History and Charter

The vision for the United Religions Initiative (URI) was sparked by an invitation from the United Nations to The Right Rev. William Swing, Founder and President Emeritus.

Signatories and witnesses at the URI Charter signing in Pittsburgh, 2000.

Signatories and witnesses at the URI Charter signing in Pittsburgh, 2000.

Participants at the URI Charter signing.

Participants at the URI Charter signing.

Participants at the URI Charter signing.

Participants at the URI Charter signing.

Participants at the URI Charter signing.

Participants at the URI Charter signing.

Musicians from India at the URI Charter signing.

Musicians from India at the URI Charter signing.

Bishop Swing was invited to host an interfaith service in June 1995 to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Through this invitation came

“a sudden realization that religions, together, have a vocation to be a force for good in the world.”

The seed planted in Bishop Swing took root in hundreds and then thousands of people who joined in a global appreciative process to create a shared vision of the world they wished to inhabit and of a global interfaith organization that would engage people of all backgrounds in making that vision a reality.

From 1996-2000, people around the world participated in writing URI’s Charter, which was signed in June 2000. Bound together by the Charter, which gives voice to the URI global community’s collective mission, vision, and values. The URI structure is decentralized and comprised of self-organizing groups (called Cooperation Circles). Since its inception, URI ignites people all over the world to share their dreams, initiate cooperative action, and fulfill their aspirations.

The URI Charter: Organizational Design, Guidelines for Action

Since then, thousands of people from different cultures and perspectives have shared their visions and worked together to create URI: the United Religions Initiative. 

The inclusive Charter provides a unique, grassroots-based structure and a set of principles (called Preamble, Purpose, and Principles or PPPs) for action on behalf of the common good, connecting people across religions and cultures in the service of peace and justice. 

URI's network continues to thrive and evolve through the collaboration of increasing numbers of grassroots visionaries and community organizers, committed Global Council trustees, passionate global staff, like-minded partners, and generous donors and volunteers.

URI Preamble, Purpose, and Principles
URI at 20
In Celebration of the first 20 years of URI!

 

2021 Anniversary Celebration Videos