Please give a warm welcome to the latest groups to join the global URI network. Learn more about these groups, called Cooperation Circles, here. This month, we welcome 12 member groups from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, the URI Multiregion, and North America. We are thrilled to welcome Italy as a new country with a URI presence!
Phalombe Youth Arms Organization – PYAO (Phalombe, Malawi)
Phalombe Youth Arms Organization is located in Mzuzu, Malawi, and aims to provide quality, reliable and sustainable services in order to support the youths and vulnerable people within the community, regardless of their religious affiliation. It was officially established in January 2012. The PYAO emerged following growing concerns among youths over lack of an enabling and supportive environment for meaningful youth participation in sustainable development and poor access of sexual reproductive health and rights, despite the fact that youths constitute the biggest percentage of the total population in Phalombe district.
Centre for Backward Classes (Gazipur, Bangladesh)
Members define Centre for Backward Classes as an absolutely non-communal and non-political, non-profit organization. Their purpose is to develop inter-caste and inter-religious harmony by sharing the knowledge of Comparative Theology through seminars and publications. They conduct seminars and symposia on inter-religious understanding, they distribute holy books of the different religions, they develop multicultural activities, and they organize folklore and traditional culture events. Through these invitations and shared actions, they help foster friendship among people of different castes, creeds and faiths.
Southern Society - Daksin Bongio Samaj (Dakha, Bangladesh)
Southern Society (Daksin Bongio Samaj, in Bengali) is one of the oldest societies in Dhaka. Southern Society was created by people who migrated into Dhaka from the southern part of the country after the liberation period of 1971. The group is organized by a new, younger generation who are taking an important role for social empowerment in the community. They work together to strengthen peace and harmony among the people of all castes, religions and cultures, and promoting the core values of interfaith understanding and respect.
BEHOLD (Chakwal, Punjab, Pakistan)
Team BEHOLD is a group of people devoted to contributing to the social development of Chakwal, a region with an area of 6,542 square kilometers and about 1,500,000 inhabitants. Chakwal is known for its very rich historical and anthropological background, and for the footmarks of almost all major religions of time, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam and Christianity (recently emerging Qadiyani and Bahai’). Chakwal consists of 88% rural and only 12% urban areas, with more than 450 villages and few towns.
Golden Star CC – Pakistan (Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan)
The mission of Golden Star is to create an enabling environment for participatory governance and sustainable collective action for peace, health, human security and Interfaith harmony in Pakistan at a grassroots level through the involvement of women and girls. Golden Star was formed by a group of women volunteers across Punjab, Pakistan in 2013. Golden Star’s main purpose is to promote the messages of peace, interfaith harmony, dignity and respect for people of all nations and religions, and to create cooperation and peace.
Path of Love (Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan)
Path of Love's purpose is to work towards interfaith harmony among the religions, empowerment of women in society, and providing healthcare and education. Cooperation Circle members are from different spiritual beliefs, and they work together for peace with the intention to make Pakistan and the world a better place to live. Members are providing healthcare and working for women’s empowerment as well.
Associazione Joint (Milan, Lombardia, Italy)
The mission of the organization is to provide non-formal education opportunities for young people through international mobility. Members started as a group of young people willing to make a change in the community. They started with local and international activities, and over the years they focused more and more on international projects, with youth exchanges in particular. They currently coordinate projects across Italy and cooperate with several local organizations and networks. This cooperation helps them to foster a high local impact of mobility activities.
URI Borborema (Campina Grande, PB, Brazil)
Their purpose is to strengthen dialogue and understanding between people of all religions in Borborema through education and other activities. Members organize weekly encounters where members of each tradition help people of other religion to understand theirs. They record these presentations and testimonies and share so that the knowledge is passed to others that were not present. They are also getting ready to support the education of local teachers and professors in this dialogue, and other actions to expand the interfaith movement and peacebuilding.
Together for Peace in Palestine (Bethlehem, Palestine)
Members of Together for Peace in Palestine Cooperation Circle are engaged in several peacebuilding and interfaith activities and are connected to URI in different ways. They live in a conflict zone and believe the cause of conflict is the opposite of interfaith. They aim to build interfaith as a method of life, and in this way reduce violence and bring peace and justice to the area. Members are volunteers in the search to give the best to their community. They are active in different fields and feel drawn to bring their energy into one place.
SpiritualPlaydate.com (URI Multiregion; based in Glenview, Illinois, USA)
Spiritual Playdate fosters dialogue through a global interfaith program enabling adults, kids, and affiliate organizations to explore and discover beliefs around the topics of God and spirituality. It is an interfaith web-based program that explores the topics of god and faith through group “playdates” in the home or elsewhere. Spiritual Playdate is meant to be a global program that delivers resources to adults around the world to help them navigate difficult conversations and difficult topics with children. Kids and their parents or mentors discover their beliefs through a diverse framework of faith-based and spiritual topics and resources that the organization provides, which cover a variety of different subjects and lessons. Resources are looked at through an interfaith lens; universal truths as well as religious principles are considered.
Habitat for Humanity Greater SF - Interfaith Community (San Francisco, California, USA)
The purpose of Habitat's Interfaith Community is to create space for interfaith dialogue and coalition-building between faith organizations, with a focus on providing compassion and service work to our local communities in the form of neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing efforts. The Cooperation Circle is a dedicated corps of volunteers, as well as a dynamic space for each individual to offer their unique talents in the service of Habitat’s community-building work.
JAM & ALL Interfaith (Pompano, Florida, USA)
JAM & ALL was started by a Holocaust survivor and an Imam, after September 11th. They thought it would be a good idea to get together Muslims and Jews to get to know each other. So they formed a group called JAM - Jews and Muslims. And a very short time later they realized they should include more people, so they expanded it to be JAM & ALL. Members organize Interfaith Café Meetings in three locations: town hall meetings, activities for youth, picnics, and special events. One of the most important things for them is to get younger people involved. There had been some real fear and the dialogue has really made a difference. Additionally, members of JAM & ALL created an accredited college course and organized major conferences at Nova University, and hosted and coordinated student exchanges.