Inspiration for WIHW - Surprised by Friendship

29 January 2019, 4:06 PM

Working for interfaith harmony happens every day by URI Cooperation Circles all over the world. World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), the first week of every February, is a special time to celebrate and make real the vision of interfaith harmony for all. Enjoy these inspirations for WIHW.


Inspiration for WIHW - Surprised by Friendship

The following words come from David Cooperrider (2000) Excerpted from The Surprise of Friendship at the Carter Center: The OD Practitioner Vol. 32 No.3 pps . 46-49. South Orange New Jersey:

Early in the 1990’s on his first trip to Jerusalem, His Holiness the Dalai Lama proposed, “If the leadership of the world’s religions could simply get together...the world could be a different, a better place.”

A meeting was called among 20 of the world’s religious leaders. Here, the Dalai Lama explained his hope and vision:

“To create a beginning, a taste, of what ultimately might be made available for the world’s religious leaders – a secure, private, small and relatively unstructured forum where leaders can have conversation with one another, know one another in mutually respectful ways, and reflect on the hard issues of the world without binding any institution to another.”

A meeting for religious leaders was organized. World leaders came together in Jerusalem and engaged in appreciative interviews two by two. Reflecting on what happened, David Cooperidder, designer of the Appreciative Interview format, reflected:

“The new insight for me was the “surprise of friendship” that emerged in and through the sincere and deep appreciative interchange – the sharing of stories, the search for understanding of life’s purpose…It was not the value of outer structures of common task, or proclamation,…or shared outcry over the devastated ecology. It was something paradoxically more subtle and more powerful, more at the feeling level of the ground of relatedness. What happened in and through the sharing of things precious, was the recognition of the other’s good heart."


Want more? See other quotes and sources of WIHW inspiration in the rest of this series.