Interfaith Harmony Week Commemorated in Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland - UPF and the Women's Federation for World Peace organized a meeting in Warsaw on February 4 for representatives of different religions under the motto From religious tolerance to acceptance and working together to build world peace.

The meeting in the Warsaw Peace Embassy lasted about five hours. The first part was a presentation by Krzysztof Gago, president of UPF-Poland, who spoke on the topic: The philosophy and goals of UPF and WFWP interreligious activities.

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After a short break there was a presentation by lawyer Błażej Filipowicz on the topic: The basic liberties and human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, and in the holy scriptures and teachings of many religions.

The presentation gave a broad perspective about the development of the notion of human right in the course of history starting from ancient times. Błażej Filipowicz pointed out that the major religions have always stressed the necessity to treat all human beings with respect, whereas in the secular realm the notion of human rights appeared first in US Declaration of Independence in the 18th century. He presented and compared the content of the main ancient and contemporary documents regarding human rights.

After a short break there was a guided discussion led by Aleksandra Skonieczna, president of the Polish chapter of the Women's Federation for World Peace. Participants sat in two circles: an inner circle and an outer circle, and pairs were formed consisting of one person from the inner circle and one person from the outer circle. Aleksandra Skonieczna formulated questions which were to be discussed in pairs for about three or four minutes. After discussing each question people in the outer circle moved over one seat, so that each question could be discussed with a different partner. Examples of the questions included: What is the purpose of human life? Do you believe that God exists? Do you believe in life after death?

People engaged earnestly in these short discussions. At the end of the meeting participants formed a big circle, and some people presented their reflections about the meeting or expressed their feelings about the topics mentioned in the presentations and discussions.

All in all, it was a very fruitful meeting; it made people think about certain crucial issues in their life of faith. The guests were deeply moved by the atmosphere and the possibility to express their thoughts, doubts, and hopes in an atmosphere of cooperation between different religions.

For more information about World Interfaith Harmony Week, click here.

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