Special Event Organized on the Occasion of World Interfaith Harmony Week by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, and The Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations Friday, February 6, 2015, 10.00 am – 1.00 pm; Trusteeship Council, United Nations.
See the UN Webcast of this event.
H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the United Nations 69th General Assembly, organized the program, Interfaith Harmony Week: Multi-religious Partnership for Sustainable Development in conjunction with the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN. It was cosponsored by the CoNGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns-NY; Global Movement for the Culture of Peace; NGO Committee on Sustainable Development; The Spiritual Caucus at the UN; and The Values Caucus at the UN.
World Interfaith Harmony Week, the first week of February, was established by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/65/5 in 2010. It was first observed in February 2011 and serves as an annual focus for events at the UN and throughout the world. This resolution recognizes the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people. It reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace. The resolution also uses the word love four times to describe the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill as being based on “the love of God and love of one’s neighbour or on love of good and the love of one’s neighbor.”
Ms. Gallach shared Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for this event. Speakers inspired us with their stories, projects and personal events that highlighted the importance of interfaith harmony in their lives and their work. Peace, human rights, poverty, equality of women, education, health and the environment are shared goals and hopes among people of all faiths and countries. The event highlighted the role of multi-religious and multisectoral partnerships in achieving the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
The event also included a video featuring World Interfaith Harmony Week events from around the world, produced by Rev. Doyeon Park, and a performance by Michael Katz, cellist.
Panel I: Interfaith Collaboration for Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda
Religious and government leaders shared concrete actions, best practices and lessons learned from the field addressing the role of religious communities, with a particular focus on interfaith collaboration, to advance the post 2015 development agenda.
This panel included Rev. Dr. Usman J. Fornah, Secretary General of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone; Rabbi Roger Ross, Executive Director of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, Chair of New Vision Interspiritual Seminary and URI UN Representative; H.E. Archbishop Bemardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations; CHAIR: H.E. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations; Imam Shamsi Ali, Chairman of the Al-Hikmah Mosque and Director of the Jamaica Muslim Center; Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President of the Hindu Temple Society of North America.
Panel II: Multi-religious and Multi-sectoral Partnership in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
Advancing action partnerships between religious communities and other stakeholders to expedite and improve the progress being made in sustainable development.
This panel included Dr. Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow at Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; H.E. Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the United Nations, CHAIR: H.E. Ambassador Irene Susan B. Natividad, Charge d'Affaires of Philippines Mission to the United Nations; Dr. Azza Karam, Senior Culture Advisor of the UNFPA and Coordinator of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Faith-Based Engagement; Mr. Doug Hostetter, Director of the Mennonite Central Committee, UN Office.
Read the full list of World Interfaith Harmony Week 2015 celebrations.