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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

November 2018
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Speeches

Yusuf holds that “religious education, the main medium of religious culturalization, carries upon itself the decisive task of instilling the values of peace." He urges religious educators to “adopt a civilizational viewpoint toward the cumulative religious experience of humanity.”

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There is a story that the leaders of two nations, one a fundamentalist theocracy the other a military dictatorship, visited God to find out when the turbulence in their countries would end and their peoples would be at peace. To the theocrat’s question, “Almighty, when will the troubles of my people end?” God answered, “Not in your lifetime.” It was the turn, next, of the military dictator to ask the same question. To him God answered: “Not in my lifetime.”

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Anderson argues that various forms of religious and secular henotheism “are divisive sources of violence” and profiles “three main roles for religion in the world that transcend culture and doctrine.” He describes alternative scenarios for “an ecumenical body or world religious leaders” to interface with the UN.

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In the fall of 2000, the General Assembly, as part of the commemoration of the new millennium, convened the largest ever gathering of the world’s spiritual leaders, who, among other things, made recommendations on issues of human security and the eradication of poverty as a matter of priority for people of all faiths all over the world.

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Reyes offers “a legal opinion and perspective on the establishment in the United Nations organization of an interreligious council.” He reviews the UN Charter provisions, procedures for resolutions and potential obstacles as well as opportunities.

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Terasawa argues that humanity has “not been able to find a way out of the vicious cycle of escalating violence” because state actors and international organizations, including the UN, “maintain that the way to halt conflict is through military operations.” He states that “Religion should work to change this delusion in which the whole international community is now involved.”

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Braybrooke asks whether there is “a distinctive contribution that the faiths have to make to public debate.” He suggests that faith communities have particular responsibility “to hold aloft a vision of the God-given dignity and value of each person,” challenge injustice, offer forgiveness, provide for reconciliation, and foster compassion.

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De Venecia reports on the background and progress of the Philippine proposal. He highlights the support of Philippine President Arroyo, U.S. President George Bush, and others.

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I feel that it is of very great importance that an interreligious council is perceived as and proves to be a counterbalancing force of extremism. Today in many parts of the world religion is being used as an excuse for violence and intolerance.

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Grabus notes, “Interreligious meetings are being held in many places around the world” but contends current efforts “have not been enough.” He calls for support for an interreligious council at the UN.

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One current concern is the proposal of an interreligious council in the United Nations. However, there must be clarity in the main aims of the proposal. This will help in convincing those concerned to support the proposal. Why has the United Nations, after more than fifty years, failed to achieve the main aims behind its establishment? Mainly, as I understand it, because the United Nations relates to governments, not to the real masses who form the nations. If the United Nations wants to implement this proposal, it should go to the grass roots of the masses and deal with them and make them participants in achieving their aims.

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There is an intrinsic complementarily between the efforts of people and the efforts of the governments. Within the intergovernmental structure which is the United Nations, we should introduce a dimension that is missing—the spiritual and human dimension.

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