Click the .PDF above for tips on how to get the best press coverage for your World Interfaith Harmony Week event.
The United Religions Initiative family is celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) around the planet. The United Nations has designated February 1-7 of every year as a time to celebrate interfaith peace and cooperation worldwide. Stay tuned and keep checking this page for more URI celebrations, as we are adding new stories and photos every day!
View celebrations by region:
WIHW and URI at the United Nations:
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and The Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN are hosting "Interfaith Harmony: Implementing the Transformative Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals" honoring the 2016 World Interfaith Harmony Week. URI Executive Director Victor Kazanjian will be one of the panel speakers.
The United Nations, with the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and the Committee of Religious NGOs at UN, hosted the event "Interfaith Harmony: Implementing the Transformative Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" at the United Nations Headquarters, New York on February 3, 2016.
The opening ceremony involved 17 different traditions. About 400 people attended, including the President of the Alliance of Civilizations, URI's Executive Director Rev. Victor Kazanjian, ambassadors, and religious leaders addressing working with the UN SDGs in Interfaith Harmony. Faith-based organizations and UN officials examined the importance of Interfaith Harmony in implementing the SDGs.
Greetings of peace and blessing from United Religions Initiative – Africa.
On the occasion of the celebration of 2016 World Interfaith Harmony Week, URI Africa is organizing an event under the theme of Interfaith Cooperation for Peaceful co-existence & Sustainable Development in Africa. The event will take place on February 6th 2016 at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi where the office of URI - Africa is based
URI Africa is going to be organizing this year an event in partnership with African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council, African Council of Religious Leaders, All African Conference of Churches, African Media Initiative, National Cohesion and Integration Commission of Kenya and Inter-religious Council of Kenya.
I am happy to inform you that, as of this year, URI Africa is launching the AFRICAN INTERFAITH HARMONY AWARD OF THE YEAR program in addition to its annual Africa Peace Award, which we started in 2007.
The first recipient of the African Interfaith Harmony Award will be announced on the occasion of the celebration of 2016 World Interfaith Harmony event on February 6th, 2016. It will be annual award.
May Peace and Interfaith Harmony Prevail on Earth.
In peace and gratitude,
Amb. Mussie Hailu, URI African Continental Coordinator
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Umodzi CC, Lunzu CC, Lower Shire CC, Matindi CC, and Blantyre CC
In commemoration of Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), five Cooperation Circles, on the 7th of February, 2016, jointly got mobilised for a memorable visit and gift presentations to the sick prisoners under the special healthcare and nutritional support by the Catholic nanny Sister Annie from Mlambe Mission Hospital. Read more here.
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Ministério da Misericódia Abrangente em Moçambique (Outreaching Mercy Mission in Mozambique) – MIMAMO
MIMAMO CC celebrated this week in style as it was still in its period of celebrating its approval into URI family. Its program reached its peak on Sunday the 7th of February in the city of Lichinga with three distinguished guests, Sheikh Mnane, representing Islamic Faith, Priest Julio Chiunda and Bishop Franklin Choo, representing Christian Faiths. The message which was carried to the people on this particular event was the need for strong interfaith recognition in the communities.
Read the full report and see more photos below.
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Global Compassion
Our activities will focus on the religious dialogue with different religious leaders, government officials and youth in Santchou - Cameroon, A football match as a tool to bring the youth together by sharing peace values to different religious groups and cultural exchange. An interfaith dialogue that gives voices to all and listens to everyone while experiencing that an “enemy” is one whose story we have not heard.
See the full description below.
LOCATION: Cape Town, South Africa
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Cape Town Interfaith Initiative
On Sunday, 7 February 2016, about 200 people, including those of Christian Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Sufi, Muslim, Baha'i, Christian Anglican, and Unitarian faith, will participate in "Prayers for the City." This is an annual event that is a two-hour extravaganza of artistic performance, prayer in many forms and musical unity. It celebrates each participating religion. It is free and open to all, and we hope that this concert will raise awareness of the glorious diversity in our city and help us to celebrate each other through awareness and respect. See the Facebook event here.
LOCATION: Lilongwe, Malawi
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Youth Alliance for Social and Economic Development (YASED)
YASED CC, with Lilongwe Central West, hosted a panel discussion on the importance of working together despite our beliefs. This included a children’s talent showcase with drama, poems, music, and more. We hope to raise awareness on the importance of working together, thereby achieving coexistence, which in turn will help in developing our community in the areas of health, agriculture and environmental management. The event included those from Christian, Muslim, Rastafarian, and traditional faiths, including sheiks, pastors, traditional leaders and political leaders. The celebration started with a tree planting exercise in the morning.
LOCATION: Mogadishu, Somalia
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Somali Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA)
From 1 to 7 February, 2016, Somali Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA) is joining with Somalia Orphans Center to host a World Interfaith Harmony Week event to call an end to religiously motivated violence across Somalia. Learn more at the Cooperation Circle’s blog.
LOCATION: Kaduna, Nigeria
We started the WIHW with a meeting of the Forum on Cities in Transition, Kaduna, Nigeria, together with our visitor Prof Padraig O'Malley from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Sec Gen/ Coordinator of the forum.
You will recall Kaduna city is one of the divided cities in the globe.
Wishing all success in the World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Honorable Elisha Buba Yero, URI Global Council Trustee, Jos, Nigeria
LOCATION: Lichinga, Niassa Province, Mozambique
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Ministério da Misericódia Abrangente em Moçambique -MIMAMO (Outreaching Mercy Mission in Mozambique)
We will hold an interfaith prayer, along with CCM, PCRCA, Islamic Congress, Islamic Council, and TAQUA-Islamic Association of Niassa. On February 07, 2016, 05:00 PM, with interfaith special guests including a Sheikh, Imam, and Bishop, we will celebrate with an interfaith prayer, two messages from Islamic and Christian guests, a lighting of candles, and finally, we will dine together.
LOCATION: Vihiga County, Kenya
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Prolife Interfaith Kenya, Angalidom Interreligious Peaceology International CC
On 2-5 February, 2016, Prolife Interfaith Kenya, along with Angalidom Interreligious Peaceology International CC, celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week with celebrations and prayers. Participants included those of Christian, Muslim, and Indigenous faiths, as well as a special guest member of the County Assembly and his delegation. There was a sharing of efforts by various groups in fostering peace and socio-economic developments, as well as presentations of choirs, songs, poems, inspirational talks, and prayers.
LOCATION: Khaliq Nagar, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
COOPERATION CIRCLES: A Better Community for All Pakistan CC (ABC4ALL), Global Mission Awareness CC, Youth Peace Revolution CC
On 1-5 February, we are holding the Free Eye Camp for Christians and Muslims in a remote area. There will be daily interfaith prayers at the ABC4All School. Since 5th February 2016 is a local holiday, the maximum number of people will be involved. During the Free Eye Camp, we will share United Religions Initiative’s Preamble, Purpose & Principles PPP and the vision of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
LOCATION: Sargodha, Punjab Province, Pakistan
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Ezaz-e-Niswan (Women's Honor)
The EDO CC invited teachers of St. Peter High School and Cornelius Law College for a Peace Lunch to celebrate Interfaith Harmony Week with them. On Feb 4th, 2016, our team gave them welcome and invited them for a participatory session on Interfaith Harmony Week. Teachers were given one week before invitations, along with a handout on URI and Interfaith Harmony Week. This was enough time for them to study and be ready. It was interesting to learn that some of them had spent some time on research in order to learn about the UN celebrating for Interfaith Harmony Week. This session was to provide a learning experience as teachers continued asking questions and, in response, sharing their learning with each other. They were so happy for having some research done on the topic, which is rarely discussed in our situation. We enjoyed teacher interest in this topic, watching them sharing, listening, admiring and clarifying some of the points for each other. This continued for about 45 minutes and then lunch was served to both Muslim and Christian teachers. It was again interesting to hear their conversion during the lunch. At the end, the teachers thanked EDO CC for this learning opportunity and the EDO thanked the teachers for accepting our initiation.
LOCATIONS: Islamabad, Pakistan, and surrounding areas.
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Islamabad MCC (Multi Cooperation Circle)
This program is being hosted with cooperation of UIPM and MISC. On Monday, February 1st, we will commence celebration of WIHW at 4:30 am at Fajar Prayer Time at Jame Mosque Mai Saleem Akhtar New Sohan Islamabad with the Dars-e-Quran on Verse #3/64. Ulema Imams and Khateebs of the area have been invited to share this event the rest of the day. We will organize a book namely Meelad-e-Mustafa and Masieh by our Laptop at the MISC office. At night we will travel to Bahawalnager some 600 miles from Islamabad, where on Tuesday, February 2nd there will be a Seminar on Common Word. Other time will be spent on compiling a book, as all necessary book resources will be with us in our car. At night we travel by car to Lahore, some 200 miles from Bahawalnagar. We will stay the night at Lahore. The next morning, on Wednesday, February 3rd, in the afternoon there will be an Interfaith Harmony Conference at FC College University Lahore. The rest of the time again will be dedicated to typing the material and proof reading. On Thursday, February 4th, we will be bake home in Islamabad and there will be a recording of my Program Roze Roshan for Roze TV, on the subject of WIHW history and up to date progress since 2011. There will be other time for the book. On Friday morning, February 5th, we will proceed to Bhatwari Tehsil in the Murree area on the border of Kashmir, where Dr Allama AGR Chishti will deliver a sermon on WIHW’s aims and objectives at the town`s Central Jame Mosque. In the evening we will be back home again, engaging in writing and typing with our team helpers (including wife and children). On Saturday, February 6th, we will visit Hindu Mandar and are having breakfast with them on Sunday, February 7th. There will be a program in Baha`I Hall at 6-9p of collective prayers from all religions.
The events will include those of Pakistani Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Budhhist and Baha`I faiths, as well as the Federal Minister of State Pir Amin ul Hassat for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.
I hope that these programs will bring awareness among the followers of various religious and communities living in Pakistan and provide them with a sense of love, security, and confidence as they will be able to gather together, sit together, and eat together during the celebration of WIHW, and it may replace religious hatred with love.
LOCATION: Dhaka, Bangladesh
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Youths for Peace, Bangladesh
Youths for Peace, Bangladesh, with the Department of World Religions and Culture (University of Dhaka), and Centre for Intereligous and Intercultural Dialogue (University of Dhaka), hosted a Peace Carnival from 1 February to 7 February. Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam, Trustee Board Member of URI, along with members of Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and atheist traditions, as well as Tribal representatives of different tribes of Bangladesh, were involved in the celebration. The program started with a rally and ended with a film show. A seminar, debate, and campus cleaning program are included in the schedule of the Peace Carnival. The program was inaugurated by Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, the Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University.
LOCATION: Northern India
We, the new regional team of North zone India, at this crucial hour, thought of celebrating the World Interfaith Harmony week by going to the roots: roots of peace, harmony and togetherness that lie in each religion. With the co-operation and extensive efforts of Buddha Education Foundation CC, Mrs. Sang Mitra Baudh, we were able to organize an interfaith meeting of various religious leaders.
LOCATION: Dhaka, Bangladesh
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Global Peace Tourism
Global Peace Tourism Cooperation Circle, along with URI Bangladesh and 40+ other groups and Dr. A Hye, Cooperation Circle Coordinator for URI Dhaka Bangladesh, will celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2016 on 5th Feb 2016 at Dhaka University.
Special guests include: Professor Dr A. A. M. S. Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor, University of Dhaka; Professor Dr Syed Anwar Hossain, Department of History, University of Dhaka; Advocate Rana Dasgupta, Procecutor, International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh and Dr Muhammad Abdul Hye, URI Country Representative, Bangladesh.
The celebration will include an Interfaith Rally for Peace, a seminar and discussion on Communal Harmony in Bangladesh, an interfaith photo and verse exhibition, an award giving for "Messenger for Peace" of the Year, and a tea table discussion with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dhaka. Our motto is "Purchase Peace by the Coin of Love." All religions are invited.
Under the supervision of Dr. A Hye, Dhaka Coordinator, it was a great discussion and celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2016 at Dhaka University auditorium on 5th Feb 2016.
A world-class speech with multiple examples of interfaith harmony relations made for a wonderful session. Hope we can make together a world-class URI environment in the future in Dhaka. All are hoping for and committed to waiting for success for the November 2016 program to welcome our guests to a successful conference.
LOCATION: Sargodha, Punjab Province, Pakistan
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Seeds of Peace CC
Seeds of Peace Cooperation Circle (CC) held a World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) celebration of candle lighting for peace. As planned, a few members of Seeds of Peace CC arranged candle lighting in the three different streets. This was a very unique experience, as people passing by were stopped and invited to light a peace candle. They were given an introduction about World Interfaith Harmony Week and invited to participate in the peace movement. The purpose of the informal conversation was to create awareness and conviction to promote peace cultures within the family, among the neighborhood and in our town. Our team was able to conduct this activity in three different streets. In each of the areas, the response of the people was very positive and their comments were very encouraging as some of them stated that, “Yes this is the need of today. Oh! We do need it, sure – our country needs it. Certainly, why not, etc.” The team was able to pass on their realization and conviction for interfaith harmony week celebration. Through this activity about 400 people were touched or enlightened to live in and tolerate each other for peace and harmony.
LOCATION: Lahore, Pakistan
COOPERATION CIRCLES: URI Lahore CC and URI Pakistan
URI Lahore CC and URI Pakistan, with FACES, Pakistan, are hosting a World Interfaith Harmony Week Conference in Lahore, Pakistan. Some of the faiths that will be represented are: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. Special guests include: Archbishop Sebastian Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, Grand Imam of Badshahi Mosque Lahore and URI Former Global Trustee, Hafiz Tahir Mehmmod Asharafi, Chairman, Pakistan Ulama Council, Pakistan. Allama Abual Fateh G.R. Chishti, Winner of Gold Medal and First Prize of WIHW, 2015. Baghaht Lal Khokhar, Hindu Leader, Tarnajeet Singh, Sikh Youth leader, fr James Channan OP, URI Regional Coordinator Pakistan, Allama Zubair Abid, Chairman, Peace and Harmony Network, Pakistan.
We will read the resolution of WIHW and give its background. The role of the United Nations in global peacebuilding and interfaith harmony will be highlighted. The role of URI will also be shared to bring a positive change among people of different religions. The prominent religious leaders, government representatives, human rights activists and promoters of interfaith dialogue will deliver short speeches on the challenges to interfaith harmony and what imperative role we can play as to bring harmony and promote interfaith harmony in Pakistan and around the globe. Media is also invited to give coverage to this event.
LOCATION: Dhaka, Bangladesh
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Satsang Research Center
On February 5, 2016, Satsang Research Center celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week with an Interfaith Rally for Peace, a seminar and discussion on Communal Harmony in Bangladesh, an interfaith photo and verse exhibition. Read more here.
LOCATION: Kolkata State, West Bengal, India
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Palki Peace Circle
Palki Peace CC celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week with prayers and resolutions for peace, lighting candles with a Midday meal of Hotchpotch, potato curry, chutney and sweets for the destitute irrespective of caste, creed, color or religion. Our goal is to establish PEACE among different people of various ages and religions. Learn more, and see more photos, here.
LOCATION: West Bengal, India
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Rural Development Society CC
“If there is to be peace in the World,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home
There must be peace in the heart”.
- The great prayer of Lao Tse, a Chinees philosopher of 6th BCE Rev. Kalyan Kumar Kisku .
We elaborated the main focus of celebrating “Interfaith Harmony Week” in a concluding ceremony at “Center for Conflict Resolution and Peace Building” in Bankura, West Bengal, India on February 6. Fifty participants from 6 Cooperation Circles from all over West Bengal took an oath to propagate enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. The participants also shared their sympathy for Rohit Vemula, a brilliant scholar who had to die for intolerance, a burning issue which has its roots deeply embedded in politicization of religion in India.
Biswadeb Chakraborty, the National Coordinator for URI India, explained the main aims and objectives of URI. He also mentioned that URI wants to make possible “A Common Word“ recognizing that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions, and beliefs call for peace, harmony, tolerance, and mutual understanding.
The participants resolved:
- To promote mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue which constitute the most important dimensions of a culture of peace.
- To encourage all to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during the “World Interfaith Harmony Week” based on Love of God and Love of the Neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions, convictions or beliefs.
- To keep all CCs informed of the implementation of the above resolutions.
All present lighted candles for PEACE and offered prayers (Asotama satgamaya, Tamasoma Jyotirgomaya, Mrityurma Amritamgamaya, lead us to truth from untruth, from darkness to light, from death to everlasting light) and flowers for Rohit Vemula. The programme was concluded with the National Anthem.
Prof. Basumitra Singh
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Multiple
To celebrate the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, I arranged a visit with fellow Dominican friars and a few URI members to visit the most holy site of Sikhism in Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. This is the exact site where Baba Guru Nanak - the Founder of Sikh religion was born. It was a great experience!
In peace, fr James Channan OP, URI Regional coordinator Pakistan
LOCATION: Sofia, Bulgaria
COOPERATION CIRCLE: BRIDGES - Eastern European Forum for Dialogue
The National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria will host an intercultural student exhibition "Gift of Love" for the period 11-20 February. The event is organised by "BRIDGES - Eastern European Forum for Dialogue" CC (URI Europe Region), together with the Center for European Refugees Migration and Ethnic Studies at the New Bulgarian University (CERMES) and Bulgarian-European Cultural Dialogue Center. Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians, as well as Muslims and atheists, will join delegates from the European Parliament, diplomats, religious leaders, prominent university professors, students, and others to celebrate together.
The project "Gift of Love" includes art works of about 35 students from two big Bulgarian Universities - New Bulgarian University, Sofia and University of Veliko Tarnovo (the Old Bulgarian capital), who worked on the theme "Gift of Love" during the last two months.
Coming from different religious backgrounds and different parts of the country, students will show their understanding of LOVE to "the other", to "our neighbour", to the different from us, without limits in techniques and materials. The event will be marked by the special patronage of Mrs. Mariya Gabrielle, Bulgarian MEP, Vice-Chair EPP Group (European People’s Party). Since 2012 she is a coordinator of the EPP Group for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) of the European Parliament. She is very much involved in social issues as overcome violence against women and the role of women in peacebuilding.
We will commemorate the World Interfaith Harmony Week for the period 11 - 20 February at the biggest cultural center in Southeast Europe - the National Palace of Culture. The opening ceremony will be on 11 February 18:00, where religious leaders, diplomats, delegates from the European Parliament, and university professors will be present. We hope that the exhibition "Gift of Love" will gather together people from different religions who could partner and cooperate for the better common future of Bulgaria, Europe and the world.
LOCATION: The Hague, Netherlands
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Interreligieus Beraad Segbroek (IBS)
In The Hague, Netherlands, at the nursing home Jonker Frans, there was a World Interfaith Harmony Week meeting with elderly people on the 31st of January, 2016. The organization hosting was Interreligieus Beraad Segbroek (IBS) Cooperation Circle.
Bart ten Broek opened the meeting. Duncan Wielzen presented the week and the talk about the theme, with pictures. Our special guest was an URI member from Germany: the artist Leo Lebendig. He presented for everybody a symbol of his sculpture in the Silence Centre of Jonker Frans, which people can hang up in their rooms.
One woman said: “Today is for me the most beautiful meeting I have ever had... I'm so glad!!”
May peace prevail on earth!
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Multiple
URI Bulgaria commemorated the World Interfaith Harmony Week at the biggest cultural center in Southeast Europe, the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. The Cultural Palace cooperated by hosting the intercultural student exhibition GIFT of LOVE for the period 11-20 February. The event was organized by “BRIDGES – Eastern European Forum for Dialogue” CC (URI Europe) in co-operation with the Center for European Refugees Migration and Ethnic Studies (CERMES) and the Bulgarian-European Cultural Center.
LOCATION: Novosibirsk, Russia
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Euro-Asia CC
These days many of us speak on the Shift in people's consciousness; I do believe in it too, although the effect is not so vivid on the material level, but good glimpses are appearing all over the world. Quite recently before Christmas we all rejoiced to watch the Celebration of Harmony, Diversity and Beauty, which is actually a manifestation of Culture, organised by URI Staff with the help of many, of course.
I would suggest as one of the mottos for our common activity the words what our friends from URI-India write: "The roots of peace and harmony lie in each and every culture, religion and tradition of the world"!!! These are key-stone words for us to pay more attention to, I believe.
Galina Ermolina with love and wishes of Harmony (Euro-Asia CC)
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
LOCATION: Caracas, Venezuela
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Circulo De Cooperación para el Diálogo CC
We held an Interfaith Harmony meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb 04, 2016 from 2:30-5:00 PM. All participants said prayers from each of their religions for peace and harmony on the planet, and each lit a candle as a symbol of light for humanity. Also, they recited the Buddhist Heart Sutra Maka Hannya Shingyo Tibetan Buddhism and also recited a mantra of protection. The Hare Krishnas chanted. At the end we made a share.
Sixty people participated, including those of Catholic, Anglican, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Baha’i, Brahma Kumaris, Sufi, Presbyterian, Satyananda Yoga, Hare Krishna, and Peace Dance traditions.
It is usually very difficult to meet the Caracas Jewish community with the Muslim community, but that was not how it happened on Thursday, because we had the presence of the Shey Rouhollah Kiyaei Nejad and Rabbi Isaac Benzaquen together.
LOCATION: Campinas - São Paulo, Brazil
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Campinas CC
The Cooperation Circle URI Campinas conducted on February 3, 2016, at the Jewish Synagogue, a meeting of various religious entities to celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week with the objective of honoring the dialogue and the unity of religions.
We were wonderfully welcomed by the Jewish community in their synagogue and we had the presence of representatives from the following traditions:
- Jewish community
- Islamic community
- Baha'i Faith
This meeting also marked the beginning of the visitations we want to do during the year to all traditions: “Everyone visiting everybody".
- Pedro Thiago - President of the Israeli Society
- Ricardo Puccetti - Religious Director of the Israeli Society
- Irene Lewinger - Social Director of the Israeli Society
- Alberto Liberman - Israeli Society
- Emanuel Rubin - Jewish Community
- Mark Ebeling - Lutheran Church Pastor
- Father Joãozinho (João Galerani) - Umbanda
- Nader Habib - Islamic Society of Campinas
- André Luiz de Moraes – Youth of Yards Moviment - Candomblé
- Sílvia Lamon - Baha'i Faith
- Regina Marques Pereira - Baha'i Faith
- Beatriz Ferreira - Catholic, Member of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Campinas, CC URI Campinas.
- Salette Aquino, Catholic, Member of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Campinas, Vice-Coordinator of CC URI Campinas.
- Mostafa bartar - Baha'I Faith, Coordinator of CC URI Campinas.
- Opening: prayer for unity.
- Reception by the Jewish Community
- Text reading: "Interfaith" written by fellow Jew, CC Buenos Aires member, Rabbi Arieh Sztokman
- Presentation of participants
- Prayer for the health recovery of Maria do Carmo, CC Campinas member
- Exposition about: URI purpose and principles; the Interfaith Harmony Week; the restart of visitations to the traditions, by Mostafa.
- Exploring the Synagogue, with explanations about the Jewish tradition (Ricardo Puccetti and Pedro Tiago)
- Coffee break
- Speeches of those present about their traditions and on religious harmony.
Excerpts from the speeches:
- Irene: "meeting each other is an opportunity to destroy barriers."
- Father Joãozinho: “there are more than 20 traditions inside Umbanda”. He read excerpts from the Magna Carta of Umbanda: "love, respect, do not judge ..."
- Beatriz expressed happiness to be back starting a cycle of visits to the traditions: "world peace is what all religions aspire."
- Pastor Marcos: "where the Unifying Spirit is manifested, there is God. We are builders of bridges, not walls."
- Sílvia talked about the principles of Baha'i Faith: "There is only one religion: love; one race: the human race."
- Nader: “taking URI to be a transformer pole in society. Combat social inequality should be our first goal to pursue.
- André: “I felt a very strong positive energy in the synagogue". He reported the meeting held 10 days ago in Campinas. “180 young people of Umbanda and Candomble from 15 cities in the State of São Paulo, as well as other states. Many plans for spreading the culture of peace.”
- Pedro Tiago: “the Jewish community also feels the loss of interest of people for religions.” They used to have 400 families in the community. Today there are 160 and only 80 are goers of the Synagogue. They also maintain a daycare at Jardim São Pedro, Creche Tia Léia, with 70 children.
- Continue visitations - "Everyone visiting Everybody". The next visit will be to the Baha'i headquarters, in March. We agreed to contact the Tent United in Oxalá, in Valinhos - Father Luiz (Umbanda).
- Make a gathering of children from different traditions (Ricardo's suggestion)
- Sílvia offered the ZEN Newspaper to publish a monthly article of each tradition. Jews will write the first article (2000-2500 characters).
- Salette suggested to take the suggestion of the Garbage & Citizenship Forum, which she is part, to disseminate the Zero Garbage Campaign, along with the effort that the Campaign of the Fraternity 2016 is launching with the theme: COMMON HOME, OUR LIABILITY. The Forum will prepare a material that may be used by the religious traditions.
Mostafa emphasized that our goal is to promote interreligious dialogue and improve understanding between world religions. All religions originated from the same source. The time has come for a shared goal and the essential unity of world religions. Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein. The world's religions, if united, can play a potentially significant role.
THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
LOCATION: Amman, Jordan
COOPERATION CIRCLE: WIN Foundation (Women’s Interfaith Network) CC
For the occasion of the Interfaith Harmony Week, we are advancing inner and outer peace between faith traditions and Interfaith Harmony through a Yoga Meditation on the 6th of February. We are visiting refugees and wounded people, and lighting the candles for peace and love.
The event started with prayers reciting round (Prepared by Naya CC), where different prayers from different religious traditions were recited by Muslim, Baha'I, and Christian attendees. These were followed by a Raja Yoga session (introduction and practice) by Nariman Asad (the founder of LEAD and a professional Yoga specialist). Raja means King. A king acts with independence, self-confidence and assurance. Likewise, a Raja Yogi is autonomous, independent and fearless. We learned how to practice Raja Yoga as a path of self-discipline that helps us to use our power and inner peace to look at the positive side of others and to maintain harmonious relationships with others regardless of their differences. Then we finished the event with lighting candles of hope, and everyone shared a personal prayer and hope. The event was attended by seven wounded civilian Syrian civilians who were injured in the ongoing conflict in Syria. All present loved the event and after the meditation part they felt peace and love. Even the wounded started talking and mingling with others.
LOCATION: Tiberias, Israel
COOPERATION CIRCLES: Trust WIN CC, WIN Foundation (Women’s Interfaith Network) CC
Trust WIN Cooperation Circle, along with MADA, Women Reborn, and WIN MENA, are hosting the event "Interfaith Women Create Healing and Harmony" on February 4, 2016. About 40 people of Christian, Druze, Jewish, and Muslim faiths will visit Nabi Shuaib, shrine of Prophet Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, who is revered as a prophet in the Druze religion and Islam. A Druze sheik will explain the significance and tradition of the Holy Site. Blessings and prayers from all the religions will be offered for peace and harmony, and we will share a meal. We will visit the nearby ancient Therapeutic Hot Springs for intimate women’s bonding and relaxation. All women here are suffering from the current wave of religious violence in our land, so this is a way to heal ourselves and strengthen and expand our interfaith sisterhood during a week of worldwide focus on Interfaith Harmony.
LOCATION: Golan Heights, on the Syria border
COOPERATION CIRCLE: The Abrahamic Reunion
The Abrahamic Reunion CC, joined by peace musician James Twyman, hosted the 'Great Abrahamic Pulse'; a global prayer for the peace of Syria. Arriving at the summit of Mount Bental, we planted a 'peace pole', with four languages, 'May Peace Prevail on Earth', in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Japanese. We saw stunning views of Mt. Hermon to the north, and to our east, the divided villages of the Syrian Golan Heights region.
James Twyman and Eliyahu McLean gathered the diverse crowd into a circle. James Twyman shared: “We are here to prove the enduring power of love. At 5 PM Israel time, we will demonstrate the reality of peace, praying in silence for 15 minutes, when millions of people will join us at the same moment”. I pointed to nearby Syria, directing our intentions to the 10 million Syrians who are either refugees or internally displaced from a horrific civil war. Read the full story here.
LOCATION: Hebron, Palestinian Territory
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Volunteering for Peace CC
The celebration will include Christians, Muslims, Sufis, Armenians, Bahai, atheists, and religious leaders in the Hollands. Volunteering for Peace Cooperation Circle in Palestine had been celebrating the World Interfaith Harmony Week since it was started. This year is unique, as we will use Yuga as a method of celebrating the World Interfaith Harmony Week by making a meeting at a Yuga center to talk about the topic and share ideas between people from different faith groups. Learn more at the VFPeace webpage.
LOCATION: Sana'a, Yemen
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Youth of Peace, Yemen
Youth of Peace, Yemen created a radio program for school students to mark the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week. The overall objective of the project was spreading the culture of peace and its importance in achieving development in Yemen, where the region has been marked by armed conflicts. "We found a glimmer of hope in the next generation of Yemen, and that of inculcating a culture of peace in them." Read the full story here.
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Faiths Without Borders
Faiths Without Borders has started to plan a campaign with Rasmus to eliminate religious discrimination. We use youth-produced digital stories in informal educational settings.This is also a tool for religious literacy and media literacy. This photo was taken during the Harmony Week: Suaad Onniselkä, Heidi Rautionmaa, Paula Kemell, Sara Bahmanpour. (Rasmus is a Network against Racism and Xenophobia).
URI North America is celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week in many locations across the region.
SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
URI Australia is pleased to be partnering with the Western Suburbs of Melbourne - the Brimbank Maribyrnong Interfaith Network - to deliver the event "World Interfaith Harmony Week: Connecting to the Earth", and our Regional Co-ordinator Nivy Balachandran will be delivering the keynote address. Learn more here.
LOCATION: URI Southeast Asia and the Pacific
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Interfaith Peace Building on Natural Resources Management
Ten like-minded organisations join hands to celebrate WIHW. Interfaith Peace Building on Natural Resources Management (IF-NRM) Cooperation Circle is the host organisation. We, URI, are we proud to witness this daily interfaith cooperation.
- Sothearwat Seoung, Regional Coordinator for URI Southeast Asia and the Pacific - West Zone
LOCATION: Kampot Province, Cambodia
COOPERATION CIRCLE: Interfaith Peace Building on Natural Resources Management
Along with Sem Chanthea, Lun Ni, Ly Ashmat, Interfaith Peacebuilding on Natural Resources Management Cooperation Circle will host an interfaith tree planting including Ly Ashmat, Khan Dorn, and participants of Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Taoist faiths. Different faiths come together to share and listen to each faith’s perspective and teaching as related to natural resources. We support other faith perspectives and introduce participants to become aware of ecology and environmental issues, which are sensitive issues in Cambodia and in the general region. Learn more about a similar program here.