World Interfaith Harmony Week is celebrated the world over every first week of February with the intent of promoting harmony among people irrespective of their faith. This initiative is based on the purpose of promoting "Love of God and Love of the Neighbor, or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor."
Since its inception in 2011, individuals and organizations mark this day with an array of activities that highlight the positive impact of interfaith, harmony, peace, dialogue, and the beauty of embracing each other’s differences.
As an organization whose mission is hinged on inter-religious collaboration and harmony, several activities were organized by URI’s Cooperation Circles around the world to mark WIHW.
Take a look below at some of the events organized by the URI Cooperation Circles around the world!
Additionally in 2022, some of the regional offices collaborated to produce informative programming from the URI Cooperation Circles. The videos of these programs are available by clicking here.
View celebrations by region:
Cooperation Circle: Karonga Nthora CC
URI Region: Africa
Love for one another, love for nature
Karonga Nthora Cooperation Circle (NCC), located in northern Malawi, joined the world to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week by extending a helping hand to people living with disabilities in their community and bringing life to nature.
In a community where a majority of people living with disabilities are side-lined and their voices and opinions are of no importance, the Nthola Cooperation Circle believes that they too can contribute to building the community.
“They have no decent housing and nowhere to go. But with funding, we hope to support them,” explained the team representative.
In the spirit of harmony and co-existence, the participants supported them with basic groceries and hoped to further support them in light of funding opportunities.
In addition to supporting people living with disabilities, NCC planted 500 trees in two communities to ease the pressure on the environment, restore vegetation and contribute to a thriving climate.
“The Cooperation circle plans to plant more trees along the main river which floods most of the time, displacing people and claiming a lot of lives.
Two communities in Mzuzu city in Malawi have defied the rhetoric that drives religions apart; they have proven that humanity is one in diversity through collectively caring for the disabled and caring for the environment. for a good environment that creates harmony and peace.
Cooperation Circle:Taraba Muslims and Christian's Forum
URI Region: URI Africa
Working Together Beyond Religious Affiliations
Taraba Muslims and Christian’s Consultative Forum marked the World Interfaith Harmony Week ( WIHW) with an array of activities starting on January 29th, 2022 to March 3rd, 2022. The Taraba Muslims And Christians Consultative Forum organized a Meeting Between Islamic Scholars and Christian Scholars to discuss Ways To End Religious Violence in Taraba state. Activities included: Interfaith dialogue, inter-cultural dialogue, peacebuilding, conflict transformation, humanitarian action, and advocacy. It is anticipated over 100 participants took part in the events.
URI Region: United Religions Initiative-North India
URI North India CCs celebrated the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2022- cherishing the values of love, harmony, and peace, finding unity and peace through differences. In India, all communities have an equal space by law, and in society, members of these communities live and help develop the country and humanity together.
The 'Me to We' dialogue was held on the 6th of February, 2022 where cooperation circle members from different religious groups came together to share the candle of peace. In the online interfaith sharing "ME to WE", 19 members of various Cooperation Circles came with an open heart to listen as well as to share their faith and interfaith journey.
The 7 speakers from the Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Christian, and Atheist beliefs reflected on their journey from becoming a singular unit to a collective and their religion's role in helping them appreciate and love all of humanity irrespective of the differences.
As all the speakers shared their stories and messages, and reflections all of them agreed that every faith teaches humans to be kind, to share love instead of hatred and violence, and through this, most religions share the same message of peace and harmony.
URI Region: United Religions Initiative- North India
The Beauty in Your Faith Art Competition
In North India, United Religions Initiative organized a national-level art competition to celebrate the spirit of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
India is a diverse country where people from multiple faiths, indigenous traditions, and spiritual beliefs co-exist. This competition sought to allow the entrants to reflect on the beauty that various belief systems hold.
The theme of the competition was The Beauty in ‘Your’ Faith, and it looked out for art that helps one to reflect on the unique beauty in differences and appreciate them. 40 participants from all over India celebrated the spirit of the World Interfaith Harmony Week by cherishing the beauty of faiths and traditions that are different from theirs by using art as a medium.
Cooperation Circle: Inter-Religious Initiative for Child Development and Preservation
URI Region: Country: Sri Lanka
Empowering volunteers for Peacebuilding
Inter-Religious Initiative for Child Development & Preservation organized the Peacebuilding and local economy event to mark World Interfaith Harmony Week. The institution has created a unique curriculum designed to empower volunteers with practical knowledge and skills to apply peacebuilding theory to situations of destructive conflict in their communities. It equips them to organize activities for children, work with youth and adults, train other volunteers, and gather support by building and strengthening community networks and partnerships. It has created a unique curriculum designed to empower our volunteers with practical knowledge and skills to apply peacebuilding theory to situations of destructive conflict in their communities. It also equips them to organize activities for children, work with youth and adults, train other volunteers, and gather support by building and strengthening community networks and partnerships.
This event attracted over 35 participants.
URI Region: Europe
The Power of Words: To Say and Not to Say
On 21st February 2002, ACWAY fellows, Tahil Sharma, Hira Aftab, and Emina Frljak organized a virtual panel discussion under the title: The Power of Words: To Say and Not to Say. This event was supported by Youth for Peace, Our World Too and it was implemented in the framework of World Interfaith Harmony Week. The event focused on how mother tongues can perpetuate stereotypes and feed into hateful rhetoric. It further highlighted the dangers of not addressing hate speech and the importance of understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
Cooperation Circle: DMLBonn
URI Region: Europe
Prayers for peace
Members of the DMLBonn CC gathered in Bonn on January 20, 2022, for a Sufi meditation and peace prayer on the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
They shared prayers, recitations, songs, and stillness for peace on all levels: interior peace, world peace, justice, and healing in communities, families, countries as well as prayers for all life on earth.
Cooperation Circle: Baraza CC
URI Region: Europe
All for Harmony!
Baraza Cooperation Circle in partnership with URI Europe organized a series of exciting virtual events on the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Among these included: Dialogue on religious communities responding to the climate crisis that highlighted inspiring work being undertaken around the world to protect the planet; creative approaches to peacemaking and tolerance in Europe where it introduced a method that encourages young people to think with history about religious tolerance and peace through the creative and collaborative process of film making among others; Magic of food.
Be sure to follow the links for more information!
URI Region: URI Europe
KAICIID fellowship for World Interfaith Harmony Week
Lejla Hasandedic-Dapo, URI Europe CC Liaison Officer, and Emina Frljak, Program Coordinator at Youth for Peace CC from Bosnia and Herzegovina are KAICIID European Fellows and they implemented a fellowship project under the title “Detect, React and Protect - Combating hate speech through counter and alternative narratives”. This project includes an in-person workshop for youth people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a series of webinars for youth people, religious leaders, and civil society actors from all over Europe and the world.
The last webinar implemented as part of this program was organized on the occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week on 23rd February 2022 under the title, Countering Hate Speech - interfaith and intergenerational perspectives“.
Speakers at the webinar were:
Tahil Sharma, Regional Coordinator for North America, United Religions Initiative
Dr. Lakshmi Vyas, President Hindi Forum of Europe, IWCC Member Religions for Peace, Former Principal of Elphinstone College, Mumbai Univesity
Dr. Renz Argao, Coordinator of the International Youth Committee of Religions for Peace
Sally Mahe, Senior Consultant, United Religions Initiative
Webinar recordings can be watched at the URI Europe YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxwOar4krJ4
To learn more about KAIICID Fellowship program please visit https://www.kaiciid.org/what-we-do/kaiciid-fellows-programme
Latin America and the Caribbean
Cooperation Circle: URI Borbomera
URI Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Series of Harmony!
To mark World Interfaith Harmony Week, URI Borbomera CC, in partnership with Paraiboa channel, and Religious Diversity Forum organized virtual events from 1-7 February 2022. These events featured representatives from various religious, spiritual, and indigenous traditions. They focused on promoting peace, nonviolence, and fostering inter-religious and intercultural understanding and cooperation. Among the key highlights of the event were: the dialogue on religion; Dialogue on peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding, seeking for evaluation and collective construction of laws that respect and protect all creeds and individuals; Dialogue on knowledge and experience about sacred plants; Sharing knowledge on the extremes of The sacred Masculine, The Sacred Feminine by Clauvian Barbosa of Wanen tradition; Peace and love fair where they practiced yoga, enjoyed the sacred circular dance among other activities.
Follow the links for more!
Middle East and North Africa
URI Region: URI Middle East & North Africa
Youth Stand up to violent Extremism!
Desert Bloom CC conducted “Youth stand up to Violent Extremism Training Course” in cooperation with EUROMED EVE Polska- Poland in Jordan, from 12-16 February 2022
The training aimed at building the capacity of youth workers in the field of the prevention of violent extremism while reinforcing global competence and universal morality that promotes values of respect, cultural diversity, continuous improvement and self-confidence to advance a shared respect for human dignity.
The training achieved its main objectives of:
- Supporting the professional development of youth workers in the field of P/CVE through non-formal and informal methodologies, tackling the Root Causes of violent radicalization, Radicalization Process, Intercultural Citizenship, Digital & Media Literacy, critical thinking and effective communication.
- Fostering youth civic engagement in public life (economic, political and socio-cultural participation), through:
- Economic empowerment by building youth entrepreneurial competencies)
- Enhancing young people’s engagement in political and public life by developing youth advocacy skills to develop effective youth policy, improve youth access to service, defend youth rights and challenge horizontal inequality.
The project was coordinated by EUROMED EVE Polska (Poland) and hosted and implemented in Jordan by Desert Bloom for Training and Sustainable Development (Jordan). is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
Thirty youth workers/leaders participated in this training representing the following 9 organizations, out of which are 5 URI CCs:
- EUROMED EVE Polska- Poland
- Desert Bloom- Jordan (URI CC)
- Have A Dream- Egypt (URI CC)
- ASSOCIAO MEDESTU – Portugal
- BRIDGES-Eastern European Forum for Dialogue- Bulgaria (URI CC)
- Beit Ashams for Self-Development – Palestine (represented by Volunteering for Peace CC)
- Moroccan Youth Forum for Cultural Exchange & Scientific Research – Morocco (URI CC)
- Kalamáris Egyesület- Hungary
- Association Euro-Med EVE Tunisia- Tunisia.
The participants along with 5 URI members in Jordan attended the World Interfaith Harmony Week celebration in Madaba, a city well-known for churches, Byzantine and Umayyad-era mosaics, and archeological complexes. We listened to inspirational stories of the deep-rooted cohabitation between Muslims and Christians in Jordan by distinguished religious leaders. Then we visited religious sites the city including the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist, the mosque of Jesus Christ, St George’s Greek Orthodox Church (which has the oldest mosaic map of Palestine and other biblical sites and important places such as Jerusalem, Gaza, Dead Sea or Nile Delta, it goes back to the 6th century) and Mount Nebo (famous pilgrimage site).
The participants will continue working on PVE, they agreed to develop a practical and user-friendly Toolkit to serve as a guide on building youth resilience to PVE. Also, they launched a Facebook page under the name “United Against Violent Extremism” to serve as a Social Media platform dedicated to preventing violent extremism (VE) through raising awareness of the root causes of VE, and counter extremists and terrorists’ online propaganda. Please like the page.
Feedback from some participants:
- Even though the topic was harsh, I enjoyed the workshops and we’ve discussed some very important and interesting topics. I liked that we talked and brainstormed about things we don’t usually talk about at home with our friends and family. Here we learned new perspectives and we could share our thoughts with each other.
- The content of the course is quite interesting. I learned a lot.
- I like the diversity of activities and the diversity of participants and their perspectives. I learnt a lot of new information, and got new experiences.
- I liked the activities, the cultural diversity of the group as well as teamwork
- I enjoyed expressing our identities in painting. Also, I liked the religious leaders’ presentations on the occasion of the World Interfaith Harmony Week.
- Interesting and useful course content which opened my mind to a variety of issues in the Middle East and Europe, mobilized me to work and thinking about solving problems that lead to Violent Extremism in a peaceful way through understanding the roots of various problems. I like the diversity of participants and making new friends as well as the accommodation and the delicious local food.
- The training opened many opportunities for developing further projects.
- I appreciate the fact that this training was not only based on lectures, we had hands-on practices and activities
- I liked everything about the course. It was great. I loved the diversity of activities, experiences, culture and getting to know new people from whom I learned a lot.
In Love and Peace
Regional Coordinator, URI Middle East & North Africa
The URI Multiregion
Cooperation Circle: AKSHA Foundation
URI Region: Multi Region
Diversity in faith and religion is a beautiful phenomenon and worth celebrating!
Awareness Knowledge Solidarity Harmony Acceptance, AKSHA foundation believes that the concept of Religion started with a positive intention, but with time it got manifested into negativity.
“When we get to know more positive things about different faiths, only then will we be knowledgeable, and understand the fact that in the end, every faith is the same, bringing peaceful coexistence and HARMONY in the world.”
In marking World Interfaith Harmony Week, the AKSHA foundation documented thirty (30) participants’ perspectives on what they like about their religion/faith.
Take a look: https://fb.watch/bBCWaZlFcB/
Cooperation Circle: Women's Interfaith Network of URI
URI Region: Multi Region
Women, Treasures, and Interfaith Connection
“For the love of God and the love of neighbor and the love of good and the love of neighbor”
What better way to mark World Interfaith Harmony week than spreading love, giving love, and treasuring love in diversity?
This year, the Women’s Interfaith Network (WIN) intertwined Valentines’ Day with the United Nation’s call for World Interfaith Harmony Week.
WIN marked this day with a zoom call to share a treasured interfaith memory. Seventeen (17) women from Brazil, Venezuela, Germany, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Israel, and the USA held an inter-generation meeting to share personal stories, music, original poetry, and prayers.
“We shared love, gratitude, treasured stories, songs, and poems.”
The WIN Cooperation Circle called for prayers for peace in Ukraine.
Cooperation Circle: Global Law Thinkers
URI Region: Multi-Region
Global Law Thinkers Society Celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week in Chattogram
A series of programs (In person & Online) were organized by Global Law Thinkers Society, Host Country Bangladesh and in partnership with United Religious Initiatives (URI) to take part in the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.
2022 theme has been chosen by UN is “The Diaspora-a Force for Positive Change” citing the ability of immigrant communities of diverse backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities to live side by side harmoniously bound together by shared values, love of God and love of neighbor's. As a part, Global Law Thinkers Society - Chittagong District organized a program named “Dialogue Exchange and Holy Book Distribution” by promoting "Respect towards Diversity - Building Mutual Relations among Diverse Communities" on 11th February, Friday, 2022.
The program held at the Mosque, Temple, Monastery, and Church in Chittagong City. The dialogue exchange was conducted and Holy Books were distributed among Religious Representatives. Some of the messages shared include:
"It's told in Islam to respect and not to harm other religions. GLTS took a great initiative to promote it through the Interfaith Harmony Youth Festival"
- Imam, Kolpolok Model Mosque
"If we want to establish peace, we have to secure the diverse religions, we have to work together for mutual relations"
- Vanthe, Chittagong Buddist Monastery
"Religious conflicts are growing day by day in Bangladesh. This is a good initiative taken by the GLTS Youths and URI to promote Interfaith Harmony"
- Pandith, Shree Shree Tulshidam Temple
"If we love God, we have to ensure that we love his creations as well. By organizing such a noble program, you are promising towards Diversity and Peace"
- Father, Cathedral Church
Monir Hossen, GLTS Leader said: "The youths are the powerhouse of change.
By organizing this program, GLTS young leaders and volunteers are committed to promoting Interfaith Harmony and establishing peace among diverse religions, beliefs, and cultures. The religious representatives: Imam, Pandith, Vanthe, Father, and GLTS Leaders and Volunteers were present in the day-long program.
Cooperation Circle: United Religions Initiative at the United Nations
Locations: Honolulu, New York, London, Melbourne, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania
Harmony through prayer
On February 5th, 2022, the URI UN cooperation circle held virtual prayers to mark World Interfaith Harmony Week. URI UN, together with the Office of the President of the General Assembly, organized a world peace flag ceremony to observe World Interfaith Harmony Week.
This event was co-sponsored by Global Silent Minute, Temple of Understanding, International Academy for Multicultural Understanding, and Unity Earth who held live prayers with over 100 participants joining in from Japan. As part of the event, flags from each member and observer state were raised and carried during the prayers for peace event, with the audience invited to add prayers to the ceremony.
In addition to prayers for peace and harmony, participants from Japan added a special prayer for nature. The activity which was a huge success was supported among others by the Committee of Religious NGOs.