'Promote inter-religious dialogue and cultural cooperation'.
Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II received Italian ambassador Maurizio Massari in the patriarchate offices of the Egyptian capital on Thursday. During a lengthy talk, reports an embassy statement, ''the beneficial collaboration between the Italian government and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt'' was discussed.
Massari reiterated the attention Italy has devoted to promoting inter-religious dialogue and expressed full support to Tawadros II ''for the recent, tragic incidents involving Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt, and especially in the Minya governorate''. In the sector of cultural cooperation, the diplomat illustrated to the Coptic pope the opportunities offered in the field of theological studies to Egyptian students and researchers through annual scholarships financed by the Italian foreign ministry at universities and research centers in Italy, as well as training possibilities from a recent collaboration program between the Italian Cooperation and the Italian National Research Center for young Egyptians with degrees in several different scientific and cultural fields.
''These are important instruments,'' Massari said, ''through which Italy aims to consolidate its already deep links with Egypt and its several religious components, in line with Italy's traditional commitment to a country considered strategic'' as part of the Italian government's policies for ever greater cooperation in the Mediterranean region.