World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021

21 January 2021, 11:46 AM
Chahat Charitable Trust celebrates World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021

Chahat Charitable Trust celebrates World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021

Since the inception of World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), the URI global network has partnered with the United Nations and celebrates this event around the planet. WIHW, conceived to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence, was first proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the United Nations in 2010. This was quickly adopted by the UN General Assembly (Resolution A/RES/65/5), declaring the first week of February each year as World Interfaith Harmony Week, and calling on governments, institutions and civil society to observe it with various programs and initiatives that promote the aim of the WIHW objectives.

Note: Click the yellow arrows on either side of the photos to scroll through the photo slideshows below.


View celebrations by region:

Africa

Asia

Europe

Latin America and the Caribbean

Middle East and North Africa

The URI Multiregion

North America

Southeast Asia and the Pacific


 

 

 

 

Africa

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Cooperation Circle: Cape Town Interfaith Initiative

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Join us for a week of interfaith activities online - including messages from the winners of World Interfaith Harmony Week 2020, The John Oliver Memorial Lecture, and Prayers for the City. 


URI Regional Office: URI Africa

Locations: Madagascar, Ethiopia, and across Africa

In celebration of the 2021 World Interfaith harmony Week and International Day of Human Fraternity, United Religions Initiative - Africa, All African Conference of Churches (AACC), The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), and Baha’i International Committee of Addis Ababa Office (BIC) organized on February 5th an interfaith prayer for peace and healing to prevail in the world and reflected on how to work together in partnership in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 17.

The organizers of the event strongly believe that one practical action that will help to enhance and achieve the purpose of the UN General Assembly resolution on World Interfaith Harmony Week and International Day of Human Fraternity is the teaching of the Golden Rule, which says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It is a fundamental moral principle and commonly shared value by different religions, traditions, Indigenous cultures and secular philosophies. Read more.


 

 

 

 

Asia

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Cooperation Circle: Chahat Charitable Trust

Location: Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, India

We at Chahat NGO Cooperation Circle believe that kids are the future of our nation. Every kid deserves a good education, food and other basic amenities, regardless of their caste, creed, gender or religion. We have been continuously working for the same cause for many years. On 26-01-2021, we organized a Langar meal for all the underprivileged people we are associated with. The event was called (सांझा चूल्हा/Sanjha Chulha) as it was all about togetherness. Since it was mainly about what makes them happy, we decided to ask them what they wanted to eat. And obviously they were all really happy and excited to see the food of their choice. Because we are amidst the pandemic, we took proper care of sanitation and maintained social distancing. About 125 people participated.

It was a day full of joy and cheerful laughs. This was one of the many events that we keep on organizing to strengthen the base of our society; our kids! If we empower them, we empower our country. We hope to keep doing our bit for society for as long as we can.

''IF YOU CANNOT FIND FAITH IN HARMONY, BE THE FAITH IN HARMONY''


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Cooperation Circle: Afghanistan Youth Empowerment and Peace-building Organization (AYEPO)

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

AYEPO will organize a Peace and Harmony Gathering on the Eve of World Interfaith Harmony Week - from 4 to 5 February. The event aims to bring youth of different ethnic groups together to share stories and experiences, and talk about their lives, culture and traditions to build trust, improve friendship, a sense of belonging, love and compassion among them, which in turn promotes peace and harmony in their communities and the society at large. This will be complemented with other activities such as teamwork, effective listening, discussion on how youth can resolve conflicts though dialogue and non-violence communication skills, and other interactive sessions. It is our hope that this gathering and the spirit of the discussion and story sharing help the participants to find a new prospective toward their fellow citizens and become more friendly and cooperative with one another and inspired to promote peace, social cohesion, and positive changes in Afghan society. See the Facebook page.


North India - UNEP

URI Region: URI North India & Afghanistan (with URI Europe and URI Middle East & North Africa)

Locations: India, Bosnia, & Lebanon

During this time of climate emergency, the URI network is stepping up to make a change. URI is partnering with the Faith for Earth Initiative (UNEP) and other local entities to equip Faith Leaders and community members to respond quickly and effectively to the climate crisis. The project will take place in India, Bosnia, and Lebanon this year.

Learn more.


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Cooperation Circle: Afghanistan Youth Empowerment and Peace-building Organization (AYEPO)

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

An interfaith knowledge series on "Compassion in Interfaith Dialogue: Learning From Different Traditions"

As the World Interfaith Harmony Week inches closer, we at Online Circle of Compassion are proud to announce our partnership with Afghanistan Youth Empowerment and Peace-building Organization, ASFIT Network and JK Policy Institute, to bring to you an interfaith knowledge series on "Compassion in Interfaith Dialogue: Learning From Different Traditions". Stay tuned for more updates and do keep yourself free to tune in to the live web series on the mentioned dates! Let's have some fun learning.

Peace and Harmony Gathering

AYEPO organized a peace and harmony gathering from 4 to 5 February to recognize and celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week. The program brought together a group of active youth where, through dialogue, they familiarized each other with their ways of life, culture and traditions, and how they celebrate different occasions in their communities and tribes. The storytelling, along with the compassionate listening aspect of the gathering, was transformative. The participants felt their souls breathing fully and deeply as they were humbled and inspired by candid story-sharing.

Our colleagues Mahboob Omary and Bahara Hussaini facilited engaging sessions that drew from scenarios which can lead to experiencing conflict and means that could help prevent such occurrences. The participants learnt how to approach conflicts through dialogue and non-violent communication. Overall, the gathering improved friendship and understanding among the participants which we hope in time, will promote peace, harmony, a sense of belonging, and togetherness among the participants and beyond World Interfaith Harmony Week.

As always, AYEPO is grateful to our team and volunteers for their efforts and selfless service. See more on the Facebook page.


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Cooperation Circle: Dwarka Peace Society    

Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India

Members at Dwarka Peace Society, one of URI’s Cooperation Circles, pledged to respect all religions and maintain a sense of brotherhood and love on the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week.  

On 3 February, an interfaith harmony luncheon was organized in which Hindu Sikh and Buddhist people participated. About 10 people participated.


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Cooperation Circles: Chahat Charitable Trust and Choti si Khushi

Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India

On World Harmony Week, Chahat Charitable Trust held a drawing competition.  An interfaith wall painting creation by Chahat NGO kids is in process awaiting its final touches. Wait for a great work of art on the wall by Chagat Tinytots. See the Facebook page for more.

Saksham Bharti Kendra at Prashanti Dham organised a Drawing Competition for the children up to the age of 15 years. Children at Choti si Khushi were enthusiastic and expressed their creative edge at the event. With an amazing participation from our side, the following students made us proud by winning exciting prizes!

  • Pooja Chauhan secured 1st position in the age group 9-12 years.
  • Komal Gupta secured 2nd position in the age group 9-12 years.
  • Manisha secured 2nd position in the age group 9-12 years.

We believe, children should always be encouraged to express themselves through art!


Cooperation Circle: Sangrur District CC

Location: Malerkotla, Punjab, India

Sangrur District Cooperation Circle celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week. About 10 people participated.


Cooperation Circle: Sarvodaya Bundelkhand

Location: Uttar Pradesh, India

Members of Sarvodaya Bundelkhand, one of URI’s Cooperation Circles, celebrated the commencement of World Interfaith Harmony Week by organising a community lunch in Banda, Uttar Pradesh. About 10 people participated.


 

 

 

 

Europe

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Cooperation Circle and URI Region: Baraza and URI Europe

Location: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Syria, Turkey, USA, UK and many others.

Baraza and URI Europe are delighted to partner on running an exciting series of webinars as part of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week. We have a variety of excellent speakers from different parts of the world addressing subjects from the pandemic to interfaith dialogue and from heritage in Syria to the six stages of interfaith encounter. Our webinars will cross many time zones with speakers connected to countries including Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Syria, Turkey, USA, UK and many others. The webinars will offer opportunities for learning, connection and insights which can further inform and support activities for peace, justice and healing. We are looking forward to seeing you! - Baraza and URI Europe.

Webinar information:

2.2.2021. at 6pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86057794253?pwd=V2xsWTI5ZStRdzFrdXFnUGhWVjJzZz09

3.2.2021. at 6pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87015120960?pwd=WFI5RE1JelFjMmxBN2k0alNOZlJOdz09

9.2.2021. at 5pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82085856009?pwd=eXZJaXIwbkpyTUJUV2hRRFFYdDl5QT09

16.2.2021. at 5 pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81492931056?pwd=MnlLTitIeWFjRnh0YWRka29RMk9Ddz09

17.2.2021. at 5pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83380957821?pwd=TGRNU2hnSGRtSVdrL1RoZFk4c1NrQT09

24.2.2021. at 8pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82950082160?pwd=MlNwelNKQW9UZ0hUaGZDSFkrSkpTQT09

26.2.2021 at 5pm CET

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87811387599?pwd=cUNha0ZucExwVDFlZUZUdFRmUVMzZz09


 

 

 

 

Latin America and the Caribbean

Fraternidad Interespiritual celebrates WIHW 2021

Cooperation Circle: Fraternidad Interespiritual  

Location: Ciudad de México, Mexico

Presentación del Dado Interreligioso de la Paz / The Interreligious Dice of Peace:

Living Peace International, el grupo Diálogo Interreligioso de Ciudad de México y la Fraternidad Interespiritual presentamos el Dado Interreligioso de la Paz, resultado de nuestro trabajo colaborativo entre cada uno de nosotros en la diversidad de nuestras expresiones de Fe. Cada cara del Dado Interreligioso de la Paz contiene una frase de una expresión sagrada de fe, siendo un recurso didáctico para aplicación vivencial de las frases.

Translation: Living Peace International, the Interreligious Dialogue group of Mexico City and the Interspiritual Fraternity, present the Interreligious Dice of Peace, the result of our collaborative work among each one of us in the diversity of our expressions of Faith. Each face of the Interreligious Dice of Peace contains a phrase of a sacred expression of faith, being a didactic resource for the experiential application of the phrases.

About 25 people will take part. See more on the Facebook page.


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Cooperation Circle: Grupo de Diálogo Interreligioso de Londrina

Location: Parana, Londrina, Brazil

 6ª Londrina Religiões Unidas pela Paz e em Prol da Tolerância Religiosa - Teremos a presença de 15 lideres religiosas de diversas tradições religiosas, com transmissão online para a comunidade de nossa cidade, promovendo a liberdade religiosa e a intolerância religiosa.   

Translation: 6th Londrina Religions United for Peace and for Religious Tolerance - We will have the presence of 15 religious leaders from different religious traditions, with online transmission to the community of our city, promoting religious freedom and religious intolerance.

Around 100 people are expected.


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Cooperation Circle: Asociación de Líderes de Comunidades de Fe – Teusaquillo Territorio de Paz

Location: Teusaquillo, Bogotá, Colombia

Let's Talk about Comprehensive Peace Program - In the framework of the World Interreligious Harmony Week, Rev. Luis San Miguel, member of the CC Association of Community Leaders of Faith-Teusaquillo Territory of Peace, transmitted online, via streaming on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, the program "Let's Talk about Integral Peace" on January 26, 2021. About 60 participants are expected.

In this, Henry Ramírez Soler, a Claretian Missionary, was invited to talk about how to have integral peace in communities: "...In Mark 3: 31-35, they say to Jesus: 'Your mother and your brothers are looking for you.' Jesus responds: 'My mother and my brothers are all those who do the will of my father.' It seems that this expression of Jesus identifies us with the God of humanity. From now on we are going to propose to look at the other person as my mother and my brothers / sisters, this means that we will try to respect him and her, and we will walk with him and her whatever it takes to reach a new humanity, distant from hatred, anger and resentment, united in the religion of love that is the will, because 'a better world is possible' ..... To be continued, Rev. LFSC."


Cooperation Circle: C.O.E.MA.TI (Comunidad Originaria Ecos de la Madre Tierra)

Location: Jujuy, Argentina

CONNECTING POSITIVE ENERGIES FOR MORE LIFE:

Our event is planned to achieve a change in human behaviors, from being an observer and complainer of the needs of our neighbors and natural landscape situation, to work to produce positive actions and achieve change. Dates to hold the event: 01/31/21 and 02/14 and 07/21. About 15 participants are expected.

On 01/31, the members of the circle will meet and consider the phrase, "In the face of the variety of problematic situations in our community, how can we reverse?" They will propose solutions that are achievable in the short term (take note), and form working groups. Some activities are planned to be carried out, such as collecting newborn baby clothes and donating to the maternal and child hospital in our place. And another activity: cleaning and planting two native trees in the places near our community, will be some of the activities carried out.


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Cooperation Circle: Samay

Location: Saraguro, Ecuador

Encounter "hope" for the week of inter-religious harmony. This event will include: 1. Welcome time; 2. Interreligious dialogue and new social realities; 3. Integration time. About 10 participants are expected.


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Cooperation Circle: Fraternidad Interespiritual 

Location: Mexico, DF

World Religions Day: On January 21, 2021, a Zoom program was held that brought together leaders of different religions and spiritual traditions to kick off the celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Twenty caring people with their wisdom participated in the program. 


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Cooperation Circle: Comunidad de Reflexión y Espiritualidad Ecológica - CREE 

Location: Quito, Ecuador

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - Between January 18 and 25, 2021, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was held via Zoom for remaining in scheduled confinement (due to the pandemic) in Quito, Ecuador. About 30 people participated in each online connection.


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Cooperation Circle: Circulo De Cooperación para el Diálogo

Location: Miranda, Caracas, Venezuela

We invite you to participate in "Encounters with Buddhism." This is a meeting point for the advancement of the study of Buddhism applied to different environments and aspects of society, as well as a space for the understanding of consciousness. On Friday, January 22, we began the celebration of the World Week of Inter-religious Harmony, offering its knowledge and its practice aimed at meeting Buddhism as a perspective of the current world. Friday the 22nd is the Course of 12 conferences:

Discovering the Potential of your Mind: In this course we will study Mind from a Buddhist perspective. How is it structured? How does it work? How are our experiences formed? We will discover how our perception, our thoughts, feelings and our emotions are formed. We will have a great opportunity to know ourselves, to understand ourselves and to generate a genuine love towards our experiences. An experience worth living.

There are 12 classes a month, and a certificate of attendance will be awarded to people who participate in the live classes via Zoom. Time: 7pm Mexico time, 9pm Caracas time. About 60 people are expected to participate in each class.


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Cooperation Circle: Círculo Latinoamericano de Músicos

Locations: Mexico, DF & Sao Luis do Paraitinga, Sao Paulo, Brazil

UNIVERSE OF SONGS: On Saturday February 6, 2021 at 4:00 pm, Mexico time, a concert called Universe of Songs will be broadcast via livestream on Facebook and YouTube, which will be an online healing space. Cordially all the brothers of URI and the world are invited to connect with the CC Latinoamericano de Músicos.

The CC Latinoamericano de Músicos will present a recital of healing to celebrate the World Week of Interfaith Harmony. The musicians are going to sing online. There will be about 40 people participating. See the Facebook page.


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Cooperation Circle: Brasília

Location: Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil

Week to combat religious intolerance: CC Brasilia organized the week to fight against religious intolerance, especially violence against African tradition. It was more than a week of webinars with many different kind of speakers talking about how religions and live and talk together without violence or prejudgement. See more on the Facebook page. About 100 people are expected to participate.

1/19/21 - TUESDAY - 8:00 pm

Webinar: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY

1/20/21 - WEDNESDAY

Webinar: INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AS A MECHANISM FOR THE ERADICATION OF VIOLENCE AND PREJUDICE

21/01/21 - QUINTA

Webinar: CAFÉ DA DIVERSIDADE DAY

21/01/21 - THURSDAY - 15:00 h

Webinar: THE FEDERAL DISTRICT AND THE FIGHT AGAINST TO RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

01/21/21 - THURSDAY - 8:00 pm

Webinar: BRAZIL AND THE DEFENSE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND BELIEFS

01/21/21 - FRIDAY - 8:00 pm

Webinar: WALKING THE WAY OF COMMON GOOD AND GENEROSITY

23/01/21 - SATURDAY - 07:30 h

Webinar: AFTER ALL, WHAT PEACE ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?


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Cooperation Circle:  Grupo de Diálogo Interreligioso de Londrina

Location: Londrina, Paraná, Brazil

Londrina united with religious intolerance and in favor of peace. On the last 21 / January, in Londrina, the 6th edition of the event "Londrina united with religious intolerance and in favor of peace" took place. This event, held annually, is promoted by the Interreligious Dialogue Group, which has representatives from 17 religious beliefs present in the city, including Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Asian, African, etc. The purpose of this event is to strengthen the dialogue between the creeds present in our city, as well as to defend the freedom of belief of every Londoner. About 30 people participated.


Cooperation Circle: Quinaroa CC

Location: Lagunillas, Merida, Venezuela

Quinaroa CC is hosting a Prayer Chain and Paradura del Niño for World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021. (See below)

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To celebrate the World Interreligious Harmony Week, the members of CC Quinaroa organized a prayer chain during the week from February 01 to 07, 2021, at 7:00 pm. In this remote connection, the prayer began for Mojan with a blessing at the beginning and continued with the intervention of Catholic brothers asking for the healing of Hortensia Gutierrez, a nurse, who is infected by Covid-19 and for all those people who are sick in Venezuela and the whole world. Peace and Health for humanity!

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The members of CC Quinaroa also organized the celebration of the World Interreligious Harmony Week with the Paradura del Niño Jesús, a traditional festival that is celebrated in the Venezuelan Andes. Twenty people gathered, including members, relatives and close friends of the CC Quinaroa for whom it has already become customary to share interreligious prayers and songs on this date of the year.


Cooperation Circle: UNAKITA

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Make violence visible to stop it - To celebrate the World Interreligious Harmony Week, CC Unakita created in RRSS its account for The Unakita Team on IG and Facebook to continue spreading the prevention of violence against women, unity in diversity, and the importance of tolerance as a fundamental pillar for life. Follow them @ unakita.e - Instagram / Facebook


Cooperation Circle: Escuela de Amor CC

Location: Capital Federal, Argentina

In the World Interreligious Harmony Week, Rabbi Arieh Sztokman, first contact of the CC School of Love, shared a beautiful text: Coexistence.

This week, we read in the Torah the Parsha Itró (Exodus 18: 1 - 20:23) and we also read from the book of Isaiah 6: 1-7: 6 and 9: 5/6.

“Moses related to his father-in-law everything that Adonai (God) had done to Pharaoh and Egypt because of Israel; all the tribulations that befell them on the way… and (from which) Adonai delivered them. He rejoiced in anger at all the goodness Adonai had done for Israel when he had delivered him from under Egyptian power."

Itró said, "Blessed be Adonai who has delivered you from under the power of the Egyptians and from the power of Pharaoh. He has delivered the people from under Egyptian power. Now I know how great Adonai is above all the gods; for they acted with perfidy against them." Tomo Itró, Moses' father-in-law, burnt offerings and sacrifices for God. And Aharon and all the elders of Israel came to eat food with Moses' father-in-law before Elohim. (Exodus 18: 8/12)

This story from the Torah teaches us how Itro, a Midian priest of different religious traditions, with great wisdom, rejoices in all that God had done to the children of Israel and then shares the offerings for Elohim, as well as the food with Moses, Aharon and the elders. The Torah, through Itró, teaches us what to do to share, cohabit, coexist with different people, from other religious traditions, different beliefs, none superior to the other, but that in the eyes of God we are all equal. What happened to us that we have not learned these concepts of love to live together in peace? What happened to us that we are still, each one, away from God, and we cannot coexist?

Reality shows us the following:

Sadhguru says: Another big reason why the world is constantly flooded with conflicts and that all other religions have completely fallen on us. At the time when the man became religious, it should have been the end of the conflict, but unfortunately, all over the world, religion has become the main source of conflict. It has taken the maximum number of lives and has caused the greatest pain in the planet for thousands of years. During sigils, the most horrible things on this planet were housed in the name of religion. The religion and the films cannot go together. But unfortunately, we have many religions in dispute. In the very twisted terms, we can kill in the name of Rama, in the name of Jesus and in the name of Mahoma. Somewhere, we have lost the basic sense of what religion is. The true religion is an interior step. But today it has only become part of this group. There is only betrayed hate, conflict and separation between people. We have seen it several times in India: the same personas who are together today, who are friends and neighbors, in the moment when they identify with their religions, suddenly they separate. Many want the houses of the other. For three minutes, I wouldn't think of such a thing. At the moment when they identify themselves with a religious group, they are willing to profit. If they did not belong to these groups, there is no reason to do these bad deeds. Some people will profit for some personal reasons; they are different. However, if the whole group of people had no reason to profit, then this type of massive stimulation of animal energy would not occur. What the world needs is not bad religion or bad followers, but people are committed to becoming peaceful. Only Jesus will not do; only Buddah will not do; if you need a lot. If people would learn to be absolutely quiet with great intensity, they would see that all violence would simply evaporate from the planet.

We were all human until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us, and money classified us. We propose to educate, to get closer to God, to our neighbor, and thus coexist with love and freedom. - Rabbi Arieh Sztokman, Febrero 3 de 2021 – 21 de Shevat de 5781


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Cooperation Circle: Yacu - Yura

Location: Cordoba, Argentina

The members of the URI Cooperation Circle Yacu Yura held two beautiful meetings to celebrate interreligious harmony. One was in a beautiful place near their land called La Granja, on February 2. There they shared with Mario Frontera Tulian a meeting with people who came from Buenos Aires, Leila Frascino, Teresa Dalla Costa, Marcos Ciceri and Yanina Arias Toya. They participated in an Indigenous ceremony, they enjoyed a beautiful sunset, and several horses approached by surprise. They talked about different topics, since they all belong to different religions, so it was a very enriching meeting. The other meeting was on February 6, 2021, in their town and they met with the community's grandparents, Hugo Arias, Norma Caresano, Marcos Ciceri, Sergio Arias and Yanina Arias participated, who shared a delicious lunch and exchanged different ideas. They concluded that it is a moment to unite all of us as one and thus be able to collaborate with those who need it most.


 

 

 

 

Middle East and North Africa

Cooperation Circle: Unity is Strength

Location: Online

Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Personal Stories

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all deeply rooted in the land known as Israel and Palestine. But too often, walls and barriers separate members of these religions, despite their many similarities. The website Quora.com is a place for all people to share their personal struggles and tell their stories. Through these stories, people of other groups are humanized and writers and readers come to an understanding across religions, ethnicities, and cultures. Unity is Strength’s open online Israel-Palestine forum is hosted on Quora, is fast-growing, and has received more than a million views since its founding in 2019.

At our event, three frequent contributors to Unity is Strength – one Jewish, one Christian, and one Muslim – held a 90-minute Zoom panel discussion of their religions’ basics and their life experiences as members of their respective religions who are connected to this land. The panel was live-streamed on Facebook and followed by an open discussion.

Nadia Ramahi, discussing her experience as a Muslim, lives in the Chicago area. She is an Arab-American of Palestinian descent and was raised in a traditional Muslim household. Nadia enjoys writing and learning about other cultures and has an Associate’s degree in early childhood education. She has one son in elementary school, whom she is homeschooling.

Joseph Saad, discussing his experience as a Christian, lives in the Edmonton, Alberta area. Joseph was born in Jerusalem before the 1967 war, raised Catholic, is Palestinian, and came as a refugee to Canada after the 1967 Six-Day War. He studied Library Science and was a library technician and library tech instructional assistant, as well as a journeyman parts technician with Red Seal Certification for all of Canada. Joseph enjoys history, reading, writing, thinking, music, camping, hiking, swimming, nature especially the Rocky Mountains, cars, mechanics, car racing, and motorcycles. He would like to live again in Jerusalem.

Rebecca Sealfon, discussing her experience as a Jew, lives in the New York City area. She is Eastern European Jewish (Ashkenazi) and was raised Conservative Jewish, with Orthodox and Reform branches of her family. Rebecca studied biology and computer science and worked for several years as a software engineer. She enjoys nature, reading, and writing. Rebecca is married and does not yet have children.

Unity is Strength has won a 2021 World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) Award from the URI to host this event. It was one of our first video calls and our first explicitly interfaith activity.

"URI's support, including through this award, has truly energized the group and brought it together."


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Cooperation Circle: Charter for Compassion – Yemen

Location: Yemen

On January 28, Charter for Compassion – Yemen implemented a training course about the importance of breastfeeding in times of emergency. It was led by Coach Magdalena with the participation of 15 attendees: 10 women and 5 men. It was a wonderful beginning for our continued courses.


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URI Regional Office: URI MENA 

Location: The Middle East & North Africa Region

URI MENA Cultural Café, the 40th session: Love is the source of faith

Our URI MENA Cultural Café was on Love as a source of true belief by Dr. Amer Al-Bayati from Iraq. Dr. Bayati spoke about the role of love in building the individual and community and how religions bring communities closer through love.

Takeaways:

  • Love is the most powerful emotion a human being can experience. However, it is difficult to identify what is love. We can identify our feeling of love. The word "love" expresses a human virtue that is based on compassion, affection and kindness.
  • Love is the essence of all religions and faiths (monotheistic and manmade).
  • Love begets positive energy for yourself and others around you, while hate begets negative energy. Negative begets negative, negativity is a highly contagious emotion or state of mind. Hence, we should not hate under any circumstances.
  • Muslims believes that God is so loving that he recreated his attribute of love as an instinct in us. Hence, true love is part of God's love, and it is our duty to love one another truly, as indeed He loves us. Also, love is a central value in the teachings and practices of Christianity. This even mentioned in the Muslim holy book "the Qur’an": {And We have placed in the hearts of those who followed him (i.e., Jesus) compassion and mercy}. In Qur’anic terminology, compassion and mercy are synonymous with love.
  • Faith and Love are connected; Faith works by love. It is energized and put into motion by love.
  • Love is one of the noblest human principles and traits that cultivate the spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation between people.
  • Hate is a choice. It is not inherent nor is it inevitable. Hate will drain your spirit, tarnish your soul and darken your days. You need to control it before it damages you or your loved ones.
  • If you are not comfortable with a certain person, limit your contact with this person.

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URI Regional Office: Moroccan Sahara Association for Tolerance and Co-Existence 

Location: Boujdour, Morocco 

In the framework of URI MENA (Middle East & North Africa)’s celebrations of World Interfaith Harmony Week, our Cooperation Circle “The Moroccan Sahara Association for Tolerance and Co-existence,” in cooperation with "Africans Rising Foundation," organized a training workshop on: "Towards a more tolerant community towards refugees and migrants for local youth workers in our community in southern Morocco."

The training aimed at promoting diversity and interfaith cooperation as the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the influx of sub Saharan refugees to our region searching for a safer place. The training sessions took place in our office in the outskirts of Boujdour city. In total, 40 young leaders from various faiths (Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Traditional African religions adherents) attended the training. The trainers used creative approaches to boost interactions during the sessions enabling young refugees to have equal opportunities with locals in discussions. All participants were able to provide feedback, they enriched the discussion with their suggestion and innovative solutions. During the preparation (accepting applications from 15th till 29th January 2021), we have received 76 requests to attend the training and the selection committee could only select the best 40 applications using transparent and neutral criteria.

The training started at 8.30 am with an ice breaker and “who is who” event. Then the trainers presented the importance of interfaith tolerance and how young people can be the main power to have a more tolerant world especially towards refugees and migrants. The young participants positively interacted with this discussion by sharing their own experiences with extremism and radicalization and how they could overcome negative thought and eventually become defenders of human rights in a society that is still new to accept the different faiths and customs of immigrants.

After the lunch break we had three workshops related to the topic. The first workshop dealt with the role of mass media and schools in encouraging the culture of peace and tolerance, especially to vulnerable communities like refugees and immigrants. The second workshop was about hearing real stories from young refugees and the challenges they have faced. This session gave participants chance to know more about the difficulties refugees starting from their homeland and ending with the current situation and not forgetting the dangerous incidents they have faced along the way especially human trafficking and extremist groups. The third workshop was a brainstorm session that tackled best strategies to help refugees and immigrants in our community as well as raising awareness about the importance of having a tolerant society where everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome.

After completing the 3 workshops, all participants gathered to wrap up the main outcomes of the workshops’ discussions and recommendations that can be used as a roadmap for our next projects targeting refugees and immigrants to make their lives better.

The final session of our event was a ceremony of giving out small prizes for some young refugees and representatives of local civil society organizations that are active in the field of refugees’ rights. The event ended at 7 pm and participants travelled back to their cities. Our CC team and participants consensually agreed to organize similar capacity-building workshops in the future using a participatory approach involving civil society organizations and activists in refugees’ rights advocacy.

See more on the Facebook page.

By: Mr. Abdellah Khayya, Coordinator, The Moroccan Sahara Association for Tolerance and Co-existence CC - Boujdour, Morocco


 

 

 

 

The URI Multiregion

Cooperation Circle: IFAST InternationalIFAST International

Location: Online

We, as a society and as individuals, are faced daily with a number of difficulties:

  • Solving problems of the upbringing and education of children and youth;
  • Maintaining family as a value and as an institution;
  • Preserving a favorable and sustainable ecology;
  • Eliminating misunderstanding between faith groups and countries.

However, diving deeper into the source of these issues, we find that any problem’s root is a lack of Love. Love for nature, for the people around us and for the Higher Power. To solve these challenges we could resort to organizing any type of one-time event: charity events, seminars, discussions, etc. This would temporarily get rid of the difficulties encountered, in other words, we would “water the leaves of the tree”. Nevertheless, we can start “watering the roots of the tree” using APPLIED SPIRITUAL TECHNOLOGY and create significant positive impact.

The above will be the topic of our forum: Uniting spiritual knowledge of different faith groups, how to find the most effective key to Holy Love and learn to apply it in practice. URI leaders and professionals in the following fields will take part in the forum: Education; Conflict Resolution; Inter-faith Dialogue; Family; and Youth.

Every participant of the forum will have a unique opportunity to present their project and network with world leaders for further cooperation! Do not miss this opportunity! About 500 participants are expected. Learn more and see a video.

Global Interfaith Forum for Transformation (GIFT)

February 1st to 7th, 2021

Starts:  7am PST | 10am EST| 4pm CET | 8:30pm IST


 

 

 

 

North America

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If above link doesn't work, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Cooperation Circle: United Religions Initiative at the United Nations

Locations: Honolulu, New York, London, Melbourne, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania

The Gift of "Aloha" (Love) Where East Meets West is a Zoom forum discussion presented by the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation ("IAMC") on Saturday February 06, 2021 at 1:00 P.M. EST.  

IAMC Founder/President Audrey E. Kitagawa is co-Chair of the URI-UN CC. She was born and raised in Hawaii. She will host the discussion of interfaith cooperation and harmony, which will include prominent international representatives of various religious and spiritual traditions. The State of Hawaii, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is well known for its multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural population. Hawaii is situated strategically and appropriately for a discussion of the harmony and brotherhood of the world’s religious traditions; and is indeed a wonderful location for furthering conversations about peace, harmony, and love.  This initiative, arising out of Honolulu, will be internationalized beyond the Aloha State with eminent speakers from diverse backgrounds.

Nine speakers and about 200 participants are expected.


URI Affiliate: Spiritual Heritage Education Network 

Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada

Envision the Future of Education: Contemplative Learning of Unity in Diversity    

Spiritual Heritage Education Network Inc. (SHEN) has been researching how education can be redesigned to usher in a culture of interfaith harmony.  After years of research in core wisdom underlying religion, SHEN finds that, although religions are many, their core wisdom is one. This wisdom underlying religion correlates and converges with the utmost findings of scientific disciplines resulting in what may be called a holistic science. Honorable proponents of World interfaith Harmony Week have summed up this core wisdom in three commandments: Love God: To love the One God, we must learn to see Him/Her in the relative God of our community first perceived by us. Love the good: Pursuit of goodness must become the sole purpose of our life. Love the neighbour: Neighbour can be from any faith, or no faith. We must then be able to love anybody. We must also learn to rise above our survival instincts. After years of researching, writing and convening, SHEN has arrived at the stage of articulating a preliminary proposal to envision the future of education that can systematically help us live by these commandments. This event is an attempt to share that proposal with you and invite you to strengthen it with your ideas. We plan to dedicate half of the time in each session to hear your ideas.

Join this virtual World Interfaith Harmony Week Event!

You’ll: Learn what contemplative education is, how we can harness your inner energy to connect with others, and the important role that contemplative education can play in cultivating interfaith harmony. Be heard and have your ideas considered for incorporating core spirituality into education. Build a lasting network with like-minded people from around the globe. Gain exposure as a contributing change maker and open doors for professional opportunities.

The event will be held virtually on Zoom on four consecutive Saturdays between 10am and 12:30pm EST starting from February 6 end ending on February 27. Learn more.


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Cooperation Circle: The Interfaith Center at Miami University

Location: Miami, FL, USA

Interfaith Perspectives on Peace: In celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week, The Interfaith Center will offer a virtual panel discussion which presents Interfaith Perspectives on Peace. All panelists are affiliated with other URI Cooperation Circles (the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada and the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council).

Panelists include: Anna Ikeda, SGI Buddhism (Las Vegas) Rev. Will Rucker, Christianity (Las Vegas) Alan Edelman, Judaism (Kansas City) Rev. Kelly Isola, Unity (Kansas City) Rev. Mary McCoy, Alliance of Divine Love (Kansas City).

See more on the Facebook page.


 

Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions WIHW2021

Cooperation Circle: Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions

Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

The Southern California Committee for the Parliament of World’s Religions and the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council present the 5th Seeds of Peace: Growing a New Alliance of Virtue - A conversation about faith-based organizations and grassroots peacebuilders united in mutual agreement and cooperative action to save our planet!

Featuring… Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, JD (President, International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation); Dr. Azza Karam (Secretary General, Religions for Peace); and Rev. Susan Hayward (Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace; Visiting Fellow, Harvard Divinity School) in dialogue with… Dr. Richard Rose (University of Laverne Director of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies); Eric Kowalcyzk (Strategia Consulting); Rev. Debrah Daya Friedland-vanZyl (Co-director, All Paths Divinity School); Rev. Andre Van Zijl (Co-founder, Awareness Now Projects); Quincy Coleman (Founder, H-OM-E); Swami Atmatattwananda (Vedanta Society of Southern California); and Patrick Horn (Fellow, Institute for Digital Civic Culture) in support of… United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week Faith Action for Sustainable Development One Trillion Trees Initiative.

About 30 people are expected. See more info and register.


 

Cooperation Circle: Abbey of Hope

Location: Portland, ME, USA

The Abbey of Hope, with partner organizations Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME), Music Makes Community, and One Planet Peace Forum, is hosting a virtual gathering to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, with the theme "A Global Ethic for the Human Family," on Thursday, February 4th at 7pm ET. This online gathering is open to all locally and globally. It is designed to be an inspiring and motivating hour of stories, words, and song to raise our voices in celebration and shared commitment to justice and personal and collective responsibility toward building a more balanced, harmonious, and peaceful world. Registration is quick and easy by following this link.


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Photo: Nine lighted oil lamps join together on the same altar at the beginning of each interfaith worship service at Interfaith Community Sanctuary. The number nine is the highest single digit and represents the perfection of the many reflecting the One.

Cooperation Circle: Interfaith Community Sanctuary

Location: Seattle, WA, USA

World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021 "Love of God & Love of the Neighbor Love of Good & Love of the Neighbor" INTERFAITH WORSHIP 10:00AM (Pacific time) on Sunday February 7th 2021. Interfaith Community Sanctuary Seattle, WA, USA.

Join Zoom Meeting.  (ZOOM Meeting ID: 971 0154 6397)

WIHW Interfaith Community Sanctuary honors World Interfaith Harmony Week as we share personal stories about walking an interfaith path with courage. Join us in welcoming Ann Holmes Redding, PhD (Christian/Muslim scholar), Imam Jamal Rahman (Interfaith Muslim Minister), and Rabbi Anson Laytner (Author, Academic).

Learn about our congregation-led international charitable activities including a Medical Clinic in a Bengali village, an International Peace Camp for children and youth, village schools, freshwater wells, self-sustaining micro-businesses in rural Ethiopia, and more. Learn more.


Cooperation Circle: Tri-City Interfaith Council

Location: Fremont, Newark and Union City, CA, USA

This is a Zoom event. Following an introduction and welcome, the audience will participate in a poll of various strategies to build resilience. The emphasis will be on the commonality of these strategies among the various faith and cultural traditions. There will be speakers from the major religions speaking about how they have developed resilience. The audience will then be divided into small discussion groups where they can discuss their efforts to develop resilience. See more on the Facebook page.

Register here.

Click the PDF link below for more information.

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Cooperation Circle: The Oracle Institute

Location: Independence, VA, USA

Last fall, we hosted the Building the New World Conference, a seven-week event featuring Futurists and Social Architects in every Sector of Society. Starting February 1st, you can access the videos from this event on YouTube for free!

Many people believe it is no longer feasible to reform our institutions, due to political corruption, corporate greed, and cultural decay. Rather than waste time attempting to rehabilitate our broken institutions, this conference will focus on a complete transformation of interconnected systems - in every Sector of Society. We believe that in order to Build the New World, humanity must quickly shift from: Imperialism to Social Democracy; Materialism to Altruism; A global War System to a worldwide Culture of Peace; Unsustainable Environmental Destruction to Resilient Organic Networks; and Religious Separation to the redeeming state of Spiritual Unity.

In sum, we must collectively move from fragmentation to holism … and fast! Watch the archived Sessions to learn how to manifest the New World we seek – a world that works for EVERYONE. Join people of good conscience and positive ACTION to learn how YOU can help Shift the Paradigm. Learn more.

See the YouTube Playlist here.


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Cooperation Circle: Interfaith Center at the Presidio    

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Find Peace and Inspiration in the Interfaith Center at the Presidio's Sunday Virtual Concerts. In celebration of Black History Month and in observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week, this month's concert, on February 21, 2021, will feature Malikha Mayes, soprano, and Wilford Kelly, bass-baritone. Malikha will highlight the raw perspective of the black experience from the eye-opening point of view of black women living in America, paired with beautiful French melodie. Wilford will take us on a journey through different faces of love, simplicity, and spirituality with German Lieder and traditional Spirituals. About 75 people will take part. See the Facebook page for more.


 

 

 

 

Southeast Asia and the Pacific

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Cooperation Circle: Pakigdait, Inc. CC

Location: Palao, Iligan City, Philippines

Pakigdait Incorporated is an interfaith grassroots peacebuilding organization and this is our contribution in celebrating “World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021“. Catch us live this coming Friday, Febuary 5, at exactly 4 pm onwards for our Interfaith Gathering and Fellowship, together with the Interfaith Actors coming from different places in the world and Local Interfaith Actors, who will share their stories of interfaith cooperation through our Peace anchored Radio Program "Sumpat o Kalilintad, Sumpay sa Kalinaw." It will be broadcast via Facebook Live at the Pakigdait Inc. Official Page and will be aired at Radyo Pilipinas DXDX 105.5 FM.


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Cooperation Circle: Pakigdait, Inc. CC

Location: Palao, Iligan City, Philippines

Celebrating "World Interfaith Harmony Week 2021" and in pursuit of facilitating the normalization process of the MILF towards becoming communities, Pakigdait Inc. (a URI member group) distributed two sewing machine kits and 10,000 tilapia fish fingerlings, plus several sacks of feeds and supplements, to the 123rd Bilal Base Command Community in Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte. They were helped by the partnerships of VSO Philippines Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) for the Project; Safe and Peaceful Resilient Community, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Office of the MP Abdullah Macapaar, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

See more.


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Cooperation Circle: Youth for Peace Cooperation Circle Cambodia

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

January 28 to 30, URI Cambodia gathered a few Cooperation Circles (CCs, or URI member groups), led by Youth for Peace CC. They organized a gathering in a community outside Phnom Penh. The gathering was a reflection of URI work with CCs, to celebrate URI's anniversary, a bit late but still good to do, and the plan for 2021. We walked in community to visit family, and the monks offered a ritual to the spirits of those who died during the killing field time (Khmer Rough), building a dam so that the community is now living on this water. We read the URI PPPs and talked about future events like WIHW, IDP and different other learning events.

- Sothearat Sothearat

Cooperation Circles Involved

Baraza

BARAZA's international team provides a global platform for transcultural and interfaith dialogue. We believe in ideals of Acceptance, Understanding, and Coexistence. Supported by our network of knowledgeable experts, we invest in education, we create real-world encounters, and we build thriving partnerships.

UNAKITA

UNAKITA was formed to work with families that need guidance on the autistic spectrum, to encourage adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to manage independently through workshops, and to raise awareness and report on ASD to those who want to know more to integrate with people who have this diagnosis.