FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, CA, USA - September 11, 2019
In the nearly two decades since the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, international and interfaith peacebuilding work has grown increasingly important as humanitarian groups try to create cohesion in a fractured world.
URI (United Religions Initiative) is the largest grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities – work that has grown essential in the current political climate.
Since the 2001 attacks, and its Charter signing the previous year, URI has been rapidly growing to include more than 1,000 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, working in 108 countries today. The URI network builds the capacity of these grassroots groups to engage in global initiatives and local community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights – all aimed at preventing future fear, hatred, and violence like the kind that fueled the terror attacks on 9/11.
There is positive news: the peacebuilding movement is gaining momentum. This past June 26 and 27, URI hosted an international conference titled “Accelerate Peace: Interfaith Action in Global Peacebuilding” at the Hoover Institution on the Stanford University campus in California, USA. It brought together peacebuilders from around the world to discuss challenges to peace, both in their local communities and on an international level, and also to discuss action-oriented solutions to benefit all of humanity.
Many high-profile organizations and individuals took part in the conference, including The Hon. George P. Shultz, Former Secretary of State for the United States and Honorary Member of the URI President's Council; H.E. Adama Dieng, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations on the Prevention of Genocide; Prof. Azza Karam, Senior Advisor at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Coordinator of the United Nations InterAgency Task Force on Religion and Development, and Secretary General of Religions for Peace; and Valarie Kaur, Founder and Director of the Revolutionary Love Project.
One keynote event was “A Bishop and General Talk about Peace,” an unprecedented conversation between The Rt. Rev. William Swing, Founder and President of URI and former Episcopal Bishop of California, and General James N. Mattis, former United States Secretary of Defense.
The conference brought together diverse experts from the United Nations, Indigenous communities, and countries around the world for panels on topics including nuclear disarmament, women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, interfaith cooperation, and ending religiously-motivated violence. Organizations represented included: The Asia Foundation, the Faith Matters Network, the Graduate Theological Union, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the Global Security Institute, Green Hope Foundation, the Hoover Institution, the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, the Jewish Community Relations Council, PeaceJam Foundation, Stanford University, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, United States Institute for Peace, and the Women’s Earth Alliance.
The outstanding response and ongoing enthusiasm from so many global organizations, cultures, faith traditions, and communities confirm that this is the type of response to terror attacks that we need to keep making. URI invites you to take action in your own community and continue the positive momentum.
URI (United Religions Initiative) is the largest grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities. URI implements its mission in 108 countries through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of more than 1,000 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.
URI holds the prestigious distinction of being a non-governmental organization (NGO) with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and has long-standing partnerships with several other UN agencies.
Get involved at URI.org.