A Digital Revolution? Ethical Implications and Interreligious Engagement

26 July 2021
URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the UN and the African Union, URI-Africa Regional Director, Former Ambassador

Greetings of peace and blessing.

As you may know, the 2021 G20 Interfaith Forum will be held in Bologna, Italy from September 12-14. The priority of the G20 Interfaith Forum (IF20) at this historic moment is healing: to heal health, social, and economic fractures stemming from the COVID-19 emergencies, and to heal the conflicts and inequities that contribute to these fractures and are accentuated by them. Religious groups and interreligious communities engage the agendas addressed by G20 leaders in ways that offer distinctive, global perspectives. These can contribute to such healing. In this spirit, the IF20 advances specific proposals that will focus support to the most vulnerable, who risk being left behind especially in this uncertain time.

URI has been participating in a number of webinar series organized ahead of the G20 Interfaith Summit. The overall objective of the webinar series is to bring together government and religious leaders, experts and officials from multilateral organizations, civil society and academic institutions to share knowledge and inform on current issues, trends and initiatives addressing the contribution of faith and religious organizations in achieving the priorities set by the Italian chairmanship of this year’s G20 Summit: people, planet, prosperity. Each priority will be further discussed looking at the contribution of religion as a builder of social capital, and the many ways religious communities and institutions contribute across the entire spectrum of society. A final report highlighting the main ideas and outcomes from each of the webinars will be published at the end of the series.

I am happy to inform you that, representing URI, I will take part in one of such webinar series meeting to be held on July 28, 2021 under the theme of “A Digital Revolution? Ethical Implications and Interreligious Engagement.”

This meeting will address the following:

World economies are now looking to move out of the pandemic crisis. Most are deploying strategies and initiatives to reignite growth, with vaccination programs playing a major part in these efforts. As outlined by the Italian chairmanship of this year’s G20, “The digital revolution represents a fundamental tool to achieve prosperity and better quality of life.” Our concluding panel will look at current developments with a particular focus on interreligious engagement in the area of emerging digital technologies and artificial intelligence.


  • Prof. Noreen Herzfeld, Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professor of Science and Religion at Saint John's University and College of St. Benedict
  • Dr. David Zvi Kalman, Scholar in Residence and Director of New Media at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
  • Dr. Biliana Popova, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University, Morocco
  • Prof. Robert Geraci, Professor, Religious Studies, Manhattan College
  • Dr. Branka Marijan, Senior Researcher, Project Ploughshares
  • Prof. Marco Ventura, Director, FBK Centre for Religious Studies


  • Dr. Pasquale Annicchino, Associate Researcher, FBK Centre for Religious Studies

Closing Remarks:

  • Prof. W. Cole Druham
  • Founding Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, and President, G20 Interfaith Forum Association

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

In peace and gratitude,

Amb. Mussie Hailu

Director of Global Partnership and Representative at the UN and

African Union and Regional Director for Africa

United Religions Initiative