International conference “Current challenges and threats to places of worship in Europe”

International conference “Current challenges and threats to places of worship in Europe”

On 19th May, WSB University hosted an international conference entitled “Current challenges and threats to places of worship in Europe” in premisses of virtual studio. The conference was organised in the framework of an international project – ProSPeReS (Protection System for Large Gatherings of People in Religious Sites) under the European Union Internal Security Fund – Police as the third planned event of WP7, Security Awareness Rising Campaign. The international panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Adrian Siadkowski (AWSB) and aimed at raising awareness of the threats to places of worship and the challenges of ensuring their security from the perspective of different religions.

At the beginning of the conference, Rafał Batkowski, PhD – Key Expert of the ProSPeReS Project and the consortium leader representative from the University of Łódź (Poland), presented the composition of the consortium and the main objectives of the project. Next speaker was Ing. Pavel Truchly – WP7 leader and representative of ISEM Institute (Slovakia).  He introduced the Security awareness rising campaign strategy, main objectives of campaign, ways of communication and also awareness rising campaign products as leaflets, brochures and videos already accessible on project page.

The conference continued by presentation of Mr Ophir Revach – Chief Executive Office of the European Jewish Congress’ Security and Crisis Center (Belgium). Mr Revach presented the security challenges of synagogues in Europe. He emphasised that the extensive experience of the Jewish community in the protection of religious sites can also be implemented in other places of religious worship.

Timo Hellenberg, PhD – President of Hellenberg International (Finland), in his speech on “Current Challenges and threats to places of worship in Europe” presented the general problems of providing security protection in places of worship. The penultimate speaker, Mr Łukasz Grabowski, an expert from the Abikus company responsible for the technical security of the Jasna Góra Shrine (Poland), introduced the audience to the subject of contemporary challenges of ensuring security on the example of the Jasna Góra Shrine. The plenary session ended with a presentation of the results of a risk analysis of walking pilgrimages on the example of a pilgrimage from the Diocese of Sosnowiec presented by Łukasz Szymankiewicz, PhD.

The next part of the conference was a debate with all the participants. A very interesting part of the debate was a discussion with a guest from the Parish of Our Lady of La Palma (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Palma) – Rev. Dominik Kociołek, who spoke about his experience of the terrorist attack in Algeciras.

If you would like to know more about protecting a place of worship, please visit our website for useful materials: