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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

February 2019
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Speeches

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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As the world turns, so do world organizations and more so the United Nations. At this point there are ominous signs that the very future of the United Nations is at stake. There is no guarantee that it will survive or make it safely through this transition, since nowhere is it written that the United Nations, as we know it, is destined to succeed. It was, after all, only the second such experiment in recent history and need not be the last. That is why the challenge facing us today is so urgent and why we the people must summon every resolve and mobilize the will necessary to make this turn a turn for the better.

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The peace council idea introduces novelty and creativity in the search for peace with a fundamental base in religious convictions. The challenge ahead remains the integration or affiliation of this council with the UN system; the modicum or modalities may not be found today, but the effort must continue.

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Prebble notes that until recently he would have questioned, “what has religion to do with the UN?” However, having survived two religiously-motivated assassinations attempts, he maintains, “unless we have an interreligious council at the UN, we cannot even start to talk, and until you are able to talk, you have no chance of peace.”

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Through a joint initiative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the government of Austria, the General Assembly adopted a historic resolution in May 2001 calling for the protection and preservation of religious sites all over the world.

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We all know that parents are their children’s first teachers. This includes teaching children about good character. The family is the veritable crucible of character.

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I tried to make connections, linkages between peace and the questions of environment around the world because there are many threats to our survival on the planet. They affect all the countries, all the nations, and this can create a common cause to unite us against those threats. In the meeting of the Universal Peace Federation, I tried to emphasize the importance of a new awareness of those environmental problems, such as the melting down of the poles, the greenhouse effect, rising sea levels, the destruction of ecosystems in different countries, the pollution of the seas, that break the food chain as a consequence.

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I have participated in this week’s conference imbued with a Caribbean perspective. It is most important that the Caribbean region be recognized for what it is worth. The individual states, from Belize in Central America through Jamaica in the north to Suriname in the south may be small individually, but collectively we have significant and influential capabilities.

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