchange programs between the U.S. and Azerbaijan. Rabbi Marc Schneier concluded that this meeting was the first of a series of other gatherings to deepening the relationship and learn more about Azerbaijan.