Dear Brothers and Sisters throughout the world,
Greetings of peace and blessing in the name of the Creator of the Universe.
More than ever, our world needs peace, healing the wounds of conflict, social justice, reconciliation, unity, harmony, equal opportunity for all without discrimination, and the preservation of Mother Earth. It is with this in mind that people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the world established the United Religions Initiative (URI) to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously-motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
I take this opportunity to thank and appreciate The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, president and founder of URI, for coming up with the concept of URI and for his commitment and tireless efforts and action to move forward the vision of URI to reality. I also take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped the establishment and development of URI, members of URI throughout the world, the staff, global council members, the President’s Council, and supporters and partners of URI for all the outstanding work they are doing on a daily basis to move forward the purpose of URI.
Today is Golden Rule Day. As we are celebrating Golden Rule Day, I pray for peace, harmony, trust, mutual respect, human dignity, unconditional love, compassion, understanding and harmony to prevail throughout the world.
For a culture of peace, inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony, respect among nations, human dignity, social justice and the idea of world citizenship to prevail on Earth, it is high time to promote the teaching of the Golden Rule, which says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It is time to promote it in the world and to introduce it in the school curriculum as part of education for peace.
In this interconnected world, all nations are our close neighbors and our well-being increasingly depends on how well we interact and live together with others based on the teaching of the Golden Rule. Therefore, promoting the Golden Rule is the roadmap to build peaceful co-habitation, social cohesion, common citizenship, harmony, human dignity and secure a better future for this generation and generations yet to come.
As we celebrate the Golden Rule Day, I kindly call for all of us, as citizens of the world, to live according to the teaching of the Golden Rule and to uphold the human dignity and the dignity of all creatures.
Golden Rule is also a day of gratitude. Therefore, on this day, let us be grateful to the Creator of the Universe for the air we breathe, for the water we drink, for the beautiful nature around us, for the family, colleagues and friends we have.
Let us start counting our blessings in life.
Let us have reverence and respect for all life.
Let us look after nature and protect Mother Earth.
Let us be the catalyst of positive change we want to see in the world.
Among the many reasons why we need to celebrate the Golden Rule Day and pay due attention more than ever for the teaching of the Golden Rule is because:
- It calls us to extend our concern beyond ourselves and to embrace a greater understanding and respect for others
- It is the pathway for peaceful co-existence, harmony and promoting human rights, mutual respect, dignity, equality and compassion
- It is affirmed in many religions, traditions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophies as a fundamental principle of life and the foundation on which a global ethic is founded
- It is a universal message which is accepted and embraced throughout the world
- Its message is simple, universal and powerful
- It is the most prevalent and universal moral principle in human history
- It summarizes the basic teachings of compassion, non-violence, and honoring the dignity of all living beings
- It is the best guide we have to help peoples of the world to live together in harmony
- It is a way to disarm fear, to open the world for better change and to lay the foundations for lasting peace
- It is a preventive mechanism and antidote to discrimination, disrespect, greedy, violence, crime, hate speech and incitement, which lead to war and the violation of human rights
- It is the roadmap for inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony
- It can help to reverse the insane trends prevailing today in our world
- It is the best way to counter violent extremism and radicalization
- It transcends our differences and encourages us to consider the well-being of all humanity
- It helps us to recognize pluralism and respect diversity
It is with the above-mentioned reasons that, in 2007, Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI) a URI member organization based in Ethiopia and URI-Africa, declared April 5 as “Golden Rule Day.” We called upon all citizens of the world, religious and traditional leaders from around the world, Mayors from different part of the world, heads of state, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, interfaith organizations, schools, higher learning institutions, the business community, civil society and all other stakeholders to join URI-Africa and IPI in proclaiming April 5th as Golden Rule Day, to live accordingly and to make this world a better and peaceful place for all.
I am so happy to inform you that, since then, about 700 organizations in 160 countries joined us in proclaiming the Golden Rule Day. We also distributed more than 1 million Golden Rule posters throughout Africa and the rest of the world.
In addition to this, in 2007, we started the Golden Rule Goodwill Ambassador program to highlight and promote the Golden Rule. Since 2007, every year, we honor an individual or organization that sets a good example for the teaching of the Golden Rule as the Goodwill Ambassador of the Golden Rule.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to the outstanding work of Mr. Paul McKenna and Scarboro Missions - Interfaith Department for promoting the teaching of the Golden Rule through developing different educational materials and the Golden Role Posters in different languages.
I also want to take this opportunity to recognize and appreciate the excellent work of Karen Armstrong, the renowned religious scholar, for establishing the Charter for Compassion and promoting the importance of Golden Rule.
Finally, I want to highlight that each of us needs to commit ourselves as best as we can to become non-violent and to make personal pledges for peace, and to live according to the teaching of the Golden Rule. Peace is only possible in the world when each and every one of us starts to make peace within ourselves, in our families and in our respective communities.
Let us be instruments of peace and a living example of the teaching of the Golden Rule. Let us “walk the talk” by taking practical action and living according to the principle of the Golden Rule.
May Peace, the Golden Rule, Unity, Justice, Harmony and Compassion Prevail on Earth.
In peace and gratitude,
Ambassador Mussie Hailu