The Parliament Blog

Archive for the ‘partner cities network’ tag

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.”

Golden Rule Award to President Tarja Halonen of Finland

By Heidi Rautionmaa, Ambassador to CPWR

The 2010 Golden Rule Award (Kultainen sääntö -palkinto) has been awarded to Finland’s President Tarja Halonen. President Halonen has meritoriously contributed to the dialogue between cultures and religions in Finland as well as internationally.

President Halonen convened the leaders of the Abrahamic Faiths after the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks. Finnish religious leaders have been meeting regularly on the President’s initiative since the year 2001.

Among other things President Tarja Halonen has also given her strong support to the work of The Alliance of Civilizations Forum. The two main aims of this dialogue project, which was started at the government level of Spain and Turkey, are to improve the strained relations between the Western and Muslim worlds and to strengthen the multilateral international system.

“President Tarja Halonen has brought up the question of gender in her speeches and has thus reminded leaders of the world to consider the importance of the status of women in dialogue processes. Recognizing the role of women also expresses remarkable respect to grassroots activity. Women around the world do tremendous work for common good in their communities”, says Heidi Rautionmaa, Finland’s Interfaith Dialogue Network Coordinator. Rautionmaa continues by saying that if we really want to build good social cohesion in our increasingly multicultural communities, society’s support of grassroots interfaith dialogue activities is needed today.

The Golden Rule Award was awarded by the Interfaith Dialogue Network, which consists of Helsinki Religious Forum of The United Religions Initiative (URI), Religions for Peace Suomen naisverkosto (Religions for Peace Women of Faith Network in Finland), Kaupunki yhteisönä ry. and international Uskot ilman rajoja (Faiths Without Borders). The Network works in fellowship with Parliament of the World’s Religions, which has named Helsinki as one of its Cities of Peace.

Professor Emeritus Reijo E. Heinonen, who was awarded the Golden Rule Award last year, sees the Award as a drop in the ocean awakening global ethical awareness. The Prize will be awarded during Interfaith Dialogue Week, on the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21st. All wars and conflicts are hoped to cease for Peace Day and citizens are urged to work for peace and justice. The Golden Rule, after which the prize has been named, calls on people to treat others as they would like to be treated.

Partner Cities to Co-Sponsor PeaceWeek




September 14-21, 2010

Chicago, IL – September 1, 2010 – The Partner Cities Network of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, invites you to be a part of PeaceWeek, a global telesummit for building a culture of peace. A co-production of The Shift Network and The Peace Alliance, PeaceWeek will be held in conjunction with the UN International Day of Peace on September 21. This conference will feature over 50 leading international peacebuilders, pioneers, and innovators, and offer opportunities for participants to learn and dialogue with each other.

A celebration and exploration of all peace-seeking efforts, both individual and collective, PeaceWeek will unite peace leaders from around the world together for the largest virtual peace summit ever formed. The featured participants will address such issues as personal peace practices, global hotspots, social justice, and the economics of peace. The event will also host a Peace Day Council with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers on a mission of peace.

To register for the summit and join the global movement of peace pioneers, please visit Registrants will be able to participate for free in an unlimited number of live discussions and receive free access to the full library of event recordings.

The Partner Cities Network is also proud to partner with Odyssey Networks in “A Million Minutes for Peace” campaign. Our goal is to collect one million pledges to pray for peace for one minute at noon on the UN International Day of Peace. Please watch the 60-second video, and join us by pledging your prayer for peace.


The Partner Cities Network seeks to build and connect the interreligious movement worldwide. It serves to create a global dynamic that will bind cities together and facilitates the sharing of best practices to inspire opportunities for cooperative action among cities:

Interfaith relationships deepen in Silicon Valley

by D. Andrew Kille

This week we have seen some significant steps taken to strengthen the relationships among the diverse religious communities of Silicon Valley.

For the past several months, two Faiths Act Fellows, Tim Brauhn and Hafsa Arain, have been stationed in San Jose to help build a network of students interested in cooperative efforts of service to address global poverty. Sponsored by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core, Tim and Hafsa have been working with students up and down the Peninsula to join together in working to eradicate malaria.

As their term of service comes to an end, they have sponsored meetings in San Francisco earlier this month and again this last Monday, May 10, in San Jose, to report on their efforts and to lay a groundwork for continuing after they go. In the time they have been in this area, they have held fourteen gatherings, have gathered a “Hub” team of 25 people, and have built groups at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, and Stanford.

Also this week, over forty people representing a wide range of religious and community organizations met at the South Bay Islamic Association center in San Jose and resolved to take the necessary steps toward building a multifaith organization that would enable the religious communities of the South Bay to take a more visible and active role in service to the wider community, engagement with governmental and educational institutions, and stronger relationships with one another in building a peaceable environment for all.

The new organization would take on the functions of Silicon Valley’s status as a member of the Partner City Network of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Click here to read the full article

Belgium, USA & Mexico To Bid For PWR 2014


The 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions may still be fresh in our memories, but planning for the 2014 Parliament of the World’s Religions is already well underway. Recently, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) announced the three participating bid cities as Brussels, Belgium; Dallas, Texas, USA; and Guadalajara, Mexico. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada will be present throughout the bidding process to audit.

All three cities’ Bid Teams participated in a Partnership Conference in Chicago, Illinois from May 16-20, 2010. At the Partnership Conference, the bid cities were briefed on the CPWR’s requirements for the site selection process and the Parliament event. The actual statistical and financial information from the 2009 Parliament in Melbourne, Australia was also made available to the bid cities who have to submit their final written proposal to the Council by August 1, 2010. After reviewing the proposals and conducting host site visits, the CPWR will make its final selection for the 2014 host city in March 2011. The 2014 host city will be publicly announced in October 2011.

After all of the technicalities of the Partnership Conference were over, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu treated the bid cities to a special address on May 20, 2010 via a live video stream from Cape Town, South Africa. In his address, Archbishop Tutu welcomed the cities to the bidding process and articulated the positive impact hosting the Parliament can have in making their city more inclusive and tolerant. The address marked South Africa’s 10th anniversary of hosting the 1999 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Archbishop Tutu’s address took place as part of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative’s 10th anniversary celebration, which included the launch of Karen Armstrong’s Charter For Compassion in South Africa. Armstrong, who was a featured speaker at the 2009 Parliament, also addressed the Partnership Conference via a pre-recorded video from Cape Town.

Click here to read the full article

San Jose: The First Partner City

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is proud to announce that the San Jose has been selected as the Inaugural City for the Partner City Network.  San Jose joins the ranks of legacy Partner Cities Chicago, Cape Town, Barcelona, Monterrey, and Melbourne who have each hosted or will host the Parliament of Religions.

To learn more about the Partner Cities Network, click here.

A World of Possibilities

The Parliament of Religions is an intentionally international event. Including Melbourne 2009, the event will have been hosted on four continents, and the Parliament brings together religious adherents from dozens of different faith traditions.  It makes sense that our registrants would be equally diverse.

The registration analysis isn’t complete, but we have already confirmed attendance from over sixty different nations.  From Malaysia to Canada, from Zimbabwe to Iran, from Nepal to Guatemala and of course Australia, the Parliament has found its way across the breadth and width of the world.  This is seen in a variety of programming, from our many Pre-Parliament Events to the Partner Cities Network.

As our registration increases, the world grows closer and closer.

The world will come together in Melbourne this December.

We hope to see you there!