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Parliament United Nations Task Force Forms to Enhance Relations, MDGs

Flags flying high at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Credit: UN Photo/Joao Araujo Pinto

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is dedicating a new task force to move forward since becoming a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) associated to the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN-DPI) in late 2013.

The newly-formed The United Nations Task Force of the Parliament is now meeting to explore ways that the Parliament can collaborate with other NGOs to carry forward its mission, and to more fully integrate the Millennium Development Goals into its work overall.

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees, is encouraged by the potential of this new Parliament initiative stating,

 

The Parliament has high expectation in developing a deeper relationship with the United Nations since it is one of the important guiding institutions for humanity. The Parliament’s UN Task Force is just a first step in the right direction. We are also looking forward to working with other interfaith organizations at the UN to enhance our desire to have better Intra-Interfaith cooperation.

 

Excited for the work ahead, the Parliament announces those comprising the United Nations Task Force of the Parliament of the World’s Religions are:

Dr. Kusumita Pedersen: Co-Chair of the Parliament UN Task Force, Board Trustee
Rev. Dr. Anne Benvenuti: Co-Chair of the Parliament UN Task Force, Parliament Representative to the United Nations, Board Trustee
Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski: Parliament Representative to the United Nations, Board Trustee
Rev. Phyllis Curott: Parliament Representative to the United Nations, Board Trustee
Ms. Sara Rahim: Parliament Youth Representative to the United Nations, St. Louis University Student
Mr. Tahil Sharma: Parliament Youth Representative to the United Nations, University of LaVerne Student
Dr. Aisha al-Adawiya: Founder and Chair of Women in Islam
Mr. Naresh Jain, Parliament Trustee Emeritus, Founding Member of Educare
Ms. Kay Lindahl, Parliament Ambassador Advisory Council Member
Dr. Mary Nelson (Ex-Officio), Parliament Executive Director
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid (Ex-Officio), Chair of the Board of Trustees, Parliament of the World’s Religions

Dr. Kusumita Pedersen reflects that “between all its members, this task force has many years of varied experience of work in the NGO world connected to the UN.”

The Parliament supports the DPI in its aim of widening public knowledge of the UN, so watch this space for items about the UN and its multi-faceted work, and look forward to getting to know each of the Parliament Task Force members in the months ahead through profiles in our newsletter, features on Facebook, and activity reports.

Most recently, the Parliament Women’s Task Force was co-host of a parallel event to the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women which was held March 3 – 15. On March 11,the gathering in New York City joined spirits world-wide for Remembering the Sacred Heart of Your Activism: An Evening of Prayer, Reflection and Inspiration convened by organizers Women of Spirit and Faith, Gather the Women Global Matrix, Millionth Circle, We Are Enough and United Religions Initiative, and more.

The Parliament as always shares a deep commitment to cooperation and commitment toward a just, peaceful, and sustainable world, and is gearing to offer many more opportunities to enhance work on these critical goals as 2014 continues.

The Power of Women as Agents of Peace

Rosalee Laws

Via Rosalee Laws for Women’s History Month , Parliament of the World’s Religions Ambassador 

I have had the pleasure of witnessing many women and women’s groups involved at all stages of peace work, from prevention to resolution. When I define peace work I mean it in a broad sense, not just the absence of war, but living honorably, dying in peace, having basic human needs met, and post conflict resolutions.

Amid 39 active conflicts over the last 10 years, few women have actually been at the table of peace negotiations. Out of 585 peace treaties drafted over the last two decades, only 16 percent contain specific references to women. Furthermore, around the world 1 in 3 women are subject to “non peaceful” or violent situations, including sexual and physical abuses.

Since it is quite obvious that women are very affected by “non-peaceful” situations, and they are 50 percent of this world’s population, isn’t it quite obvious they are a critical voice in the building of peace?

Inequality in Leadership Roles

It is time for women to come out of the shadows at the podium of peace.

It goes without saying, men tend to dominate the formal roles in the current peace-building process. Male peacekeepers, male peace negotiators, male politicians, and male formal leaders all take the spotlight. Power is unequally distributed between men and women and the majority of women do not have a voice in any local or national decision making processes. Such inequalities cause formal peacebuilding activities and policies to suffer from insufficient understanding of the diverse communities in which they are representing. Not including women in decisions making processes towards peace often means that female concerns are not addressed. Experiences and insights of both men and women during conflict and peace need to be represented in order to encapsulate all dimensions for holistic solutions.

The landscape of women’s participation has experienced significant change mostly in the area of awareness. All of us, men and women alike, have gender roles firmly embedded within us. The more we all try to pretend they do not exist, the less conscious we are of our own behaviors that promote inequality. Discussion of these issues openly is a first step to dealing with them and getting more women involved in the process of peace.

Getting Out Of Our Own Way

An effective message by female peacemakers overcomes conflict by refusing to kill the child of another mother.

Many women’s groups that are advocating their participation are siloed in existence to their peers. Most of the groups that exist have great broad ideas with lack of tactical implementation skills. Many current women’s movements and formal policies do not have established mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the progress of their work. Even at the international level, it is very upsetting to see how programs and policies lack in operational guidance, program implementation, data monitoring and evaluation, knowledge and resources. There is also a huge gap in knowledge for most organizations on how to harness technology resources such as social media that have the influence to mobilize millions all over the world in minutes.

The Women’s Leadership Ambition Gap

A bigger part of the problem is not just allowing women to come to the table, it is that women often themselves de-value their role as peacebuilders. So many women, despite their amazing achievements, feel like impostors and do not necessarily recognize the important roles they can play in both building peace and as leaders. Women need to recognize that within themselves they have attributes, valuable insights, and experiences, that NO ONE else has. Women embody the maternal gifts as caregivers, focus on the family, and resolving violence without conflict. Women of faith, in particular, are well suited for participation in peace efforts. They transmit peace values over generations and are already promoting critical values to the world.

What Would Big Change Look Like?

Big changes would happen if we first, could ensure that women play a key role in the design and implementation of peacebuilding activities and give them a confidence to do so. Second, we need to support and strengthen the already established women’s organizations that are currently working in their peacebuilding efforts. Finally, systems need to be established for enforcing and monitoring all efforts on a global scale.Women have such untapped potential to be effective participants, key-decision makers and beneficiaries of peace.

They must unravel the potential that exists within themselves to create a more peaceful world. Discovering their own voices. Find the courage to step up. There is a place for all women at the podium for peace.

Rosalee Laws, Ambassador, Parliament of the World’s Religions

 

Rosalee Laws is the CEO of R.O.S.E. a company that offers online development programs to business owners and organizational leaders. A passion for interfaith work that stems over a decade, Ambassador for the Parliament of World Religions and Founder of “women leadership” on reddit and the invite only “women in leadership” group on Linkedin. Rosalee has had experience in over 29 industries some of which include, working with the Secretary General at Religions for Peace, with United Nations entities, Disney Films, and the Associated Press. You can find out more on rosaleelaws.com.

 

 

Resources / Supplementary Information

The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) (S.2982, HR. 4594). Amnesty International Issue Brief No. 2. March 2010.

United Nations Security Council, “Resolution 1325 Women Peace and Security,” (2000).

Posa, Swanee Hunt and Cristina, “Women Waging Peace,” Foreign Policy, no. 124 (2001): 38-47.

Anju Chhetri, “Women’s Intervention in the Peace Processes,” Nepal Samacharpatra, August 29, 2006.

UNIFEM, “Securing the Peace: Guiding the International Community Towards Women’s Effective Participation Throughout Peace Processes,” edited by Camille Pampell Conaway Klara Banaszak, Anne Marie Goetz, Aina Iiyambo and Maha Muna (New York: UNIFEM, 2005),

United Nations, Women Peace and Security (2002)

Lisa Laplante, “Women as Political Participants: Psychosocial Postconflict Recovery in Peru,” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, v. 13 no. 3 (2007).

Jackie Kirk, “Promoting a Gender-Just Peace: The Roles of Women Teachers in Peacebuilding and Reconstruction,” Gender and Development 12, no. 3 (2004):

Madeline Storck , “The Role of Social Media in Political Mobilisation:a Case Study of the January 2011 Egyptian Uprising” 20 December 2011.

Report of the Secretary-General on Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding (A/65/354–S/2010/466)

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/audio/2014/feb/20/women-movements-force-for-change-podcast

Tahil Sharma and Sara Rahim to Represent Parliament at United Nations-DPI Youth Body

The Parliament of the World’s Religions was honored by receiving outstanding applications to represent us at the Youth Representative program of the United Nations DPI-NGO body for 2014. As the UN works to implement its post Millennium Development Goals agenda, these young leaders stand to implement action aligned to the Parliament’s mission of creating a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

We are pleased to announce the representatives selected are Ms. Sara Rahim and Mr. Tahil Sharma.

  • Sara Rahim

    Ms. Sara Rahim, will complete a double major in Public Health and International Studies from Saint Louis University this year. Sara’s passion for social justice expands to global health, interfaith, and refugee/migration issues. She has studied Arabic in Egypt, offered healthcare in Honduras, and spent a semester in Morocco, where she conducted a study on access to healthcare for undocumented sub-Saharan migrants. She later returned to Morocco to work with grassroots NGOs that focus on sub-Saharan female migrants’ health. On campus, Sara has spearheaded the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge for the past two years, while organizing student interfaith programming. Off campus, Sara has interned at Interfaith Youth Core coaching students to be leaders of interfaith action, and she has worked in refugee resettlement at World Relief. In the future, Sara would like to pursue a career in global health and international development, with a focus on communities in conflict, and she hopes to use interfaith as a tool towards sustainable development. 

Sara reflects, “Throughout my undergraduate experience, interfaith has always been a tool to build bridges across diverse traditions and to mobilize my community towards action. In the future, I hope to continue to work with communities in conflict towards building those bridges and improving access to areas such as health and education. Being able to represent the Parliament at the UN will allow me to live my mission on a national platform and engage with like-minded leaders towards building a global ethic.”

Tahil Sharma

  • Mr. Tahil Sharma, a senior who will complete his B.A. in International Studies and Languages at LaVerne University in California.

Tahil Sharma is working to obtain his Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish, with emphases in Japanese and International Studies at the University of La Verne in Southern California. Serving as an interfaith activist for numerous years, he is currently employed as the Coordinator for the Center for Sikh Studies at Claremont Lincoln University, under the Claremont School of Theology. His work in peace and community service has named him a Newman Civic Fellow for working with local communities on issues related to discrimination and prejudice, as well as issues of food insecurity.

Tahil reflects, “getting the chance to go to the United Nations means that I can take part in changing the way diplomacy and foreign relations are dealt with in our day and age. The context of culture and religion play such significant roles in our society that not recognizing and respecting them would create misnomers for the identity of numerous people. Declaring the value and necessity of inter-religious amity and cooperation would mean informing and bring the world together for the greater good of humanity.”

Congratulations to Tahil Sharma, Sara Rahim, and to the next generation of interfaith leaders who are rapidly advancing the interfaith movement beyond limits.

Interfaith Young Adult Challenge Now Accepting North America-Based Applicants | Deadline To Compete For Parliament UN Delegate Status Soon

Last year’s speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly on the state of educational inequality around the world brought Malala Yousafzai even closer to the hearts of global citizens, as many youth in the world’s most democratic nations were shaken to realize the urgent needs for revolutionizing change is in many different regions of the world. As United Nations initiatives act to diminish the disparities which exist, we count on them to make real human rights status quo for all.  As the Parliament steps into the NGO community at the United Nations, we are ready to share and expand our platform with the emerging leaders of today who will live out the vision of a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Because Malala is busy, the Parliament is asking young adults possessing the poise and guts necessary to stand up for this vision. Parliament Delegates to the United Nations will be believers in the principles of a global ethic, who aspire to working across faith-based and secular lines to achieve positive social change. These interfaith savvy young adults must be between the ages of 18 – 24, living in the North America. Applications should be received by February 12, 2014.

How to Apply to the 2014 Interfaith Young Adult Challenge 

A contest to become a Youth Representative of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions at the United Nations

Is it your dream to become a diplomat? Do you have both the poise and guts necessary to stand up for peace, justice, and sustainability in our world? Do you believe in the principles of a global ethic? Do you believe that faith-based and secular partnerships can achieve positive social change?

If this sounds like you, an interfaith savvy young adult between the ages of 18 – 24, living in the North America, The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions would like to hear from YOU.

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the global organization which traces its roots back to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions and the birth of the modern interfaith movement, invites you to apply for our most elite young adult opportunity yet.

Two young adults will be selected to become the 2014 Parliament of the World’s Religions Youth Delegates at the United Nations through the United Nations Department of Public Information NGO body.

This contest is open to all young adults living in the North America aged 18 through 24.*

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is a member-NGO of the United Nations Department of Public Information, which represents over 1,500 NGOs at the United Nations. The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions retains access to open sessions of the United Nations (such as the one where Malala Yousafzai blew the minds of every world leader in her 2013 speech on the human rights of women and girls to be educated safely and equally), in addition to weekly briefings for the NGO community of the UN DPI,  general-access observer groundspasses, and an invitation to attend an annual NGO conference at the United Nations slated to be held summer 2014.

Selected delegates will be required to:

  • Connect with the Parliament via Skype or in person for one-hour orientation on our United Nations goals.

  • Visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City at least once in 2014

  • Report to the Parliament on your experience

Selected delegates will self-finance their travel-related expenses to attend the United Nations  in New York City, but will receive counsel and fundraising support from the Parliament of the World’s Religions, as well as opportunities to apply for Parliament sponsorship for first time United Nations visit.

Parliament of the World’s Religions Youth Delegates to the United Nations (DPI-NGOs) can have:

To Apply:

Visit the website of the Parliament (www.parliamentofreligions.org) and familiarize yourself with the Parliament mission, history, and programs, as well as study up on our “Resources” by reading the introductions to An Initial Declaration Towards a  Global Ethic, and the A Call to Our Guiding Institutions.

Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/parliamentofreligions and become familiar with our social content and worldview.

Your application will include:

  • your resume listing all educational and leadership experience, your full name, date of birth, and residential address

  • a cover letter

  • in 750 words or less, a reflection answering the following questions:

  1. After learning more about the Parliament of the World’s Religions, why do you want to represent this organization at the United Nations in 2014? How do you see this experience benefiting your future, and advancing the Parliament mission?

  1. What is your experience/interest in the United Nations, interfaith, and/or international relations?

  • A letter of support from a non-related reference of your choosing.

Optional Alternative: Send us your resume/cover letter, and a link to a video, 5 minutes maximum, answering to the application questions. Outstanding finalists may see their video shared on our Parliament of the World’s Religions Facebook page.  Video and print applications will receive equal consideration by the Parliament selection committee.

 Applications must be e-mailed by 11:59 p.m. Central Standard time on Wednesday, February 12 to:

 

 stephen@parliamentofreligions.org and molly@parliamentofreligions.org with the subject “My Interfaith Young Adult Challenge Application”

Finalists will be interviewed via Skype or phone.

Winners will be notified by phone with offer of Youth Representative credentials to the United Nations Department of Public Information.  

Winning delegates will be announced on February 18.

*Family members of Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions staff and Board of Trustees are not eligible for this competition. Applicants must be aged 18 by May 1, 2014, and must not turn 25 before November 30, 2014.

DOWNLOAD PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD’s RELIGIONS INTERFAITH YOUNG ADULT CHALLENGE UNITED NATIONS DELEGATE CONTEST INFORMATION PACKET.

Parliament Asks Young Adults: Want to Become a Delegate to the United Nations? CONTEST STARTS IMMEDIATELY!

2014 Interfaith Young Adult Challenge 

A contest to become a Youth Representative of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions at the United Nations

Is it your dream to become a diplomat? Do you have both the poise and guts necessary to stand up for peace, justice, and sustainability in our world? Do you believe in the principles of a global ethic? Do you believe that faith-based and secular partnerships can achieve positive social change?

If this sounds like you, an interfaith savvy young adult between the ages of 18 – 24, living in the United States, The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions would like to hear from YOU.

On January 24, 2014, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the global organization which traces its roots back to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions and the birth of the modern interfaith movement, invites you to apply for our most elite young adult opportunity yet.

Two young adults will be selected to become the 2014 Parliament of the World’s Religions Youth Delegates at the United Nations through the United Nations Department of Public Information NGO body.

This contest is open to all young adults living in the United States aged 18 through 24.*

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is a member-NGO of the United Nations Department of Public Information, which represents over 1,500 NGOs at the United Nations. The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions retains access to open sessions of the United Nations (such as the one where Malala Yousafzai blew the minds of every world leader in her 2013 speech on the human rights of women and girls to be educated safely and equally), in addition to weekly briefings for the NGO community of the UN DPI,  general-access observer groundspasses, and an invitation to attend an annual NGO conference at the United Nations slated to be held summer 2014.

Selected delegates will be required to:

  • Connect with the Parliament via Skype or in person for one-hour orientation on our United Nations goals.

  • Visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City at least once in 2014

  • Report to the Parliament on your experience

Selected delegates will self-finance their travel-related expenses to attend the United Nations  in New York City, but will receive counsel and fundraising support from the Parliament of the World’s Religions, as well as opportunities to apply for Parliament sponsorship for first time United Nations visit.

Parliament of the World’s Religions Youth Delegates to the United Nations (DPI-NGOs) can have:

To Apply:

Visit the website of the Parliament (www.parliamentofreligions.org) and familiarize yourself with the Parliament mission, history, and programs, as well as study up on our “Resources” by reading the introductions to An Initial Declaration Towards a  Global Ethic, and the A Call to Our Guiding Institutions.

Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/parliamentofreligions and become familiar with our social content and worldview.

Your application will include:

  • your resume listing all educational and leadership experience, your full name, date of birth, and residential address

  • a cover letter

  • in 750 words or less, a reflection answering the following questions:

  1. After learning more about the Parliament of the World’s Religions, why do you want to represent this organization at the United Nations in 2014? How do you see this experience benefiting your future, and advancing the Parliament mission?

  1. What is your experience/interest in the United Nations, interfaith, and/or international relations?

  • A letter of support from a non-related reference of your choosing.

Optional Alternative: Send us your resume/cover letter, and a link to a video, 5 minutes maximum, answering to the application questions. Outstanding finalists may see their video shared on our Parliament of the World’s Religions Facebook page.  Video and print applications will receive equal consideration by the Parliament selection committee.

 Applications must be e-mailed by 11:59 p.m. Central Standard time on Wednesday, February 12 to:

 

 stephen@parliamentofreligions.org and molly@parliamentofreligions.org with the subject “My Interfaith Young Adult Challenge Application”

Finalists will be interviewed via Skype or phone.

Winners will be notified by phone with offer of Youth Representative credentials to the United Nations Department of Public Information.  

Winning delegates will be announced on February 18.

*Family members of Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions staff and Board of Trustees are not eligible for this competition. Applicants must be aged 18 by May 1, 2014, and must not turn 25 before November 30, 2014.

DOWNLOAD PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD’s RELIGIONS INTERFAITH YOUNG ADULT CHALLENGE UNITED NATIONS DELEGATE CONTEST INFORMATION PACKET.

$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).

Join Parliament Women’s Task Force In Standing With Malala

WOMEN’S TASK FORCE IS STANDING WITH MALALA. WILL YOU?

Via WalkFree.Org and A World At School

Every young person should have the opportunity to learn, but that’s not currently the reality for over 57 million out-of-school children around the world. We know that when children do not have the chance to get an education, conditions are ripe for modern slavery. Instead of going to school, they are forced to work in the streets, fields or mines.

Last October, people across the globe united to send thoughts of hope and love to a brave young girl fighting for her life in Pakistan.

The Pakistani Taliban tried to assassinate Malala Yousafzai because of her strong voice in the fight for women’s rights and youth education. Their gunmen boarded her school bus and shot her in front of her peers — but Malala survived and she hasn’t stopped fighting.

Over the past two weeks, the basic right to education has been under attack around the world – from the school shootings in Nigeria to Pakistan, where 14 young female students were massacred as their bus taking them home from university was blown up by extremist militants. We were once again reminded of the continued need to stand behind Malala and her cause.

On July 12 – less than a year after she was attacked – Malala will mark her 16th birthday by speaking at the UN. She’ll be delivering, to the highest leadership of the UN, a set of education demands written for youth, by youth.

Join us in uniting for Malala – and for girls’ education — once again. 

Sign the letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledging your support to her cause.

Parliament Women’s Task Force Takes On Gender Violence At United Nations

by Kathe Schaaf
Women’s Task Force, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

Kathe Schaffe, Parliament Women’s Task Force/Women of Spirit and Faith at the United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women on theme of Religion, Culture, and Violence Against Women

The Women’s Task Force was represented as more than 6,000 women from around the world converged on the United Nations headquarters in New York  for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women March 4-15. More than 100 workshops and panels anchored by grassroots women and NGOs explored this year’s theme, eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls.

The Women’s Task Force of CPWR hosted several events, including a panel of women exploring this challenging topic from diverse religious perspectives. “Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women” was attended by more than 50 women and featured  Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune, Founder and Senior Analyst of FaithTrust Institute along with Rabbi Diana S. Gerson, Program Director  of the New York Board of Rabbis, and Salma Elkadi Abugideiri, who anchors the Peaceful Families project for the Muslim community.

Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune encouraged attendees to support the National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women which is posted online:

 

We proclaim with one voice as national spiritual and religious leaders

that violence against women exists in all communities, including our own, and

is morally, spiritually and universally intolerable.

We acknowledge that our sacred texts, traditions and values have too often been

misused to perpetuate and condone abuse.

We commit ourselves to working toward the day when all women

will be safe and abuse will be no more.

We draw upon our healing texts and practices to help

make our families and societies whole.

Our religious and spiritual traditions compel us to work for justice and the eradication of

violence against women.

We call upon people of all religious and spiritual traditions to join us.

 

 

The Women’s Task Force also co-hosted an intergenerational circle workshop “Women as Spiritual Leaders: Transforming Violence” with Women of Spirit and Faith and a Sacred Circle in collaboration with numerous other women’s organizationswho have been bringing grassroots women’s circles to the UN for nearly a decade.

Many of the women at UN-CSW this year were wearing blue buttons in support of a 5th World Conference on Women to connect and energize the many networks of grassroots women worldwide.

 

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.

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