UN Dispatch: World Interfaith Harmony Week

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UN Dispatch

Interfaith Week: Yesterday, the UN Committee of Religious NGOs and DPI hosted an “Interfaith Breakfast” as part of the first annual World Interfaith Harmony Week, intended to highlight global interfaith understanding, and allow religious leaders a space to promote mutual understanding. Marc Scheuer, Director of UN Alliance of Civilizations, talked about this initiative that was put forward by Turkey and other Member States. Scheuer said that everyone has a role to play in interfaith, and the Alliance of Civilizations aims to support NGOs and civil society at the grassroots level on human rights, environment, and poverty. Another aim of the Alliance is to engage with young people and support efforts to expand their views on various religions and opinions. Also, Stephen Hanmer from UNICEF talked about the importance of partnering with religious organizations, as UNICEF has a number of shared values with them. For example, both communities aim to 1) protect children; 2) support the emotional and spiritual well-being of children; 3) provide a moral authority; and 4) utilize their large networks. Hanmer explained that such partnerships are essential to effectively work on the MDGs. Similarly, someone from UNFPA stated that faiths are the essence of civil society partnerships. Representatives from the U.S. Mission, the Turkish Mission, and the Islamic Conference also attended.