It was an amazing moment when I met the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing at an official dinner hosted by the President of the Republic of Romania at the president’s house in Bucharest. We were participating in a global interfaith conference arranged by the Community of Saint Egidio in September 1998. During an informal chat, Bishop Swing told me about URI. He very kindly briefed me about URI’s vision, gave me documents and invited me to join URI. Since that day, we have been part of URI.
That was a significant moment when I felt that this was the right way to achieve the goals of my organization, the Pakistan Council for Social Welfare for Human Rights; and, to fulfill the dream of my life – to be a part of what I wanted the world to become.
This certainty was sparked even more when we gathered in Bali 20 years ago for the first URI Asia and Pacific Assembly. It was deeply inspiring to spend wonderful time with new interfaith friends. Many were legendary peacemakers: Nirmala Deshpande, Mr. Abdurrahman Wahid, the former President of Indonesia; the great Swami Agnivesh, Dr. T. D. Singh, Madam Ibo Oka, Indra Udayana; URI staff, Sally Mahé, Maria Crespo and Marites Africa, and so many distinguished guests.
I felt so inspired the way we all walked in the peace procession in the streets of Denpasar. We were from different religions, cultures, creeds and colors, but with one spirit, one vision and one voice, we chanted, “May there be peace on Earth.” It is always encouraging that in URI we are from different continents, different cultures and religions, but we are united in fostering an inclusive society creating cultures of peace, justice and equity for everyone.
Muhammad Ijaz Nooris
Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights
See more stories in this series: "Being What We Want to Become."