In honoring the URI 20th anniversary, the URI MENA (Middle East and North Africa) office in Jordan hosted a two-hour hybrid event (a mix of both a physical and virtual participation at the same time) on Saturday, 26-12-2020. The event was attended by more than 30 persons from 25 Cooperation Circles (URI member groups), of which 9 members from 5 Jordanian Cooperation Circles were able to attend in-person and the rest joined virtually via Zoom.
Mamoun Ahmad, the URI Regional Coordinator, told the story of how early URI members in the Middle East were introduced to URI through two interfaith activists who attended the seventh World Assembly of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP), held in Amman, in November 1999. Then he explained how URI presence grew in the MENA region after a group of interfaith activists from the Middle East participated in a URI gathering in Berlin, Germany in April 2002.
Mamoun shared the URI MENA updated Vision, which is "to be recognized as the largest and most respectful grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network in the MENA region known for its independence, impartiality and integrity." Participants were invited to provide their feedback on the vision as it is still in the development stage.
The presentation also highlighted the major action areas and achievements of MENA Cooperation Circles, stressing how URI has succeeded in deepening understanding and cooperation among the historic faith communities and ethnic groups in the region. Additionally, it shed light on some URI initiatives that have advanced peace at grassroots level as well as empowered young people to play a vital role in building their societies.
The presentation included:
- Reflections on URI Preamble, Purpose and Principles (Participants read and reflected on URI PPPs)
- Highlights from the URI Global celebration of the 20th anniversary
- MENA Cooperation Circles' presentations (Some Cooperation Circles introduced themselves and their work)
- The benefits of joining the URI Network (participants shared how URI has positively affected their Cooperation Circles' work and their personal lives)
- Planning for 2021 through open discussion with the URI MENA Leadership Team (Participants shared their ideas and suggestions for the URI MENA 2021 Work Plan)
See more photos in the Facebook post.