Circles of Light

The 2019 Gala, which took place within the Accelerate Peace conference, celebrated the ways in which URI has been able to combine interfaith bridgebuilding with humanitarian action.

Circles of Light 2019

The 2019 Circles of Light Gala was held during URI's Accelerate Peace Conference in Stanford University, California, USA.


Tonight, we look back over the past two decades and take stock of URI’s evolution and achievements. Together, we also gaze into the future to prepare the next 20 years. A spark of the imagination has grown into circles of light, radiating hope around the world. We boldly envision URI to become the global firebrand of peace, justice and healing.


"From the Indonesian Bhinneka Tunggal Ika to Mandela’s Unity in Diversity and to our own E Pluribus Unum, I believe that the human spirit soars when allowed to live in harmony and is resilient when faced with adversity. URI celebrates the human spirit. We know that with faith, hope and communication, together, the power of “one voice” can drown out the divisive voice of fear and hate."

- Bilques Smith, 2019 Circles of Light Chair


Two sets of awards were presented at this year's Circles of Light.

The URI Global Peacebuilder Awards honor people and organizations who work to promote daily, enduring interfaith cooperation, end religiously motivated violence and build cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. It was presented to the United Nations Population Fund, The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, and the  Revolutionary Love Project. 

The URI Bowes Award was instituted in honor of longtime URI supporter William K. Bowes by his brother John Bowes, and is given to Cooperation Circles whose work exemplifies URI’s purpose and principles. The 2019 recipients of the URI Bowes Award are the URI Interfaith Councils of the San Francisco Bay Area.