June 25, 2012, 10:29 AM
Recognizing that climate change “is not merely an economic or technical problem, but rather at its core…a moral, spiritual and cultural one,” a delegation of senior religious leaders from the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths discussed the need for spiritual leadership on environmental issues during a conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
Hosted by the Kyiv Interfaith Forum, the April event, “Global Winds of Change: Religions’ Role in Today’s World,” explored the ability of – and need for – religions and religious leaders to shape world opinion in the wake of cataclysmic events like the “Arab Spring” of 2011.
The conference included presentations by Patriarch Teophilos III of Jerusalem, Rabbi David Rosen, president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace and “Shyne,” an international hip-hop star and practicing Orthodox Jew. It also included two panel discussions in which Ambassador Mussie Hailu, URI’s Regional Coordinator for Africa, urged his fellow participants to make history by adopting a “Kiev Declaration for Peaceful Co-existence and Interfaith Harmony,” which calls for a universal respect for religious differences and commitment to the Golden Rule:
“We affirm that interreligious dialogue and cooperation is an integral part to promote a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations,” the declaration says. “We affirm that our world, more than ever, needs the teaching of the Golden Rule, which says ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’…We welcome and support the call of United Religions Initiative and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative in Ethopia (a URI member organization) for the Golden Rule Day to be proclaimed by the United Nations.”
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