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Religion in Public Life Discussion with Tony Blair, Charles Moore and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Tony Blair, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Charles Moore (from left to right).

from The Tony Blair Faith Foundation

What part should religion play in democratic society? How should democracy respond to the challenges – and protect the positive impact – that faith can bring?

The excitement in the air was palpable as three of the most dynamic figures in Britain took the stage to address these and many more questions about the role of religion in public life yesterday at the Central Hall Westminster in front of a packed house of 450 guests.

Highlights from the event with Tony Blair, Archbishop Rowan Williams and former Telegraph editor Charles Moore, included enthusiastic debate around the protection of religious minorities and free speech, contributions of faith communities to the global society, and confessions about how the media views religion.

Click here to watch the full discussion

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s: 2011-2012 Faiths Act Fellowship

Photography credit to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

The 2011-2012 Faith Acts Fellows

from The Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Those who seek to cause religious conflict are small in number but highly motivated, organized and funded. While there are billions of people who are engaged in their own faith tradition, many have not yet learned how to live or work together well with those of different traditions.

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation decided to tackle this challenge through organising a year-long Fellowship that brought together young people of different faiths to work toward better interfaith action. The Foundation selected 33 outstanding future leaders, who between July 2011 and June 2012, worked in interfaith pairs around the world.  They built understanding between different religious communities by mobilising them around the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular around malaria prevention.

The Fellows represented a diverse cross section of the faith traditions: 11 were Christian, 10 Muslim, 5 Jewish, 3 Hindu, 2 Buddhist, 1 Baha’i, 1 Sikh and 1 Quaker. Thirty of the Fellows were placed in multi-faith pairs in Canada, India, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Click here to read full article 

Why Inter-Faith Understanding Is More Important Than Ever in Leadership

Former Prime Minister of Britain and founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Tony Blair. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation promotes respect and understanding between the major religions and makes the case for faith as a force for good in the modern world. Faith is vitally important to hundreds of millions of people. But religious faith can also be used to divide. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is a response to these opportunities and challenges. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

by Tony Blair
from the Huffington Post

The Alpha Leadership conference taking place today in London is a reminder that despite all the negative news about religion, a different face of faith is visible and real the world over. The Alpha course on leadership, which was begun under Nicky Gumbel of the Holy Trinity Church in London, has been taken by 18 million people world-wide and is all about spreading a gospel of compassion and service to others. A similar message is given out from the remarkable Rick Warren’s church in Southern California where his congregation now numbers in excess of 100,000 people and his global reach extends to every nation on earth.

But such work is not confined to the Christian religion. There are extraordinary Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist organisations that do great work and show selfless sacrifice in some of the poorest and most forgotten parts of the world. 40% of the healthcare in Africa is delivered by Faith groups, notably the Catholic Church.

When we began the Tony Blair Faith Foundation four years ago, there was a lot of scepticism as to whether there really was any interest in inter-faith understanding. Weren’t religion and religious people bound to be introspective and uninterested in the faith of others? Today we are active in 20 countries, thousands of people take part in our programmes and we have volunteers in over 140 nations. The truth is that the numbers of people who have Faith is growing, such growth is not at all limited to the developing world and it is simply impossible to comprehend politics in certain parts of the world – e.g. the Middle East – without comprehending the importance of Faith.

Click here to read the full article

Religious and Spiritual Leaders Reflect on 9/11

Beyond 9/11 to a Broader View of the World by Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Healing, Hope and Humanity: A Sikh Reflection by Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia

It Is Time to Invoke Historys Other 9/11 of Nonviolence and Global Interfaith Dialogue by Anju Bhargava

9/11: Ten Years On by Eboo Patel

From Memory to Hope by Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson

Lessons from the Kaddish a Decade Later by Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen

WATCH: The Future Of Christian-Muslim Relations In The West

For A More Unified, Understanding New York by Georgette Bennett, Ph.D.

Did 9/11 Make Us Morally Better? by Miroslav Volf

Hate and Hope by Serene Jones

Reaching for Hope After 9/11 — Together by The Interfaith Amigos

WATCH: Finding Hope And Healing At Ground Zero

The Sukkah and the World Trade Center by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

An Opportunity For Reflection by Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori

Our post-9/11 failures by Desmond Tutu

Unite through compassion by Karen Armstrong

Remaking the world after 9/11 by Tony Blair

Radical Islam on its way out by Feisal Abdul Rauf

9/11 demands intellectual honesty by Sam Harris

Rebuilding our souls by Thomas Monson

Spirituality after the attack by T.D. Jakes

Peace begins internally by Donald Wuerl

Live the memorial by Katharine Jefferts Schori

Death and the hope of resurrection by Mark Driscoll

Divided world, divided hearts by Deepak Chopra

We grasped our brokenness anew by David Wolpe

Americans still dont know Islam by Yasir Qadhi

A prayer for America by Sally Quinn

From Ground Zero to the State Dept by Suzan Cook

10 Years Later, We Must Do Better by Rabbi Michael M. Cohen

Faith in the Philippines

by Tony Blair

The Philippines is in many ways the perfect place to explore the complexities surrounding the relationship between faith and globalization, both past and present.

As a society deeply influenced historically by Spanish, Indonesian, Malaysian and indigenous cultures, the Philippines finds itself in the 21st century occupying a delicate and profoundly important role in both Asian and Western trade and foreign affairs. I am therefore pleased to announce that the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has just established a deep and extensive partnership in the Philippines: a schools initiative to make inter-faith dialogue a part of social education, a program presently in 17 other nations; and a consortium of universities that will join the global Faith and Globalization course that was begun at Yale in the USA and is now in 8 countries round the world.

The Philippines is a great place to exchange such ideas. It is a fascinating country on the move, facing big challenges but with enormous possibility which it is starting to fulfill. It has a new president with a strong mandate and the determination and capability to succeed and a people behind him willing him on. It is a nation of 100 million, situated in the middle of the rising East, with resources, culture and beauty to shape its future. Its people are hard-working and smart. Its poverty remains real, but so is its potential.

Click here to read the full article

An Interview with Tony Blair on Interfaith Dialogue

From The Huffington Post

In a recent interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, we discussed his attendance at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative held earlier this year, the work of his Faith Foundation, and the importance of understanding religion in a rapidly globalizing world.

Rahim Kanani: While your Faith Foundation’s primary goal is to promote and foster understanding amongst the world’s major religions, and the Face to Faith initiative you’ve described focuses on secondary school students engaging in interfaith and intercultural understanding, what is the role of colleges and universities in tackling interfaith education? Should such instruction be required learning in such a setting?

Tony Blair: My Foundation believes that young people have a pivotal role to play in building a harmonious modern world. After all, they are tomorrow’s leaders. It is therefore vital for students to have a firm grasp on the relationship between faith and globalization. So as well as a schools program my Foundation also has a universities program – the Faith and Globalization Initiative.

Seven universities around the world are currently part of the network: Yale University in the USA, The National University of Singapore, The University of Western Australia, Technologico de Monterrey University in Mexico, McGill University in Canada, Peking University in China and Durham University in the UK. The Faith and Globalization students who are drawn from a huge range of disciplines including international relations, law, theology, economics and business studies are examining the impact of religious faith on politics, business, society, and development in an increasingly globalized society. The focus here is on making the research findings from the university network accessible, meaningful and relevant to policymakers through publications, conferences and policy papers.

Each university customises the course to suit their local contexts and explores aspects of globalization which are particularly relevant to them, for example the key themes in Religions in the Contemporary World at the National University of Singapore are Religion and Technology, Urban Religiosity and Merchandising Religion which reflects the importance of technology in Singapore’s rapidly expanding economy.

Click here to read the entire article.