Caring for Better Common Future - URI Europe at 10th Religions for Peace Assembly
The Religions for Peace 10th World Assembly, under the theme “Caring for our Common Future—Advancing Shared Well-Being,” was held from August 20-23 in Lindau, Germany. It was global in scale, multi-stakeholder in composition, and action-oriented. More than 800 senior religious leaders, youth, and women of faith from 125 countries, together with 100 representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society groups, came together to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships for the common good. Previous Religions for Peace Assemblies have resulted in highly effective multi-religious projects in peacebuilding and development in all world regions.
Beside the conference theme, Caring for Our Common Future – Advancing Shared Well-Being, there were five important sub-themes: Caring for Our Common Future by Advancing Positive Peace; Caring for Our Common Future by Preventing and Transforming Conflicts; Caring for Our Common Future by Promoting Just and Harmonious Societies; Caring for Our Common Future by Working for Sustainable and Integral Human Development, and Caring for Our Common Future by Protecting the Earth.
Lejla Hasandedic-Dapo, URI Europe Cooperation Circle (CC) Liaison Officer, took part in this assembly. Besides the main assembly events, she was also invited to take part in the Youth Pre-Assembly, which was an opportunity to connect with youth delegates and strengthen the relationship between youth members of RfP and other organizations.
This was a great opportunity to meet with URI members from all over the world, as Victor Kazanjian, URI Executive Director, and members of URI Cooperation Circles from Europe, Africa, and the URI Multiregion were all present at this event. We all used this event to promote URI's work and to strengthen relationships with other organizations such as RfP, Arigatou International, religious leaders, and governmental organizations from Germany.
“Crossing Bridges in My Mind – Can Foes Be Friends After a War?“
The URI Europe CC Liaison Officer was invited to give the lightning talk under the title “Crossing Bridges in My Mind – Can Foes Be Friends After a War?“ This was presented in the format of inspiring talks, by presenting personal stories and showcasing exemplary ideas within the range of religious, spiritual, and peace-related issues, being similar to the style of TED-Talks by providing both powerful words and thought-provoking, inspirational new perspectives.
She was honoured to give this talk in front of the full cinema hall in Lindau, together with top scholars and religious leaders such as Chief Rabbi David Rosen, Prof. Dr. Katherine Marshall, Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Father Dr. Nikodemus C. Schnabel, and others.
This was also an opportunity to exchange ideas with citizens of Lindau, whose hospitality and big heart left us speechless.
During the 10th World Assembly, the Ring for Peace sculpture was launched. A meal with the local population was organized, and a lot of new relationships and friendships were built. Lejla met with Ella Ghandi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, and she was inspired by her wisdom and modesty. Also, Ella was wearing a Srebrenica flower (a symbol of remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide) on her scarf, which especially touched Lejla, as Lejla is from Bosnia and the Srebrenica Genocide is one of the darkest and saddest moments in Bosnian history.
The new Secretary-General of Religions for Peace, Prof. Dr. Azza Karam, who is friend of URI, was elected. After her election, the URI Executive Director wrote the following: “Today is a big day for the Interfaith movement. My dear friend and esteemed colleague Azza Karam was confirmed today as the Secretary-General for Religions for Peace. Azza has led the way at the United Nations for the inclusion of Faith-based and Interfaith peacebuilders as UN partners. She is also a part of the URI community, having paved the way for URI’s partnership with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. She and UNFPA also received URI’s Global Peacebuilder Award at the Accelerate Peace Conference in June. Congratulations, Azza. The URI community celebrates your selection and what this means for the Interfaith peacebuilding movement.“
At the end of this great assembly, the Declaration of the 10th World Assembly of Religions for Peace was adopted by delegates.
URI Europe is very happy that their representative was a main part of this event, that we were able to promote URI, and that we strengthened existing relationships and made new collaborations. We are looking forward to continuing to care for a better common future of all human beings.
URI Europe CC Liaison Officer