G20 Interfaith Summit of 2017

17 July 2017

Greetings of peace and blessing.  

This is to inform you that URI took part at the G20 Interfaith Summit of 2017 which was held at University of Potsdam, Germany from June 15 to 17, 2017.

More than a hundred experts and leaders on economy, law, politics, religion, development and humanitarian aid from 30 nations gathered for the fourth consecutive G20 Interfaith Summit to discuss how religion relates to sustainable development and the refugee crisis. As with past summits, diverse arrays of religious traditions or beliefs were represented. The majority of G20 nations were also represented. I was one of the panelists on the summit and happy to inform you that partnership was established between URI and G20 Interfaith Summit Association. 

The overarching theme for this year’s G20 Interfaith Summit was “Religion, Sustainable Development, and the Refugee Crisis” with the sub-themes of:


  • Religion and the Refugee Crisis
  • Religion and the Environment
  • Religion and Gender Issues
  • Religious Strategies for Countering Youth Radicalization
  • Legal Strategies for Protecting Social Stability and Promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Best Practices for Facilitating Religious Contributions to the Economic Sector
  • Faith Perspectives on Addressing Socioeconomic Inequality
  • The Ethics of Sustainable Development (religion and corporate compliance policies, social responsibility of entrepreneurs)
  • Case Studies of Interfaith Dialogue and Harmony with Particular Emphasis on Partnership with Africa
  • Alternate Visions of Development


Several parallel sessions focused on the relationship between religion and special interest groups important to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Two concurrent sessions were focused on the interfaith youth movement: Youth Interfaith Engagement and A Common Word among the Youth: Interfaith Development Goals. A parallel session on Women, Faith, and Human Rights was also convened for the second time in the history of the Interfaith Summits.

Several of the parallel sessions also addressed recent political developments in the world. Delegates discussed the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in a session on Faith, Sustainable Development and the Environment.

G20 Interfaith Summit Association held the conference involving a broad array of universities, faith groups, academic experts and government officials as part of the lead-up to this year’s G20 Summit. The aim of the summit was to draw on interfaith insight and experience to develop recommendations regarding issues relevant to the priorities that the German Chancellery has identified for this year’s summit. The objective of the summit was also to facilitate peace and harmony between people of all religions and cultures.

The G20 Interfaith Summit of 2017 brought together government, religious and academic leaders and experts from around the world to discuss faith and religion as a factor on the global stage in economic development, social well-being and policymaking in furtherance of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and the more particular objectives that have been outlined by the German Chancellery in connection with the G20 Summit.   

In anticipation of the 2018 G20, meetings will be held in Argentina. The G20 Interfaith Summit Organizing Committee invited several delegates from Argentina to participate in the Potsdam meetings including the Government of Argentina’s Director of Religious Freedom and Diversity from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, the Director of Global Affairs from the National Senate, and the President of the Argentine Council for Religious Liberty. 

The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum that brings together the world's 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies. The group accounts for 85 per cent of world GDP and two-thirds of its population.

Membership of the G20 consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union. Founded in 1999, the G20 aims to discuss policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

May Peace Prevail on Earth 

In peace and gratitude,

Mussie Hailu