PRE-PARLIAMENT GIVEAWAY IN MAY
Pre-Parliament Event Host Approved in May are Now Eligible to Raffle One
to the world’s premier interfaith event
the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City!
Attract Guests to your Pre-Parliament Event by sharing that Parliament registration:
Is valued up to $475 USD
Includes Access to All Parliament Programming and Plenaries, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dozens of Luminaries Championing Interfaith around the World
May qualify for free homestay in Salt Lake City per financial requirements
Is a life-changing experience providing critical training, as well as culturally enriching programming and movement building networking with 10,000 people from 50 faith communities and 80 countries
Grants access to the Inaugural Women’s Assembly for Global Advancement, the first platform on a global scale to raise the voices of women in the interfaith movement
Seed a Fundraiser for Your Interfaith Organization
The Parliament encourages hosts* who are qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or student/university groups promoting interfaith community, peace, justice or sustainability efforts to raffle the complimentary registration as a small fundraiser for your event (up to $10 per ticket).
*Individuals hosting private events are asked to donate raffle proceeds from free registration to support your local interfaith community organization.
One complimentary registration will be honored for each event which is submitted and approved by the Pre-Parliament Coordinator by May 31, 2015, and are scheduled to be held by July 30, 2015.
What to do?
To participate in the May Giveaway, first submit your event for approval by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before May 31, 2015.
To qualify for one complimentary 2015 Parliament registration, your event should host a minimum of ten guests who become new subscribers to the Parliament’s e-newsletter, InterfaithNow. Pre-Parliament event guests should subscribe to the Parliament email updates and newsletter at your event.
The Parliament does not sell the personal information of our registrants or subscribers to any other entities. Access to personal information without obtaining advanced written consent is prohibited by the Parliament.
Once your event concludes, submit photos of the event and the name of your chosen winner to Pre-Parliament staff. The Parliament will register the winner by phone once all steps are validated and approved!
For events of 75 attendees or more, follow the same guidelines for TWO free Parliament registrations!
Promotion Rules: Your friends and networks already subscribed and registered as 2015 Parliament Attendees will not qualify in the May Pre-Parliament Promotion. The Parliament will automatically enter 2015 Parliament registrants for exciting Parliament contests coming this summer! Complimentary Registrations may not be sold at any financial gain and are eligible only to raffle winners of approved pre-Parliament events. Hosts who attempt to sell pre-Parliament promotional registration will forfeit participation in the May giveaway.
We Look Forward to Seeing You and Your Community at the 2015 Parliament in Salt Lake this October 15 – 19 to Reclaim the Heart of Our Humanity!
By Jon Ramer
Shared with permission of CompassionGames.org
Baltimore’s riots this week have highlighted the growing unrest and injustices across America. Many are being forced to rethink assumptions we’ve made about race, power, civility, and compassion. We seem to have forgotten concepts like fairness and justice as a nation. Without this moral compass to guide us, what’s left?
As video after video surfaces of young black males being brutally treated by police, it makes us wonder if racial discrimination and police brutality can now be tolerated in our society. Empathizing with the police and continuing to ignore the root causes of these problems is all too easy. Mainstream media seems to cater to our worst fears and instincts by amplifying the inexcusable behavior of a few.
From the New York Times:
The Rev. Jamal Bryant, delivering the eulogy of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, spoke of the plight of poor, young black men like Mr. Gray, living “confined to a box” made up of poor education, lack of job opportunities and racial stereotypes — “the box of thinking all black men are thugs and athletes and rappers.”
“He had to have been asking himself: ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” Mr. Bryant said. “He had to feel at age 25 like the walls were closing in on him.”
As his voice rose to a shout, and the cheering congregation rose to its feet, Mr. Bryant said that black people must take control of their lives and force the police and government to change.
“This is not the time for us as a people to be sitting on a corner drinking malt liquor. This is not the time for us to be playing lottery,” he said.
“Get your black self up and change this city,” he said. “I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent. With everything we’ve been through, ain’t no way in the world you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice.”
What a powerful call to justice. However, it isn’t just a call to African-Americans. If we see ourselves as one multi-cultural society we need a collective action that will lead to effective change. What is society’s role in providing a way out of the poverty, hopelessness and despair that these young men seem to be stuck in?
The pathway out used to be as simple as getting a good education and hard work that might ultimately earn you a fair shot at the American dream. But with the rise in the cost of education and the lack of decent paying jobs, this no longer seems like a winning strategy. We need to do better as a society, even if it’s more difficult. We need to relearn how to respect our differences and work together: to address these challenges with effective policies, solutions, and on the ground actions that change lives.
The Power of Compassion and Our Interrelatedness
According to Navajo Medicine Woman Patricia Anne Davis, “the word ‘compassion’ can best be translated into English using the word ‘proxy’, meaning that another person can experience another person’s experience because we are all related by our inherent divinity given to each person equally. It is an all-inclusive experience where there is unity in the natural order and everyone is interconnected.”
We are interconnected to the youth and to the police. Can we find compassion for the police officers who are upholding the law and for the black youth who have the cards unfairly stacked against them?
The challenges we face are personal and spiritual as well as economic, cultural and political. Compassionate action can build this bridge. The role of compassion is not only vital in our lives, it is a key to understanding the circumstances of every perspective and finding a way forward that is just and can heal the rifts in our communities.
In Detroit, Michigan a team called #MetroDetroit participated in the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” Coopetition from April 18 through April 26.
We recently wrote a news post about the organizer of the team Reverend Jim Lee of Renaissance Unity Church titled “Love The Hell Out of Metro Detroit: From the Blame – Shame Game to the Compassion Games.”
Lee is “rewiring the cellular memory to a place of forgiveness so his city can thrive – so the beloved community can emerge.” Rev. Lee wants to be very clear, “Forgiveness is not about forgetting the past. It doesn’t change what happened. What changes is the interpretation and perception with a new quality, a new tone can emerge to heal us today, so we can move on to the beloved community.”
Lee believes that his community can revitalize and empower itself by bringing the power of love and compassion to bear on their everyday life. Lee says he wants to “Love our way through the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.”
The #MetroDetroit team committed to participate in the Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge and set out to identify many of the places in Detroit that they cherish and love. The goal was to heighten appreciation of their physical environment, their sense of social cohesion, and their experience of safety and peace within their neighborhoods.
We are happy to report that team #MetroDetroit posted more photo stories than any other city in the world! Congratulations #MetroDetroit! You can see all the story photos here.
We can learn so much from this remarkable team and their accomplishments. We can come together to make just and lasting change by building cultures of compassion and kindness. There are over 300 cities around the world that have embarked on compassionate city campaigns. As people of this remarkable time – filled with great challenges and surprising opportunities – what do we choose?
The Compassion Games supports communities committed to creating cultures that are safer, kinder, and better places to live. You can find out more here www.compassiongames.org Game on!
Jon Eliot Ramer is an American entrepreneur, civic leader, inventor, and musician. He is co-founder of several technology companies including Ramer and Associates, ELF Technologies, Inc., (whose main solution, Serengeti, was purchased by Thomson Reuters) and Smart Channels. The designer and co-founder of several Deep Social Networks, he is the former Executive Director of the Interra Project, and a co-founder of Ideal Network, a group-buying social enterprise that donates a percentage of every purchase to a non-profit or school. Ideal Network is a certified B-Corp that was recognized as “Best in the World for Community” in 2012 by B-Labs. He is also the designer and co-founder of Compassionate Action Network International, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Seattle, that led the effort to make the city the first in the world to affirm Karen Armstrong‘s Charter for Compassion. Most recently, Ramer conceived of and produced the “Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest.”
By Parliament Staff
Homelessness remains a pressing issue in America. According to the most recent data available, at least 100 million people around the globe are considered homeless. More than 3.5 million people residing in the United States are homeless and 25% are under the age of 18. Whereas homelessness is rooted in poverty in countries like India, Nigeria, and France, the U.S. has seen an increase in homelessness due to a variety of factors. They include – but are not limited to – veterans returning from armed conflict overseas, the 2007 housing crisis which left thousands of families without homes, and those suffering from mental illness without access to housing and necessary treatment.
Homeless prevention legislation in America has yielded mixed results. Cook County (IL) Sheriff Tom Dart halted foreclosure-based evictions during the winter of 2008 to protect rent-paying tenants, consequently compounding problems by making lenders less likely to extend loan payments to the most vulnerable.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, an alternative method was employed. The city provided its chronically homeless individuals with housing and counseling, saving the state an average of $8,000 per homeless person. By utilizing this program model, homelessness in Salt Lake decreased by 72% between 2005 to 2014.
In other states, some governments are criminalizing the homeless by passing reactive legislation. The cost of enforcing the criminalization of homelessness costs more than housing the homeless. The practice spars public outcry because it is ultimately worsening the situation. This is why community groups and interfaith leaders are stepping in to help fill the gaps.
Interfaith groups have provided social services to assist the homeless through food banks and food drives, soup kitchens, shelters, and even counseling and rehabilitation. In order to address the issue proactively, interfaith groups are now also working to prevent homelessness. An interfaith group in St. Petersburg, Florida is finally able to launch a rotating shelter for homeless families after establishing the program within the last several years. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, community leaders held a forum between the homeless community and residents that want to help them. By opening the dialogue in this manner, both homeless advocates and those they serve have a voice.
Without discussion and brainstorming, problems like homelessness cannot be successfully addressed. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs donated $3 million to Interfaith Community Services to further the organization’s mission of erasing veteran homelessness. Right now, an Interfaith Resource Center is planning the construction of a year-round overnight shelter for the homeless in Columbia, Missouri. Additionally, a couple in Athens, Georgia is hosting a week of fun activities and learning opportunities to help raise funds for Interfaith Hospitality Network Athens, a nonprofit organization that assists the homeless.
Helping the homeless remains a major priority for faith communities. Although homelessness may continue to be a problem in the future, the call to “live compassionately,” as Karen Armstrong says, means one should remain uncomfortable so long as his or her fellow brother or sister is suffering. Interfaith cooperation can achieve a sharp reduction in homelessness if communities continue to think and act together. All faith traditions are called to serve the needy in their doctrines and teachings. Presently, tracking homelessness remains a challenge for agencies and governments. But with the assistance of faith communities’ cooperation, effective and innovative models for eradicating homelessness can be implemented.
Parliament interns Shani Belshaw, Nafia Khan, and Daniel Wolff contributed to this article.
By: Parliament Amabassador Aamir Hussain. Originally published on Huffington Post
This past week, I joined 11 other medical students from the University of Chicago in volunteering at a Lakota Native American reservation in Rosebud, South Dakota. We spent some of our time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and some time shadowing physicians at the local Indian Health Service (IHS) hospital. This experience was a great opportunity to not only learn about health care challenges on reservations, but also to reflect on the intersections between religion, service, and medicine.
Aside from astronomically high rates of chronic conditions such as Type II Diabetes, obesity, depression, and alcoholism, patients at the IHS clinic often lack access to cancer screenings because the small facility does not have the resources to provide those services. As a result, it is not uncommon for treatable conditions to cause life-threatening complications. I was shocked to learn that some patients suffered from tuberculosis, a disease that I thought had been mostly eliminated from the United States. Finally, patients routinely resort to using the emergency room often need to be air-evacuated to other hospitals for minor complaints that cannot be addressed on the reservation.
However, there were also several positive aspects of the IHS. First, The primary care doctors I shadowed were able to spend lots of time with her patients, talking through diagnoses and medications at length. Second, the reservation community was very close-knit, and physicians (even those who lived outside the reservation) were well-acquainted with Lakota traditions and had a strong desire to be part of the local culture. Finally, although the IHS is woefully under-funded (annual health spending per person for the overall U.S. population is over $9000, in comparison to about $2400 per person in the IHS), it is still a single-payer system that guarantees coverage to all Native Americans with documented membership in a federally-recognized tribe. Although IHS insurance may be less effective outside IHS facilities, this federal program ensures that virtually everyone on the reservation is insured.
While learning about Lakota history, I was intrigued by the changing roles of religious groups over time. Until the mid-20th century, many Western churches saw the Native Americans as “savages,” and many priests sought to “educate” the Lakota in such a way that they would forget their old ways and completely adopt Western customs. Fortunately, there now seems to be more mutual understanding between different spiritual traditions. Christian institutions provide a large number of social services, and serve as community centers for various activities. Churches and religious leaders now run many charities, including the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. However, many Lakota traditions such as sweat lodges, vision quests, and Sun Dances are also practiced, and some reservation residents observe Christianity alongside the traditional Lakota religion.
Indeed, I was struck by the contrast between hopelessness and optimism on the reservation. On one hand, unemployment is well over 70 percent, the life expectancy can be less than 50 years, suicide rates are extremely high, and families are often trapped in cyclical poverty. On the other hand, reservation residents speak fondly of Sinte Gleska, an accredited Lakota university that provides a wide array of degrees, and cheer for their young students who have won full scholarships to major national universities like Stanford and Dartmouth. Others express hope for the in-progress Crazy Horse Memorial, and how it can someday stand as a symbol of the unvanquished Native American spirit for generations to come.
Through my conversations with the people of Rosebud, I was constantly reminded of a verse from the Quran that speaks of resilience: “Verily, with every difficulty there [comes] relief” (Quran 94:6). Throughout my life as practicing Muslim, I always took this verse for granted; whenever I struggled with something, I found comfort in the fact that relief would eventually come. However, this past week has shown me that for many people, hardship can often be followed by an even greater hardship. Finding any “relief” can be very difficult, and it can be tough to persevere when faced with such overwhelming odds.
I have been inspired by the various people I have met on this short trip, from the recent high school graduate who strives to learn at least “one new fact” every day and someday teach English abroad, to the tireless educator at Sinte Gleska University who motivates her students to follow their dreams, to the hospital worker who speaks fluent Lakota with local elders, keeping an ancient language alive.
These friends I made, and many others, illustrate my religion’s core tenets of humility, service, resilience, and community engagement. As a result, I have become more motivated to reflect on my own practice of Islam, and will strive to exhibit those virtues throughout my medical career.
Before we left to return to Chicago, our Rosebud host told us, “It doesn’t matter if you never return here. Just promise me this: never forget us, and never forget what you learned here.”
That is a promise I intend to keep.
Join the Parliament and Salt Lake Officials Saturday for a Preview of the Biggest Global Interfaith Event Coming to Utah this October
The unforgettable, life-changing Parliament event is bringing the global interfaith community to Utah, and we’re coming to meet you this weekend!
Join the Parliament, the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable and your neighbors in attending a free to the public interactive preview event of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions this Saturday, April 25 from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
The afternoon program will feature opportunities to engage in global dialogue as well as performances and prayers from representatives of Salt Lake faith and indigenous communities. Enthusiastic remarks from officials and media personalities will say why Utah supports the Parliament! RSVP to reserve your spot at utah.parliamentofreligions.org.
At the Podium:
- Utah Officials Including Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Governor Herbert’s Representative Pamela Atkinson
- Emcees Carole Mikita of KSL and Robert Kirby of Salt Lake Tribune
- Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable Leaders Incl. Bishop Rev. France Davis, Bishop Hiyashi
- The International Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions
- Salt Lake Representatives of Parliament’s Women’s, Indigenous and Youth Initiatives
- Utah ticket-holders and interested participants of the 2015 Parliament
The Interactive Preview of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions April 25, 2015 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. will be held in the Salt Palace Convention Center, Room 255. Come and get to know Utah’s interfaith community leaders, public officials and media personalities as we present a public preview of the world’s premier interfaith event, the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Exclusive opportunities to volunteer and register for the October event at a 40 percent discount will be available on site.
This October, we hope you will be with us as Utah’s communities of faith join in showcasing their commitments to a more compassionate world alongside global luminaries and Nobel Peace Laureates like the Dalai Lama and Costa Rica’s two-time President, Oscar Arias. Utahns will significantly number among 10,000 participants from 80 countries and 50 Faith traditions sharing practices.
Come find out what the global interfaith movement is all about! Space for Saturday’s Program can be reserved here at Utah.ParliamentOfReligions.org.
From the Desk of the Board Chair
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
Dear Friends of the Parliament,
The news from the interfaith movement across the globe is increasingly positive and ever more promising. And I am extremely pleased and proud that the Parliament of the World’s Religions is at the very center of this historic movement that is building momentum day by day.
Thank you for your support, confidence, and prayers.
We have some exciting news of our own about the Parliament that I want to share with you. After a period of developing organizational focus and strength, and proceeding with a careful and lengthy selection process, we are thrilled to announce and welcome our new Executive Director, Daniel Hostetler.
Daniel, we are confident, brings the kind of experience, abilities, and commitment that we believe is required to lead both the Parliament and the wider interfaith movement to new levels of visibility and relevance.
Let me explain. The interfaith movement has tripled in size over the last decade. With that growth comes responsibility to be organizationally stronger and well-positioned for the role we are to play in human affairs. That involves developing measurable goals and demonstrating achievements both in mutual understanding and cooperation among faith communities as well as creating a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Our fiscal foundation for this kind of work must also be stronger if the Parliament and the interfaith movement it is leading is to realize its promise.
Daniel Hostetler is exactly what we need at this juncture.
- He brings a commitment to peace as a Mennonite
- He brings a deep serving culture as Director of Operations & Finance at World Relief Aurora-Dupage
- And he brings a long business executive experience.
Dan co-founded and functioned as CEO of Legacy Analytics which was recognized by Inc.’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies. Dan’s experience includes being the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the George S. May International Company Southern European Division (SED) and for ten years lead 300+ employees. He was also Co-Founder of Strategic Business Partners which reached national prominence winning one of the highest awards in the consulting industry.
And Dan is just as pleased to join the Parliament as we are to have him:
“I am extremely excited to have been selected as Executive Director and for the opportunity that lies before us! When I moved out of my for-profit business background and into the not-for-profit world, I wanted to serve a vision which touched my heart with a worthy mission that I could adopt as my own while working for a just, peaceful and sustainable world. I believe I have found this amazing dream job to which I am ready and willing to dedicate myself to completely. So thank you Parliament for this opportunity to serve.”
Dan will start April 20, 2015.
You can read more about him here.
Dr. Mary Nelson, who has served as Executive Director for the past 2.5 years and chaired the selection committee for the new Executive Director, welcomed her successor with these words:
It is a great delight to welcome Daniel Hostetler as the Parliament’s new Executive Director. He brings skills of management and a heart for the interfaith movement that bode well for the future. As I transition into a consultant role, it is a great joy to have someone so capable of stepping into the leadership role. He will build on a strong foundation of a hardworking and committed staff – which is succeeding in bringing enthusiastic registrants and exciting program proposals for the Salt Lake City Parliament – and a wise and involved board of directors.
I want to express my profound thanks to Mary Nelson for her outstanding service as Executive Director at a crucial time in the life of the Parliament and for chairing our selection committee, constituted by the Rev. Bob Thompson, Chair Emeritus of the Parliament, our two current Vice Chairs, Phyllis Curott and Dr. Larry Greenfield and myself.
Mary herself served as the Vice Chair of the Parliament’s Board of Trustees with me before we requested her to serve as Executive Director while we sought a permanent leader. Mary will be working with Dan as a consultant during the transition phase.
We – the board, the staff, and the volunteers – are so thankful for her leadership and her service to the cause of the interfaith movement. We know you share our gratitude.
Please extend your welcome and support to Daniel Hostetler as he begins his work as our new Executive Director.
Abdul Malik Mujahid
Board of Trustees
P.S. There are six major exciting announcements that are coming about at the Parliament which we will share with you soon, God willing, one at a time.
Daniel Hostetler begins as executive director of the Parliament of the World’s Religions on April 20. Hostetler brings to the Parliament more than 30 years experience in corporate consultancy and non-profit management, most recently directing operations and finance with the Dupage-Aurora [Illinois] World Relief, an international Christian non-profit which supports refugees and immigration issues.
Prior to joining World Relief, Hostetler co-founded and functioned as CEO of Legacy Analytics, which was recognized by Inc.’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies. His background includes serving as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the George S. May International Company Southern European Division (SED,) and for ten years leading 300+ employees. He was also Co-Founder of Strategic Business Partners, which reached national prominence in winning one of the highest awards in the consulting industry.
Another nonprofit organization for which Hostetler holds a board position is the “Jacob Hochstetler Family Association,” which honors his Amish ancestry.
Among his community service activities, Hostetler often volunteers in homeless shelters, hospice, and travels through faith-based initiatives such as Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Hostetler is a devoted member of the Christ Community Mennonite Church in Schaumburg, IL where he finds his call to peacebuilding.
Amish and Hutterite communities across the midwest of the United States see frequent visits from Hostetler, who also travels internationally to perform nonviolent mediation.
Hostetler holds a bachelor’s degree in Business with highest honors from Ohio Christian University and completed an advanced degree in Non-Profit Management at Chicago’s North Park University in 2013.
A raw vegan, Hostetler supports a wide-range of compassionate, humanitarian, and animal welfare efforts. He makes his home in Chicago’s Western suburbs with his wife and is the father of two adult sons and a daughter.
Two videos illustrating the work and mission of The Parliament of the World’s Religion’s were awarded highest honors at The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) annual Derose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards ceremony in Alexandria, VA.
Both videos received awards under the Audio & Video, Broadcast, Non-Broadcast & Cable category. Parliament Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson and Kari Carlson of Baha’i Media Services were awarded Best in Class for The Heart of Faith, sharing the story of the Parliament and the ways our interconnection makes humanity stronger. Dr. Mary Nelson and Anna Castelaz of Baha’i Media Services received the Award of Excellence for Our Souls’ Aspiration, which reveals a young people’s hopes for the Parliament fitting into their world.
The Religion Communicators Council is an “interfaith association of religion communicators.” According to its website, the “DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to active members of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) who demonstrate excellence in religious communications and public relations. The awards are named to honor the late Victor DeRose and the late Paul M. Hinkhouse, leading lithographers in New York City, and longtime friends of the RCC. Both men shared a strong interest in, and concern for, excellence in communications.”
The Parliament is delighted to share these honors with the services department of the Baha’i National Center. Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson says, “we’re thrilled about the honors awarded to these two exciting videos that share the hearts of people of faith and spirit envisioning a better world. We’re so grateful to the Baha’i Media Services for producing, and RCC for acknowledging and honoring the excellence in these videos.”
Be sure to check out and share the clips below.
The Heart of Faith
Our Souls’ Aspiration
The Parliament strongly expresses support for Interfaith foundation Carpe Diem in presenting Mexico’s second Multicultural Universal Dialogue coming May 6 – 8 in Guadalajara, Jalisco. An international roster of speakers will explore spiritual, scientific, academic and intercultural perspectives on enhancing cooperation across cultures. Many will hail from across Mexico’s religious and indigenous landscape with international guests traveling in from other countries.
One such speaker will be Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid.
With congratulations to Carpe Diem on its significant achievement for interfaith within Mexico, the Parliament regards this gathering as a benefit to the entire global interfaith community. “I am very much looking forward to being there,” Mujahid says, adding that he sends his best wishes to the organizers of their third major event.
Chair Mujahid will bring a flavor to the conference tying in with values close to both the organizers of DMU and the 2015 Parliament in Salt Lake City.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions Celebrates the World Bank Faith Partnership to End Extreme Poverty by 2030
More than 30 religious leaders and faith-based organizations have endorsed a global call for ending extreme poverty. The World Bank’s April 9 release of Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative explains the moral obligation shared between faith communities to end the systems which create extreme poverty.
“When we in the interfaith movement commit our faith and action with the will to make it happen, incredible progress is possible,” says Parliament Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson. “The Parliament fully endorses the moral imperative, and welcomes the opportunity to work with the World Bank, the United Nations, and other international partners to relieve more than 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty.”
The statement follows a high-level meeting between World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and faith leaders earlier this year as part of its commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.
The timing syncs with the growing concern of interfaith leaders to make measurable progress on global crises.
“Poverty is a moral issue. The 2015 Parliament will have a special track on the widening wealth gap and income inequity,” says Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Parliament Board Chair. Mujahid continues, “We will invite the 10,000 participants of 80 countries and 50 religious and spiritual traditions of the 2015 Parliament to make a commitment to engage the guiding institutions of their respective countries, to make extreme poverty a thing of the past through changes in public policy, and to facilitate a balanced relationship between labor and capital to achieve just distribution of wealth.”
As the mother of the modern global interfaith movement, the Parliament of the World’s Religions aims to foster harmony across the world’s religious and spiritual institutions and to engage with the world’s powers to achieve a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.
Since its introduction at the 1993 Parliament, the Global Ethic established a consensus of the world’s religions on critical global issues such as extreme poverty. The advancement of the Global Ethic stands stronger than ever today with the World Bank’s commitment with interfaith partners to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The Parliament welcomes engagement with global partners to mobilize interfaith action for sustainable development and to end extreme poverty.
Read the Statement and Get Involved
The Parliament invites the global interfaith community to contribute to conversations on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #Faith2EndPoverty.
Additionally, all are invited to tune into the full coverage on April 15 where World Bank President Dr. Kim will lead a panel discussion with faith-based organization leaders.
World Bank’s Statement
Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative
Our common understanding
As leaders from diverse religious traditions, we share a compelling vision to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. For the first time in human history, we can do more than simply envision a world free of extreme poverty; we can make it a reality. Accomplishing this goal will take two commitments: to act guided by the best evidence of what works and what doesn’t; and to use our voices to compel and challenge others to join us in this urgent cause inspired by our deepest spiritual values.
The world has achieved remarkable progress in the past two decades in cutting in half the number of people living in extreme poverty. We have ample evidence from the World Bank Group and others showing that we can now end extreme poverty within fifteen years. In 2015, our governments will be deciding upon a new global sustainable development agenda that has the potential to build on our shared values to finish the urgent task of ending extreme poverty.
We in the faith community embrace this moral imperative because we share the belief that the moral test of our society is how the weakest and most vulnerable are faring. Our sacred texts also call us to combat injustice and uplift the poorest in our midst. No one, regardless of sex, age, race, or belief, should be denied experiencing the fullness of life.
Our shared moral consensus
This is why the continued existence of extreme poverty in a plentiful world offends us so deeply. Our faith is tested and our hearts are broken when, in an age of unprecedented wealth and scientific advancement, so many still live in degrading conditions. We know too well that extreme poverty thwarts human purpose, chokes human potential, and affronts human dignity. In our increasingly interconnected world, there is enough to ensure that no one has to fight for their daily survival.
Ending extreme poverty will require a comprehensive approach that tackles its underlying causes—including preventable illness, a lack of access to quality education, joblessness, corruption, violent conflicts, and discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and other groups. It will also necessitate a change in the habits that cause poverty—greed and waste, numbness to the pain of others, and exploitation of people and the natural world. It calls for a holistic and sustainable approach that transforms cultures and institutions, and hearts as well as minds.
In too many parts of the world, women and girls are consigned to second class status, denied access to education and employment, and victimized by violence, trafficking, and rape. Until each and every person is afforded the same basic rights, none of us can truly flourish.
We must also state unequivocally that ending extreme poverty without mitigating climate change and combating inequality will be impossible. Climate change is already disproportionately hurting people living in poverty. Extreme inequality, within and between countries, contradicts our shared religious values, exacerbates social and political divisions, and will impede progress. What is needed is a new paradigm of socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth.
Our call to action
We believe that now is the time to end the scourge of extreme poverty—by restoring right relationships among people, affirming human dignity, and opening the door to the holistic development of all people. If we were more committed to living these common values there would be less poverty in the world.
Our shared convictions call us to empower and uplift— not denigrate—those living in poverty, so that they can become agents of their own transformation. We must abandon a politics that too often marginalizes their voices, blames them for their condition, and exacerbates extremes of inequality. Now is the time to turn fatigue into renewed commitment, indifference into compassion, cynicism into hope, and impotence into a greater sense of agency that we can and will end extreme poverty by 2030.
We commit to working together to end the scandal of extreme poverty. We will act, advocate, educate, and collaborate, both among ourselves and with broader initiatives. And we commit to holding all levels of leadership accountable—public and private, domestic and international.
Our approach to this staggering need must be holistic, rooted in the spiritual visions of our respective faiths, and built on a shared recognition of the intrinsic dignity and value of every life on Earth.
Realizing this shared goal will require a revolution in social and political will, as well as new innovations and greater collaboration across sectors. We call on international organizations, governments, corporations, civil society, and religious communities, to play their essential parts and join with us in this critical cause.
Poverty’s imprisonment of more than a billion men, women and children must end. Now is the time to boldly act to free the next generation from extreme poverty’s grip.