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The Charter for Compassion and Parliament Sign Strategic Partnership (VIDEO)

The Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Charter for Compassion announce their strategic partnering for collaboratively supporting the Compassionate Cities movement around the world. Charter founder Dr. Karen Armstrong Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid signed the strategic partnership announcement April 3 in Atlanta, affirming:

Dr. Karen Armstrong, Author and Founder of the Charter for Compassion shakes hands with Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid to affirm a strategic partnership aiming to mutually support the Compassionate Cities movement worldwide.
Photo by Morehouse College, April 3, 2014, Atlanta, GA, USA

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and Charter for Compassion International today announce our strategic partnership aimed at supporting the emergence of the Compassionate Cities movement worldwide.

This Compassionate Cities movement is deeply aligned with the principles of the Parliament. The International Campaign for Compassionate Cities aims to affirm the principle of compassion in the behavior of hundreds of millions of people in thousands of communities around the globe. We believe compassion is a practical, measurable standard we can apply to specific outcomes, including the alleviation of poverty, hunger, and disease, the protection of human rights, the extension of democracy, the creation of a peaceful world, and dealing with the challenges of global climate change.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the mother of the global interfaith movement. Its mission is to achieve a peaceful, just and sustainable world, and at the heart of that mission is the convening of the world’s largest interfaith gathering, each time in a different host city.

The first Parliament was held in 1893 in Chicago and brought Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jains, Sikhs, and other Eastern faiths to the United States.

Council of the Parliament will encourage Ambassadors of the Parliament as well as its members and affiliates around the world to join the Compassionate Cities Initiative and to engage their local communities with the movement. The Charter for Compassion will highlight the Parliament’s efforts to bring the principles of the Charter to life in projects and programs in every community.

Signed April 3, 2014 by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid , Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Parliament, and  Dr. Karen Armstrong, Founder, Charter for Compassion International and the author of the Charter for Compassion.

 

Celebrating Compassionate City Council Resolutions Passing in Atlanta


The Parliament wishes to share congratulations on the unanimous resolution voted by the City Council of Atlanta, which became official on February 12, 2014, declaring:

“…BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THE CITY OF ATLANTA IS DESIGNATED A COMPASSIONATE CITY.”

This encouraging progress for the Charter for Compassion comes this week from the Parliament’s Faiths Against Hate partners in Atlanta, championed by by Chair Emeritus Rev. Bob Thompson and a collective of three major interfaith organizations in the greater Atlanta area.

After launching the Compassionate Atlanta campaign to create a compassionate circle of cities February 2 at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, the Atlanta City Council passed the following resolution, and is encouraging surrounding municipalities to follow suit.

The principles for the Charter for Compassion stem from the very elements of the Golden Rule, which is endorsed through the world’s traditions in the Initial Declaration Toward a Global Ethic drafted in collaboration by the planners of the 1993 Centenary Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago and the daring German Theologian, Hans Kung.

Seeing the progress of the Charter sway governments and transforming global society city by city is a sign of a changing world. It is of the utmost importance for all invested peacemakers to capitalize this spirit in the work to heal hate and advance a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

Congratulations to the city of Atlanta and each campaigning locality being bold, brave, and visionary.

We salute you!

 

 

 

Golden Rule Meets Beloved Community at Heart of Compassionate Atlanta Inaugural Celebration

Compassionate Atlanta kicks off in beloved community on Feb. 2 at the Carter Center.

Winding down from World Interfaith Harmony week would be a backwards way of saying it.  For event organizers like the Compassionate Cities campaigners in Atlanta, the work is only just beginning.

This is true of Rev. Bob Thompson, Board Chair Emeritus of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, who is now championing a metro-wide effort to bring the Charter for Compassion to life in Atlanta. The Compassionate Atlanta kickoff event was held at the Carter Center on February 2 with co-sponsorship of the Parliament’s Faiths Against Hate campaign, and as a participating entity of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week observance. Incidentally coinciding with the beginning of Black History Month in the United States, the Compassionate Atlanta launch embodies the  beloved community vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By launching the campaign, Rev. Thompson is primed to share how a Compassionate city campaign works, and what the Charter means to Atlanta. In a recent conversation with the Parliament, Thompson explains how Atlanta pulls interfaith and interracial harmony under the same umbrella, and why partners like the Parliament’s Faiths Against Hate campaign and other common causes can find a local focus to live out the Charter.

Rev. Bob Thompson kicks off with Compassionate Atlanta Feb. at the Carter Center.

Parliament:  Before we talk about the Charter, what can you share from your favorite memories of your time on the Parliament board?

Rev. Thompson: I cherish so many luminous memories from my tenure. From the Parliament in Cape Town to leading a small group of trustees to meet with the Dalai Lama—these and many significant encounters linger in my memory.  But probably the most significant recollection  occurred after 9/11 when we hosted a large interfaith gathering in a Chicago-area mosque.  Following that gathering many of us in the Chicago interfaith community literally stood with our Muslim sisters and brothers outside of Chicago-area mosques for a number of subsequent days as a statement of our solidarity.

 

Parliament: How does the Charter for Compassion relate to its offspring movements, like Compassionate Action International, the Compassion Games, and Compassionate City campaigns?

Rev. Thompson: The Charter For Compassion was first articulated by Karen Armstrong in her “Make A Wish” TED talk in 2008.  Her wish was granted and the Charter For Compassion was subsequently drafted by a “Council of Conscience,” consisting of interfaith global religious and spiritual leaders. The Charter is the blueprint for the International Campaign for  Compassionate Cities and Compassion Games which serve as concrete expressions of the Charter for Compassion.

Parliament: What does it mean for a city to create a Compassion Campaign?

Rev. Thompson: Every city campaign reflects local capacities.  But each and every city campaign is rooted in the Charter For Compassion.  However we organize in our cities, the message is the same, “treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Parliament: How have municipal leaders taken to the Charter? Do governmental entities agree to change their practices to promote Compassion?

Rev. Thompson: When a city government declares itself a “compassionate city” it issues a proclamation that embraces the Charter for Compassion while working together with its citizens to develop a compassionate action plan that reflects the vision and capacities of that municipality. These efforts ultimately have the power of changing the public conversation and consciousness.

A Proclamation in honor of Compassionate Atlanta was signed by the Atlanta City Council for the kickoff celebration.

Parliament:  What new and different outcomes can a city embarking upon a Compassionate Cities campaign expect, or hope to see happen?

Rev. Thompson: I live by the mantra, “communities consist of conversations. We change our communities by changing our conversations.” We learned from the Civil Rights movement and more recently from LGBT movement, when the conversation changes, communities inevitably change. I believe that compassion and compassionate action are conversation changers that are powerful enough to transform the communities in which we live.

Parliament: Your kickoff event attracted a large crowd of multi-religious and racially diverse faith leaders at the Carter Center in Atlanta over the Feb. 2 -3 weekend. How does the interracial network of faith leaders collaborate in Atlanta as compared to what you saw in Chicago? Moreover have you learned anything organizing in Atlanta which could help aspiring community leaders advance the beloved community in racially segregated cities (like Chicago)?

Rev. Thompson:The diverse Atlanta interfaith community has been the driver of the Compassionate Atlanta campaign.  As an aside, when we were organizing to host the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) in the summer of 2012, I looked around at members of our organizing team and realized I was the only white man on the committee of 12.  That was a very different experience than I had while doing interfaith engagement in Chicago.

Interfaith advances the Beloved Community through the Charter for Compassion in Atlanta at their kickoff event in February 2014.

The interracially diverse interfaith community in Atlanta reflects in part, the cultural complexity of Southern history.  This diversity was also evident at our Compassionate Atlanta launch at the Carter Center. It has been my experience that the Atlanta interfaith community is intentional about living out the vision of the Beloved Community as Dr. King so eloquently articulated. In terms of residency, most of our cities are racially segregated, Atlanta included.  But if we become conscious and intentional about WHO we engage in our conversations—we can make the Beloved Community real in terms of everyday life.  It all begins with being conscious and intentional and culminates in developing relationships that change how we see ourselves and each other.

Parliament: What happens next for the Compassionate Atlanta campaign?

Rev. Thompson: The purpose of our February 2nd Compassionate Atlanta gathering at the Carter Center was to call all citizens in metro Atlanta to concrete actions that invite cities in the metro area to:

  • 1. Declare their city as a Compassionate City
  • 2. Invite organizations to sign on as Charter Partners or
  • 3. Initiate conversations in our communities around the Charter for Compassion and the question of “what does compassion ask of us?”

We plan to gather again at the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College on April 3rd for a Compassion Celebration to report back on what we have done and learned in this two month compassion experiment.

Parliament: The Faiths Against Hate campaign of the Parliament is a co-sponsor of Compassionate Atlanta. How can (and why should) an organization become a co-sponsor?

Rev. Thompson: The Faiths Against Hate Campaign is a very important first step! When CPWR Chair Malik Mujahid called me last April asking if we could organize a Faiths Against Hate event in Atlanta, my immediate response was “Yes!”  Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we needed to mobilize people around something concrete and positive.  I checked out the compassionate cities movement and asked Malik if we could use this as our organizing strategy.  He was very enthusiastic and supportive.  So the Parliament has helped to make the Faiths Against Hate campaign real in Atlanta through the Compassionate Cities movement. Each and every locality must find their own way to give expression to the Faiths Against Hate initiative.  Finally, we are all in this together.  If we want to bring change to our world we must think globally and act locally.  This is what we have done in Atlanta.

Parliament: Are there any lessons you picked up during your time leading the Parliament that have contributed to how you inspire interfaith and compassion now?

Rev. Thompson: The most important lesson I learned in my role as Parliament Chair was that interfaith dialogue and engagement empowers us to understand that our differences present us with an opportunity to go deeper.  Beneath our differences we share a common humanity. It is this vision of our deep unity amidst our diversity that gives me hope and keeps me doing the work I continue to do.

Rev. Robert V. Thompson - Chair Emeritus. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Bob Thompson graduated from Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (Graduate Theological Union) and was ordained an American Baptist minister in 1973. He served American Baptist Churches in Kansas, Ohio, and for 30 years, as Senior Minister of the Lake Street Church in Evanston, Illinois. He retired in November of 2010. During the 1980′s Thompson became an activist pastor focusing on issues such as homelessness, racial reconciliation and advocacy for LGBT rights. He is recognized as Minister Emeritus of the Lake Street Church and Chair Emeritus of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Over the years he has contributed articles to periodicals including The Christian Century, The Chicago Tribune (op-ed), Sound Vision (a Muslim outlet), and others. He is the author of A Voluptuous God: A Christian Heretic Speaks (CopperHouse, 2007) and a contributor to the book for preachers, Feasting On the Word, Westminster John Knox Press.

Upon retirement he moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he is actively engaged in the Atlanta interfaith community.

 

$25,000 Prize Waits for Registered Events of World Interfaith Harmony Week

The registration for World Interfaith Harmony Week 2014 is on, and the winning organizer will be awarded a $25,000 prize. Why do it?

To inspire harmony across the world through any event, from a community-focused gathering, to internationally reaching campaign, with the United Nations official World Interfaith Harmony Week, February 1 – 7 2014.

Suggested Events include organized meals, seminars, meetings, workshops, film or sporting events, fairs, and more.

In Atlanta, a grassroots coalition will begin their involvement with the Parliament’s Faiths Against Hate campaign through a kick-off of a metro-wide campaign to establish Atlanta an official Compassionate City. In Halifax, a multi-day Sacred Spaces Sharing program will bring diverse faiths into each other’s houses of worship to learn about each other, and in many universities, learnings for peace through interfaith understanding will be held all over the world.

If organizing an event is out of reach, observe the week through participating and promoting interfaith harmony. Events are listed here. 

 

The Parliament and Friends Plan for World Interfaith Harmony Week (EVENTS)

The Parliament of the World’s Religions, an official member NGO of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN-DPI), will observe World Interfaith Harmony Week, the official United Nations week held annually over February 1 – 7.

 

    • On the local front, Parliament staff will participate the Niagara Foundation’s Chicago Interfaith Gathering over the week of February 3 – 6 in Chicago, IL, with sponsorship and attendance.
    • Nationally, the Faiths Against Hate campaign of the Parliament of the World’s Religions salutes our partner, the Compassionate Atlanta movement at the inaugural Compassionate Atlanta (details below) event at the Carter Center organized in a collaboration across city sectors with leadership from Rev. Bob Thompson, a former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

In Georgia, Join Metro Atlanta neighbors at the Carter Center (chapel) on Sunday, February 2, 2014 from 2-5 pm for an important and engaging conversation about how we can work together to make all of Atlanta a more compassionate community. Solutions to racism, violence, hunger and other big problems begin with compassionate awareness in everyday situations — that grows into action.

 

Using a World Café format, (small group conversations) we will talk together about what compassion means to each of us, and what we can do to help our families, neighborhoods, schools, businesses and our city foster a compassionate heart. This event is free but our space is limited. An RSVP is required for each person attending. Go to Eventbrite (link here) to register and get your ticket. Please print and bring your ticket with you.

For more information, visit our website at www.compassionateatl.com. This global movement is rooted in the Charter for Compassion. Read it at www.charterforcompassion.org. Sponsored by the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta (FAMA), Interfaith Community Initiatives (ICI), Neshama Interfaith Center, and the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR).

Towards A Global Ethic: Reaffirming Our Commitment to Interfaith Harmony on Parliament Anniversary

A Preface by Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Human interconnectedness has been transformed dramatically by technology. However, our hearts and our minds are yet to be aligned with the God-given ideals of sharing more and consuming less to achieve better results for the humanity.

In a world where more than a billion people live under two dollars a day; where 45 million people are fleeing conflict and persecution; where fear, hate, and anger are rising, we have a responsibility to be good neighbors, to be compassionate, and to live by the Golden Rule.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions has been ahead of its time in envisioning a better future. Almost a century before the word “global village” was introduced in 1962, the Parliament literally invented the gift of interfaith for our world.

It was also well ahead of its time when the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic was issued at the 1993 Parliament. For the first time in history, representatives of all of the world’s religions agreed on the shared ethics that are grounded in their own religions and traditions:

• The principle of shared humanity

• The Golden Rule of reciprocity

• A commitment to peace and justice

In the last 20 years since the signing of this declaration, people have collected more than 700,000 pieces of content on this topic. There are organizations that have been established based on its theme. Some of these include the Global Ethic Foundation, the Institute for Global Ethics, and the Global Ethics Network. We have also seen the development of campaigns based on topics we advanced, such as the Charter of Compassion, a Charter of Forgiveness, A Common Word Between Us and You, and campaigns to promote the Golden Rule.

So at this juncture, on the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Parliament, we at the Parliament reaffirm our commitment to interfaith harmony by reissuing the Global Ethics and by reasserting our mission: to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities, and to foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

We must learn the forgotten lesson that “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.”

Let us, then, friends, share more and consume less!

Let us work hand in hand to change ourselves while saving the only planet we have.

May God open our hearts toward our neighbors. May our Creator open the hearts of our neighbors toward us. Amen.

This preface leads the 2013 reaffirmation of the vision of the Global Ethic penned by Parliament Chair, Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the document. Join Imam Mujahid, the Parliament, and this generation’s voices for peace by signing the 2013 Call to Live Out the Vision Toward a Global Ethic! 

Karen Armstrong: Compassion in Action

Karen Armstrong spoke this past month at a special gathering hosted by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Palo Alto, California. The celebrated author and founder of the Charter for Compassion addressed the ethos of compassion and the work of the Charter.

“Compassion is not just an attitude of sloppy benevolence, it requires practical action. It requires a sense of responsibility,” said Armstrong. “It’s not an impratical dream. It’s a necessity for our survival. We have to treat people, whoever they are, with respect.”

Armstrong also lifted up the collaborative nature of the work of the Charter for Compassion, and highlighted the partnership between the Charter and CPWR, particularly the integration of the Charter with the work of the Council’s Partner Cities Network

“This is the task of our time…to make the compassionate voice of religion, spirituality, morality a clear, luminous, and dynamic force in our troubled world.”

Karen Armstrong Urges Compassion After 9/11

From The Huffington Post

The anniversary of 9/11 reminds us why we need the Charter for Compassion. It should be an annual summons to compassionate action. The need is especially apparent this year. In the United States, we have witnessed an upsurge of anti-Muslim feeling that violates the core values of that nation. The controversy surrounding the community centre near Ground Zero, planned by our dear friends Imam Feisal Rauf and Daisy Khan (who were among the earliest supporters and partners of the Charter) has inspired rhetoric that shames us all. And now we have the prospect of the Quran burning proposed by a Christian pastor, who seems to have forgotten that Jesus taught his followers to love those they regard as enemies, to respond to evil with good, and to turn the other cheek when attacked, and who died forgiving his executioners.

If we want to preserve our humanity, we must make the compassionate voice of religion and morality a vibrant and dynamic force in our polarised world. We can no longer afford the barbarism of hatred, contempt and disgust. At the same time as we are so perilously divided, we are drawn together electronically, economically and politically more closely than ever before. A Quran burning, whenever it is held (it appears to have been delayed for questionable reasons by the pastor behind it), would endanger American troops in Afghanistan and send shock waves of distress throughout the Muslim world. In an age when, increasingly, small groups will have powers of destruction that were previously the preserve only of the nation-state, respect and compassion are now crucial for our very survival. We have to learn to make a place for the other in our minds and hearts; any ideology that inspires hatred, exclusion and division is failing the test of our time. Hatred breeds more hatred, violence more violence. It is time to break this vicious cycle.

Click here to read the entire article.

Charter for Compassion Recognized at Australian Parliament

Senators

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Danielle Lauren and Senator Ursula Stephens

From J-Wire

Jewish community social activist, Danielle Lauren, organised a historic recognition ceremony for the Charter for Compassion at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday.

The ceremony was the first time that the Charter had been recognised in a Parliament anywhere in the world and included representatives from the Government and Opposition, Indigenous community, diplomats, NGOs, religious and youth leaders. The Canberra Jewish community was represented by Bill Arnold and Rabbi Dan Avital.

The Charter for Compassion is a document and worldwide movement that supports the golden rule “To treat others like you would wish to be treated.” Advocates of the Charter include HH The Dalai Lama and Richard Branson. The Charter is a TED.com initiative, inspired by world renowned religious historian, Karen Armstrong and the result of contributions from people from over 100 countries.

Danielle Lauren, the host of the ceremony and Australian Ambassador for the Charter, said “This event was a wonderful opportunity to spread the principle of compassion to our leaders and help make Australia a more compassionate society for all.” Danielle gave a call to action for her campaign to get 100,000 handwritten signatures in Australia to support the Charter.

Click here to read the entire article.

Desmond Tutu Video on PeaceNext and YouTube

From a recent e-mail sent to all members of PeaceNext.org,

Dear PeaceNext friend,

We’d like to thank you for strengthening the interfaith movement through your
presence on PeaceNext. We are happy to share the release of Desmond Tutu’s 2014 Parliament Bid address – made first available here to our PeaceNext community.tutu-screenshot

Now on to the video… on May 20, Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared an inspiring message with the 2014 Parliament Bid Teams. He addressed the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the 1999 Cape Town Parliament and also recognized the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative’s celebration of the official launch of the Charter for Compassion in South Africa. To begin the celebration, Karen Armstrong, a featured speaker of the 2009 Parliament also delivered a compelling message. Representatives from the Bid Cities, now narrowed down to Brussels, Belgium; Dallas, Texas, U.S.A; and Guadalajara, Mexico, were in attendance at the Chicago viewing along with friends and Council Trustees.

Click here to watch the video. The video is also being featured on PeaceNext‘s main page.