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Interfaith Programs

Consultation in Geneva on Proposed Interreligious Council

Geneva, Switzerland - UPF-Switzerland convened a consultation /brainstorming session on a proposed interreligious council at the UN with some very knowledgeable and concerned Ambassadors for Peace and new participants on August 11 at the Peace Embassy.

Participants included religious leaders, diplomats, and theologians/academics. Their enthusiasm was greater than expected, and issues and concerns were clarified.

In preparation for the General Assembly in September, UPF extended an invitation for a small gathering of concerned and knowledgeable friends to share some thoughts together about the ongoing efforts to establish an “Interreligious Council” as an organ of the United Nations. Many steps have already been taken within the UN system, but the process has been slower than hoped and UPF invites recommendations might help the process along.  For background information, see the UPF website:( http://www.upf.org/united-nations/interreligious-council )

This meeting was a small but broad-based group including the voices of government, religion, academia, and faith-based NGOs. Issues addressed included:

  • What steps must be taken toward making this vision a reality?
  • What should be the core mission of this council?
  • How should the council be structured?
  • How should the council be positioned within the current UN structure?
  • How can we better coordinate our efforts to build a stronger momentum?

Speakers did not voice doubts about the need for an interreligious council as a spiritual guide or conscience, and "upper house" for the United Nations. What needs clarifying is a clear model of its function and place. These consultations are being convened to help prepare working papers with recommendations that can be used to lobby diplomats and governments.

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