Next week URI Europe will have its interfaith assembly in
from October 27 to 31, 2010.
An inspiring group of people from
almost 20 countries will come together. It will surely be an energizing
event that will move the interfaith movement in Europe forward.
Please include this gathering
in your thoughts and prayers and bless it with your spiritual
Enjoy the articles and news from our
Upcoming URI Europe Assembly in Istanbul, October 27-31,
warm greetings to you!
We are working hard to make the
URI Europe Assembly happen in Istanbul from October 27 to 31,
There will be a beautiful group of people, and it will surely
be an inspiring gathering. Below you will find information that I just
sent to a media contact in Turkey.
Please keep us
and this gathering in your prayers. Thank
URI EUROPE ASSEMBLY "WALKING THE TALK -
BRINGING INTERFAITH ACTION TO EACH TOWN IN EUROPE"
ISTANBUL, OCTOBER 27-31, 2010
Europe (United Religions Initiative Europe) will hold its 7th Regional
Assembly from October 27 to 31, 2010, in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference title is
"Walking the talk - bringing interfaith action to each town in Europe".
Approximately 55 participants will
come from 17 countries all across Europe, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and the United
URI Youth Ambassadors and
special guests will come from Australia, Lebanon, Morocco, the UAE and the
belong to a variety of religions and worldviews and have a passion for
interfaith cooperation for peace, justice and healing.
particularly important at a time of economic difficulty, where in many
European countries easy judgments and the stigmatisation or exclusion of
whole groups are on the rise.
In response to this situation, URI's
interfaith circles are working on a daily basis to promote respect,
friendship, mutual understanding and community cohesion.
URI is so
pleased to be graciously welcomed in Istanbul, a city that bridges the
continents and is a European Cultural Capital 2010.
will include the creation of an action plan for promoting interfaith work
across Europe. As URI aims to expand its
network and deepen the impact of its work, special training on how to
create and carry out new interfaith activities will be
United Religions Initiative (URI) is a global interfaith
network of over 450 interfaith Cooperation Circles in 75 countries on all
continents. It has consultancy status at the United Nations (UN) with
representatives at UN headquarters in New
York and at the UN in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was founded in
2000, when the URI Charter was launched in Pittsburgh. URI Europe is registered in
URI 10th Anniversary and UN IDP Celebration in
September 25, 2010
On 24th and 27th September 2010, the URI
Europe board met in Barcelona (Catalonia/Spain), graciously hosted by
Elisabeth and the UNESCOCAT/AUDIR CC. It was a very successful meeting,
- board meetings with strategic planning, planning for
the URI Europe Assembly in Istanbul at the end of October,
lunch meeting with the Catalonian network of interfaith organisations,
coordinated by UNESCOCAT/AUDIR,
- the URI 10th Anniversary and UN IDP
(International Day of Peace) celebration by UNESCOCAT and URI
The URI 10th Anniversary and UN IDP celebration took place
at a public library in the centre of Barcelona with a beautiful view of
tropical garden scenery. About 150 people participated, with people
standing as there was not enough room for them all, despite the fact that
it was a special holiday weekend.
interfaith choir sang wonderful songs from different faith
Several people gave short speeches:
- Felix Marti,
Founder and Former President of UNESCOCAT, who signed the URI Charter in
- Nathalie Reverdin, President of AUDIR, who participated in a
Latin American URI Assembly,
- Karimah Stauch, Kiran Bali, Martin
Gurvich and Sheikh Bashir for URI Europe.
Francesc Torradeflot led the programme.
He first participated in URI at the URI Europe Assembly in Budapest, Hungary
Europe awarded UNESCOCAT/AUDIR a certificate of recognition for their
excellent work for peace, justice and healing.
We are deeply
grateful to ELISABETH LHEURE and UNESCOCAT/AUDIR, whose hospitality was
Activities of URI Co-operation
Finland's Golden Rule Award 2010
2010 Golden Rule Award, Kultainen sääntö- palkinto, has been awarded to
Finland's President Tarja
Halonen. President Halonen has meritoriously contributed to the dialogue
between cultures and religions in Finland as well as
President Halonen convened the leaders of the so-called
Abrahamic Faiths after the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks. Finnish
religious leaders have been meeting regularly on the President's
initiative since 2001.
Among other things President Tarja Halonen
has also given her strong support to the work of The Alliance of
Civilizations Forum. The two main aims of this dialogue project, which was
started at the government level of Spain and Turkey, are to improve the
strained relations between the Western and Muslim worlds and to strengthen
the multilateral international system.
"President Tarja Halonen has
brought up the question of gender in her speeches and has thus reminded
world leaders to consider the importance of the status of women in
dialogue processes. Recognizing the role of women also expresses
remarkable respect to grassroots activity. Women around the world do
tremendous work for common good in their communities," says Heidi
Rautionmaa, Finland’s Interfaith Dialogue
Network Coordinator. Rautionmaa adds that if we really want to build good
social cohesion in our increasingly multicultural communities, society's
support of grassroots interfaith dialogue activities is needed
The Golden Rule Award was presented by the Interfaith
Dialogue Network, which consists of the Forum of Religions and Convictions
of Helsinki CC of The United Religions Initiative (URI), Religions for
Peace Suomen naisverkosto (Religions for Peace Women of Faith Network in
Finland), Kaupunki yhteisönä
ry. and international Uskot ilman rajoja (Faiths Without Borders). The
Network works in fellowship with the Parliament of the World's Religions,
which has named Helsinki as one of its Cities of
Professor Emeritus Reijo E. Heinonen, who was awarded the
Golden Rule Award last year, sees the Award as a drop in the ocean of
awakening global ethical awareness. He received the Golden Rule Award for
his engagement of promoting Global Ethic.
Prize will be awarded during Interfaith Dialogue Week, on the United
Nations International Day of Peace, September 21st. The hope is that all
wars and conflicts will cease for Peace Day, and citizens are urged to
work for peace and justice.
The Golden Rule, after which the prize
has been named, calls on people to treat others as they would like to be
Read this article on the
Bond zonder Naam featured on URI's Real People Real Stories
Real Change online fundraising campaign
Bond zonder Naam (BzN) was featured on URI's Real
People Real Stories Real Change online fundraising campaign. The
importance of steaching living values to children is so important and
deserves broad replication.
Imagine a world where children are tought to think not only
of themselves when making choices, but also of the impact of those choices
on others and the world as a whole. In 2006, looking for an innovative
solution to violence and other challenges faced by schools, Bond zonder
Naam Cooperation Circle in Belgium worked with seven schools to pilot the
Living Values Education Program (LVE), involving whole school communities
in learning positive values and building cultures of respect. Developed by
an international community of educators in 1997, the curriculum had had
enormous success in reducing conflict and dropout rates in schools around
the world. BzN has trained 700 educators since the start of the program
and inspired other schools in Belgium to take it on.
Read this article on the internet
Social Forum in Finland
Heidi Rautionmaa (Forum of Religions in Helsinki CC)
The Social Forum in
Finland took place from
24th to 25th April 2010, in Helsinki at Arbis. The NGO Living
together in Cities/ Kaupunki yhteisönä ry organized an interfaith seminar
in co- operation with The Forum of Religions in Helsinki, URI and The Ecumenical Working Group in
People of several religions talked about how religions are seen/ unseen in
the city. Panelists gave their opinions about discussions of religious
symbols, customs, buildings, minarets etc. Also, the Charter of Compassion
was introduced to the participants. The new interfaith group Religions for
Peace Finnish Women of Faith Network was present. This seminar was also a
side event in the partnership programme of the Parliament of the World´s
Women in dialogue in a
article about women in dialogue and the Forum of Religions (Paula and
Heidi) was published in the Finnish newspaper “Kirkkojakaupunki”. There is
a picture of both women on the cover of this paper, which was taken in
Heidi and Paula are surrounded by the heart of leaves. The
title on the cover is: “The sisters of faith”. The picture and the article
(on page 12f. in Finnish) can be found at: http://www.kirkkojakaupunki.fi/nakoislehti/2010/kirkko-kaupunki-22/primapaper/1
New interfaith group from Hungary plans to join
Govardhana das, currently a URI Supporting Member, has informed
us that the interfaith group from Hungary, to which he belongs, decided to be
part of URI Europe and to register as a CC in Budapest. The website
of this interfaith group can be found at: http://www.vallaskoziparbeszed.hu and their blog is at: http://vapata.blogspot.com They participate in regular interfaith events and meet
every month. They have Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baha'i, Muslim, Jewish,
Brahma Kumaris and Krishna (Hindu)
members, occasionally Buddhist also.
URI Affiliate participates in a gastronomic intercultural
dialogue and shares the peace message on stage
by Tatomir Ion-Marius (URI Affiliate, Member of URI
World Peace Prayer Society, Representative for Romania and Hungary
Global Harmony Board Member)
annual international event "Kulturen bitten zu Tisch" took place on 17th
June 2010 at Vienna’s Sigmund Freud Park, with the participation of people
from 19 nations (Argentina, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Greece, India,
Israel, Jordan, Croatia, Cuba, La Reunion, Mongolia, Montenegro, Portugal,
Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Turkey, and Hungary). Each of these
nations had a tent with meals and products specific to their countries,
and maps and different things for the attending people. On a stage nearby,
traditional dances and songs were performed by dancers and singers from
different countries. Every year about 4,000 people attend this gastronomic
intercultural dialogue. Also, there is tremendous coverage by the press
and television stations. The main organizer of this event was the World
Public Forum, an international peace
Contents of this edition:
*Upcoming URI Europe Assembly in Istanbul, October 27-31,
*URI 10th Anniversary and UN IDP Celebration in Barcelona,
Activities of URI Co-operation
*Finland's Golden Rule Award 2010
zonder Naam featured on URI's Real Stories Real Change online fundraising
*Social Forum in Finland
*Women in dialogue in Finnish newspaper
interfaith group from Hungary plans to join URI
*URI Affiliate participates in a gastronomic intercultural
dialogue and shares the peace message on stage
*Interfaith Toolkit book for educators to be
Interreligious Prayer in Dortmund, Germany
*Symposium "I make the difference - difference in education" -
Steering Commitee CC, Netherlands
*Events organized by the Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield,
URI Europe Homepage
Plans and Activities
European Interfaith CC News
Global Interfaith News
a Co-operation Circle
URI Europe Executive
Sheikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz,
Louis Mentens, Belgium
Deepak Naik, United Kingdom
Karimah Stauch, Germany
European Co-operation Circles (CCs):
* URI Europe
* Bond zonder Naam CC,
* Convictions en dialogue CC, Septon
* VPiD (Vlaams
Partnership voor Interlevensbeschouwelijke Dialoog - Flemish Partnership
for Inter Religious Dialogue)
* Balkan as a Soul-Bridge CC,
* UNESCOCAT - Centre UNESCO de
Catalunya / AUDIR - Associació UNESCO per al Diàleg
* URI Aarhus CC,
* Forum of Religions in Turku CC, Turku
* Religious Forum in Helsinki, Helsinki
Circle of Helsinki CC, Helsinki
* Pacific Teams CC / PISEF,
* German Muslim-League Bonn CC
DMLBonn CC, Bonn
Unitheum CC, Bad
* URI Berlin CC, Berlin
URI Germany CC,
Building Real Interfaith Dialogue through
Glocal Encounters (BRIDGE), Rome
* Interfaith Dialogue Utrecht CC, Utrecht
* Steering Committe URI the Netherlands,
* SNTL - Procesbegeleidersgroep Samenwerkingsverband
Women’s Group IJsselstroom Zwolle and surroundings, Zwolle
* URI Romania -
Int'l Ecumenical Center CC, Bukarest
Religions for Humanity CC, Moscow
* Center for Peace and Dialogue
of Cultures, Dushanbe
Society for Intercultural Research and Frienship (SIRF), Ankara
* Ahimsa for Quality of Life CC,
* Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield
* Minorities of Europe CC, Coventry
URI-UK CC, Keswick,
I attended this
event and while looking at the tents, each displaying the flag and country
name, I had an idea to ask the organisers of this event to allow me to
invite people to join in saying “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in their
native languages. I was fortunate to find a way to speak personally with
Mr. Walter Schwimmer, president of the international committee of
coordination of the World Public Forum, a very kind, peace loving person.
I introduced myself and told him that I was representing the World Peace
Prayer Society and briefly explained its mission, the spreading of “May
Peace Prevail on Earth”, the Peace Poles Project, and that we have
Representative at the UN. And I asked him for permission to invite people
to join in saying May Peace Prevail on Earth. He agreed and was very kind.
I was very touched and drank a glass of water before going on the stage. I
think there were between 700 and 800 persons in the park at that moment.
When my name was announced I greeted the people in English and asked them
to join in saying “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in their native languages.
Then I said MPPOE in German, English, Romanian, Hungarian, Spanish,
Indonesian, Hebrew, Arabic and Italian. I am glad, that I was able to
share the Peace Message in Wien during this event. May Peace
Prevail on Earth, in Harmony and Unity!
Interfaith Toolkit book for educators to be
(Forum of Religions in Helsinki
am happy to announce that the first Toolkitbook of Interfaith in the
Finnish language is on its way to be published.
several articles written by educators, teachers, youth workers from
several faiths and spiritual traditions and also there are some training
lessons/workshops for practical use in this book.
The name of the
book is “Interfaith dialogue - educating to the intercultural
I served as the editor and you can just
imagine how many photos taken during these 10 years of my interfaith
work are in this book.
The book contains many beautiful
pictures, it has a very fresh and bright outlook. Raisa Suuronen, the
graphic designer has done a great job. There are also some photos taken by
her. She is a professional photographer and a follower of Mother
The cover of the book is very beautiful. I see
it as a picture about friendship and the walk that is taken together. My
younger daughter´s hand is on the cover.
person who contributed an artickle to this book is around 85 years and the
youngest writers are Paula´s and my daughters, Mina and Tarina, who
are 15 and 14 years old.
The grand old lady who wrote about
peace education is the humanist Helena Kekkonen who received the first
UNESCO peace award in the 1980s.
This book will be
presented to the President of Finland as well when we meet her. President
Tarja Halonen gave a speech before the panel discussion in New York, at the
seminar organized by the Clinton Foundation. Amongst other topics she
spoke about the importance of educating teachers.
agree: education is the key.
15th Interreligious Prayer in Dortmund, Germany
14th September, 2010, the 15th Interreligious Prayer was held in
Ari von Buuren (Chair of The Steering Committee URI the Netherlands) and
Leo Lebendig participated amongst others in this interfaith prayer.This
year’s celebration of the interfaith prayer in Dortmund has been combined
with the twin project “The light of peace of the religions”, in which Leo
Lebendig and Ari van Buuren were involved. It was this project that
provided inspiration to hold the 15th interfaith prayer in the city hall of
Dortmund. Being an
interfaith project, it inspired the idea of combining it with the
interreligious prayer of Dortmund. All the Abrahamic faiths –
Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Baha’i – were represented in the prayer.
Due to this cooperation the interfaith prayer thematically included the
meaning of light and the use of the light symbol in the religions.
from the different scriptures were given in this context.
The interreligious prayer has always been a prayer for
peace: for peaceful and just coexistence, for people of different faith
living together in peace all over the world.
Symposium "I make the difference - difference in education" -
Steering Committee CC, Netherlands
By Bart ten Broek
(Steering Committee URI
"I make the
difference - difference in education"
The above is the
title of a symposium, held on 17th April in Soest in the Netherlands.
The Conference was organized by five different
movements for religious freedom, peace and dialogue. One of them was the
CC Steering Committee of the Netherlands.
It is important to say, that the cooperation between
the organizations is getting much stronger and they present themselves
also more cohesively in Dutch society.
Several speakers explained how you can contribute from
your inner inspiration to good social development, especially in
Bart ten Broek of URI spoke about interreligious
education and (world)citizenship!
He has had the great experience of directing a
Christian primary school, which turned into an interreligious school where
Muslim and Christian parents sat on the board. Now he is the president of
a foundation: WijDeWereldschool (Wide(we)TheWorldschool).This foundation
presents a certificate to schools that show how they apply an integrated
model of interreligious education, citizenship and working with heart,
head and hands.
Rita Ramrooching spoke about how “Top Teachings”(her
concept) can come into existence, when in education-innovation you create
more time for rest, room and religion (spirituality).
Mijke Jetten of Radboud University Nijmegen is
searching for the effects of the interreligious dialogue. Is this “Sense
. The Hindu pandit Sewnath offered very amazing and
practical philosophical thoughts.
Anneke Tan (URI) did social work in the interreligious
school in Ede (Netherlands). It is very
important to build a good relationship with the parents about innovations
at the school.
Wil van Meeber, president of the Foundation Oecumenical
Women group is studying differences in power between men and women in the
religions and how this affects education. How can we work on change in the
It was beautiful symposium with many interesting
stories and examples and very inspiring throughout!
Events organized by the Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield, UK
Interfaith celebration of British Indian
Many thanks to the coordination and photographs to Kiran Bali,
coordinator of Faith2Faith CC.
We thank you for your interest, participation
and for your
good work for peace, justice and
URI Europe Co-ordinator
and the URI Europe Executive
Kiran Bali, United
Sheikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz, Germany