By words and actions, people all over the world give voice to URI. Their voices remind us what URI means and inspire even more of us to speak out and spread URI’s message.
In 2006-2007, Dr. John Paul Lederach, an esteemed educator of peacebuilding and conflict transformation, led an intensive peacebuilding training program with URI Cooperation Circles. Years later, his words continue to ring true. As a bridge-building organization, URI invites people from diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions to use their deeply-rooted faith identity and values as an asset for building peace, not a barrier to it.
I have had the great privilege of working with URI from the bottom-up.
Most inspiring have been the local cooperation circles in places like Metro Manila, the Northern Acholi and deeply conflicted region of Uganda, Southern India and a youth movement in Ethiopia. These people are inspiring and committed. They have come to a simple conclusion—we must learn to live the deepest values of our own faith traditions with those from different traditions who are closest at hand. The future of our children, our communities, and our globe depend on it.
If people in these difficult, often violence-ridden local communities reach out their hands and hearts to their neighbors, how can we but follow?
- John Paul Lederach