In honor of the upcoming tenth anniversary of signing the Charter of URI, I take the opportunity to pause and reflect on this statement in our Charter: "We respect the uniqueness of each tradition and differences of practice or belief."
Since coming to URI in 1997, I have been awakened to a depth and breadth of the differences in traditions, practices and beliefs that I had never even imagined before.
To say "yes, of course" to this statement as an ideal concept was immediate, and relatively easy. Awareness of what this means in reality, however, on a daily basis, in conversation and in conflict, continues to grow in me to this day.
In our Global Assembly in 2002, Mohammed Abu-Nimer taught us that the most important aspect of peacebuilding is to learn to deal with differences. I give thanks for URI and for all the members who willingly put themselves wholeheartedly into this pursuit.