Syrian Religious Leaders Commit to Establish the Inter-religious Council of Syria—Religions for Peace A wide range of Syrian religious leaders convened in Istanbul to advance multi-religious cooperation for peace in Syria during a meeting, Syria for all Syrians. They committed themselves to the establishment of a Syrian Religions for Peace Council (RfP—Syria). The Istanbul conference followed a series of earlier consultations of Syrian religious leaders that also called for peace and laid important groundwork for the establishment of RfP—Syria (Marrakesh 16-19 November 2011; Oslo 7-9 January 2012; Larnaca 22-23 February 2012; and Cairo 28-29 August 2012).
Religions for Peace (RfP), in partnership with the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), launched the Multi-religious Collaboration for the Survival and Wellbeing of Children (MCC) Program in Uganda amidst more than 365 religious and cultural leaders, government representatives, UNICEF and other stakeholders from various parts of Uganda. This was the start of a five-year initiative to enhance the survival and well‐being of children under-five years of age which will later be expanded to five other African countries - Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Worldwide, more than 7 million children die before the age of five of easily preventable or treatable diseases.
Religions for Peace Delegation meets with the President of the National Syrian Coalition, His Excellency Ahmed Mouaz Al Khatib on 31 December 2012. His Eminence Dr. Mustafa Ceric, the immediate past Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina and an International Co-President of RfP, and Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General of RfP, co-led the delegation to meet President Khatib, who stated "Today, all Syrians are in anguish..."
Approximately 30 senior members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as members of the Japanese Trustee Group joined a Religions for Peace (RfP) consultation on “Religion and Foreign Policy: Track 1.5 Engagement in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding,” at the Lower House in Tokyo on November 13, 2012. The formation of a Japanese bi-partisan parliamentary support group for RfP International was initiated in 2005, which has paved the way for the historic first Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) for RfP Thailand’s inter-religious conflict transformation project.
Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist leaders in the Kirinochchi district, the most war-affected region and formerly the stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), launched the Religions for Peace (RfP) Sri Lanka-Kirinochchi District Interreligious Council on November 7, 2012. The RfP Kirinochchi District Council will serve as a mechanism to address the challenges of recovery from the devastation of war, resettlement of internally displaced people, reconciliation and social reconstruction in this war-torn region.
Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim leaders of Religions for Peace (RfP) Myanmar met with US President Barack Obama during his historic visit to the country on November 19, 2012. Al Haj U Aye Lwin, the Islamic leader in RfP Myanmar, stated “President Obama emphatically called for respect for human rights, rule of law, tolerance and respect for diversity. The Muslim community in Myanmar is pleased with the recent statement by President U Thein Sein, agreeing to these points and assuring that measures will be taken to address the issues..."
Religious Leaders from the ASEAN Region Visit Conflict Zone in South Thailand and Form an ASEAN Region Multi-religious Network
press release ASEAN
Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities in Myanmar together launched the Religions for Peace Myanmar as the country’s first full-fledged representative and action-oriented interreligious body for reconciliation, peace and development. Approximately 100 religious, diplomatic, political and civil society leaders in Myanmar and Religions for Peace International leaders joined the inauguration. Religions for Peace Myanmar consists of Myanmar’s major religious organizations, including the Buddhist Sitagu Sayadaw community; the Ratana Metta Buddhist Organization; the Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC); the Catholic Church; the Hindu Community in Myanmar; and the Islamic Center of Myanmar. “Communal harmony must be the bedrock of authentic development for Myanmar,” added Secretary General Dr. Vendley.
On 28 September 2012, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the United States government, the Institute for Global Engagement and Religions for Peace International co-convened 150 senior governmental representatives, religious and other civil society leaders at a high-level side event during the United Nations General Assembly. The event focused on advancing strategic partnerships between governments and faith-based civil society organizations for peace and prosperity.
Religions for Peace Interreligious Council of Thailand was awarded the Japanese government’s official development assistance grant for its conflict transformation work in southern Thailand. The “Advancing Human Security through Inter-religious Cooperation in Thailand” project will engage civil society, government, religious leaders and actors, including women and youth, in addressing the misuse of religious identities to fuel conflict in the south of Thailand. The project will provide intensive training for religious leaders and actors on practical approaches to advancing human security, facilitating inter-religious dialogue and engaging in inter-religious cooperation. Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, commended the Religions for Peace Interreligious Council of Thailand for its important initiative to engage diverse Thai religious communities to help transform conflict and build peace in southern Thailand.