Dialogue Letter once again brings you beautiful interfaith stories from
URI's global network, which has now over 500 interfaith
Cooperation Circles in almost 80 countries worldwide. May their stories
inspire you and give you joy.
Join us! You can join URI's global interfaith community for peace,
justice and healing by registering your own interfaith circle: you simply
need a minimum of 7 people from 3 or more religions or spiritual traditions, who
work in line with the interfaith peace ideals of the URI Charter. Join
us - you will find an international community: enrich us and be
Good wishes and enjoy!
Europe welcomes a new CC: Stichting Interreligieus Beraad Segbroek
With great joy we announce that a new Cooperation Circles has joined the
URI Europe family. A very warm welcome to Stichting
Interreligieus Beraad Segbroek in The Hague, The Netherlands. The URI
Europe family now consists of 36 CCs in 15 countries. Please
find more information about this new CC as well as about Euro-Asia CC
(Novisbirsk, Siberia, Russia), which had been welcomed in the last URI
Europe Dialogue Letter and has joined URI Europe in April 2011.
Interreligieus Beraad, The Hague, The Netherlands
purpose of the Stichting Interreligieus Beraad CC is to contribute and
enhance peaceful coexistence in the multicultural and multi-religious
district of Segbroek (The Hague, The Netherlands) as well as to contribute
to contribute to and to enhance the liveability and the cosmopolitanism of
this district. Activities include amongst others the organisation of theme
meetings and participation in projects with other social institutions, such
as a project to prevent and fight poverty.
approval date:July 13th, 2011
Christians of protestant denominations and Roman Catholics, Muslims, Hindus
and in the immediate future Buddhists.
We are currently preparing a presentation of our CC in order to present the
IBS during a meeting for which we wish to invite other CC’s from The
Netherlands and hopefully CC’s from the rest of Europe. We have organized
two theme meetings for the residents of Segbroek. The themes “the
resumption of the IBS” and “No discrimation, but communication” were
discussed by several speakers and celebrated with music and cabaret. Apart
from this, we are currently participating in a project to fight and prevent
poverty. Along with several other social institutions, we cooperate in a
project to help find and support “the poor man” in our district.
purpose of the Euro-Asia CC is to encourage people of our region to unite in
the name of the common good, to promote interfaith cooperation between the
people of all different creeds, different cultures and social status and to
share with the people of the world with our Siberian heritage and to learn
more about the heritage of other nations.
approval date: April 6th, 2011
Christianity, Theosophy, Altai syoks: Todosh, Teleut, Tubal
, Altai white shaman, Russian Kazaks, Russian Vedas etc.
DESCRIPTION OF CC’S
At the time of application for membership in URI, our activities consisted
mostly of sh
ing information about URI and the ideas of what we can do together and ideas
regarding organization (of events or the CC). Generally Russian and Siberian
society is now less united than 20 years ago. The CC members like the idea of connecting with a global network,
where people promote different events/goals, and we
are at the same time united in the same purpose of peace, justice and healing.
are interested in reaffirming the traditional Siberian roots – the
indigenous culture - which is a uniting and healing force.
On March 20, 2011, we had a founding, organizational meeting. After the meeting we
joined in a celebration for the
spring equinox. Some group members have already been active in dealing with
issues of peace justice and healing in their own way for a long time. Some
members work with pensioners (the elderly), some with invalids, and some
teach children. The group would like to share the wisdom of the indigenous people of
. We have a lot of resource material and have already sent some of it for
publication in newsletters and on websites. We would also like to learn from people
around the world.
people from Europe participate in URI conference in Morocco
annual URI-MENA regional assembly opened in Rabat, Morocco on June 22,
bringing together 50 delegates from around the Middle East and Europe to
talk about the role of interfaith cooperation in immigrants' integration.
The conference addresses an issue that has considerable cross-over between
the two regions, focusing on the challenges faced by migrants both within
the Middle East and Europe and from the Middle East to Europe. It is being
put on in partnership with ATNL MOROCCO/Comité Pilotage de Réseau
Marocain, in cooperation with URI Europe, Iris Women CC of Jordan, Tineret
Buzau 2007-Romania, and leading NGOs specialised in migrants and minorities
issues in Europe and the MENA region. It was co-funded by the Anna Lindh
Foundation. Also present at the conference were several 2011 URI Youth
Ambassadors, who attended a URI youth leadership training, also in Rabat, on
Consciousness through Action for Peace Conference in Romania
Consciousness through Action for Peace Conference in Romania (Apa/Baia
Mare, Romania, 5.-12. August 2011)
35 participants came together in Baia Mare, Romania, for a youth conference
with the topic “European Consciousness through Action for Peace”.
were youth - mainly between 15 and 25, but also a few younger and older
participants - from Romania, Switzerland, Germany, UK and Hungary.
programme included: icebreakers, expectations, ground rules; presentations
of the partner organizations; sessions on identity in Europe today and about
spirituality; several workshops on peace and conflict resolution; a session
about reconciliation; open space programmes; an introduction to spiritual
activism; a session about youth networking; action planning; evaluations;
and study visits to the town and region.
the plans generated for follow-up actions were the following:
project for Romanian-Roma friendship; volunteer help for cleaning up nature;
actions for helping orphans; a project for spreading positive news via
Facebook; activities for finding volunteers to support existing interfaith
handbook with tools for Peace Action will be produced and disseminated.
organizations were: “Children for Children - Children for Peace”,
Romania; “Zentrum der Einheit Schweibenalp”, Switzerland; “Magyarszágért
Európában Egyesület”, Hungary; URI UK, United Kingdom and URI Germany,
Germany. The programme was financed through the EU youth in action
programme. URI Europe also gave a small financial contribution.
cooperation was a result of the URI Europe Assembly 2010 in Istanbul.
to URI Romania International Ecumenical Centre, Bucharest, Romania, August
13-14, 2011, I was able to visit the URI CC in Bucharest “URI Romania -
International Ecumenical Centre”.
Ruta who had been at the URI Europe Assembly in Istanbul 2010 and his wife
Slavia were my hosts and welcomed me warmly, as did all CC members whom we
contact person for this CC is father Alexandru Stan. Father Alexandru is
very well connected through his work for many years as a professor of world
religions and theology in Bucharest and Targoviste. Besides being a priest
and a professor he has translated various works, including works on world
religions, into Romanian language. His library includes many important and
members of CC include Marcela Ghilubenghian who has created the foundation
“Sacred Treasure for Religions” (see http://www.sacredtreasure.org -
including activity reports) and Ms. Anca Mihail.
and his wife Slavia plan to found an additional URI CC in the near future
and we discussed possibilities to do that.
the time in Bucharest, Silviu, Slavia and Anca took me to the International
Ecumenical Centre. This was founded by Dr. Ion Popescu in cooperation with
father Alexandru and others. A piece of land in Vulcana-Bai (about 1,5 hours
from Bucharest) is dedicated to this center. Visionaries have - on the same
ground in this valley - built a church, a mosque and a synagogue. It also
includes space for offices and for a hotel/conference place. Due to lack of
funding for running cost the building activities currently rest, but are
planned to continue for the future. This can be an interesting project for
an investor, because there are natural springs containing iodine and sulfur
which can be used for medical treatment and spas. The church is in operation
and being taken care of by a priest and monk, who has started building the
hotel next door.
Activities of URI Co-operation Circles
Golden Rule Tour
Lone Klemmenson, Coordinator for
URI Aarhus CC and member of the URI golden rule CC
Europe Golden Rule tour with
Mussie Hailu and Lone Klemmensen finally got on its way this year, and
started on the 14th of March and ended the 28th of March.
events in different countries had been arranged with most events in
Denmark. However, only URI Aarhus CC got involved in this project despite
the hope to bring the URI CC´s in Europe together in a joint project.
an unforseen circumstance forced Mussie Hailu to return to Etiopia almost as
soon as he arrived in Denmark, so most of the events were cancelled.
started the tour in Syddjurs free school teaching grade 8 and 9 in the
golden rule and how to apply it in daily life. Grade 7 joined us when we
watched the Canadian Golden rule film.
a break, the whole school of 173 children were gathered for a talk. The
children expressed great hope and many wishes that Mussie Hailu could bring
to the African children that he meets.
support of other local organizations, the school children of the Syddjurs
Free School are aware of some living conditions that other children live
under in different parts of the world. The school supports a local Danish
women who is part of the “100% to Children” organization which supports
children that live in a dumping ground in Kenya by enabling them to go to
school and provide medical treatment for the whole community.
Hailu said that he was very inspired and had been given hope for world peace from
his meeting with the children.
the afternoon we taught the grade 6 students in a more interactive way,
where they produced role plays on the golden rule and drawings.
the evening we did a public talk at the local language school for adults and
organic farming school. We spoke on the golden rule and URI. We showed the
URI film “We Unite”. A loud cheer could be heard from the crowd when the
situation in Kerela, India was mentioned. Some of the language school
students came from India and they were very happy that URI in Kerela is
trying to solve the situation.
combination of the global peace effect via Mussie Hailu and the inner peace
effect via Lone Klemmensen was very powerful and inspiring for all. It was
good to test it out, so that when we go on our next Europe Golden Rule tour in 2012 (most likely in April), we will be
better aware of each other’s strengths and how to implement our vision.
were some extremely tough organisational lessons on this tour that we have
the coming month we will ask the members of the URI golden rule CC to start
taking a more active role. A website for the URI golden rule CC will be
created so members are able to find each other in their area, so they are
able to get together and work actively for the golden rule.
klemmensen is now the secondary contact of the URI golden rule CC and can be
reached on email@example.com.
the 28th of March I was invited to attend a golden rule event in Sweden.
There were several high-level religious leaders from different religions
giving their versions of the golden rule along with performances of
beautiful cello music, African dances, infinite tai chi and drums. I
gave a lecture on the golden rule and URI. The response was incredible. I
had expected the formation of one URI CC but during the interfaith dinner I
learned 4 URI CC´s are on their way to apply for membership both from
Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark.
I could not have had a better birthday; a
day with purpose, peace, laughter, joy, universal love, unity and the beauty
and universal light from the artists.
blessings to you all and may you all celebrate the golden rule day. This
could be just being kind to a stranger or one in your family.
peace prevail on earth.
Coordinator in Pakistan visiting Finland and Sweden
James Channan, URI Coordinator in Pakistan and a Dominican, has visited
Finland and Sweden for 12 days, from March 31st – April 12th
in order to attend the Social Forum and to give some lectures at
universities there. The theme of the lectures at universities and at the
social forum were also linked to the dialogue in Pakistan that Fr. James
promotes as a URI person.
Father James is a Pakistani Christian and Catholic priest, the head of the
Dominican Order in Pakistan. At present, he is also serving as Director of
the Peace Center in Lahore, a Catholic establishment of the Dominican Order
in Pakistan. He is the Regional Coordinator of the United Religions
Initiative Pakistan region. Pope John Paul II appointed him as Consultant
for the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, at the Vatican from
1985-1995, and later on Pope John Paul appointed him as a Consultant to the
Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims from 2000-2005. His aim in
life is to promote peace, social harmony and dialogue among believers of
others, Father James met people at the SENSUS and at the interfaith center
of the church of Sweden in Stockholm and visited the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission and The Parish Union of Helsinki, which
is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. People
were very interested in hearing about the situation in Pakistan and
positively amazed about the dialogue activities that have taken place by
Father James and URI Pakistan.
and friends have arranged the visit. Congratulations to Heidi Rautionmaa for
her good work. And gratitude to the URI CC Forum of Religions and
Convictions in Helsinki which is coordinated by Lars Silén.
Fr. James Channan, Imam Hassan Fathollahpoor, Paula
Kemell and Heidi Rautionmaa
Näätänen with his mystic choir and Lars Silen with his folk music band
joined the event in Helsinki
the Spring Equinox
Galina Ermolina, Euro-Asia CC
recently Russian Orthodox Church and all the Christians celebrated
“Thousands Anniversary” of Christianity in Russia. In the Soviet time,
churches functioned in big cities; with the coming of Perestroyka the
situation came to it’s extreme, I would say. It is good that more churches
were opened and more people started to think of God. What happened is that
some members of authorities, who used to say “no God” only a few years
ago, suddenly became “God believers”. With new times we got diversity in
faith, which is very good, of course, if only priests wouldn’t proclaim
that the only way to God is through Christianity.
Russia had a great faith, a kind of
paganism, long, long before Christianity, so the church didn’t manage to
completely destroy the old faith, traditions and ways. We had Vedas of our
own, thousands of years ago. The Church had to adjust somehow Christian ways
and traditions with the pagan ones. That’s why some celebrations are a
mixture of both.
Novosibirsk we have a unique Museum, the only one in the world -The Sun
Museum (it’s story is quite interesting) and here, along with other
Holidays the people celebrate four Equinox of the Year.
me tell you about the last one- the Spring Equinox which took place on March
Before the beginning of the celebration
we, CC “Northern Asia”, as applicants to URI had our first Organizing
meeting in the Museum, and after that we joined the celebration, which took
place in the main hall with the walls covered with Sun images of all the
nations and civilizations. Musicians played “bilo”-a unique old metal
bell made in the form of a plate, according to the ancient Russian
tradition. Then we heard Tibetan gong, Altaian kamuz and Russian songs.
After a short story about the ancient religion ways all the people went out
to the yard to sing old songs and watch the Fire, burning Morana-an image of
winter, made of straws and cotton. It is always a great fun for all the
present people, old and young, for normally about a hundred people come to
celebrations like this.
Morana burnt down, we were invited to have tea together.
For further recent activities of the Euro-Asia CC, please visit the
Events organized by the
Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield, UK
(leading theme: hospitality and welcoming those who are seeking
sanctuary in the community)
for social cohesion
The event helped to foster friendships and a shared
sense of belonging based on core social values. As people of faith
reaching out to the community, we enhance understanding and respect
between different ethnic, cultural and religious groups. Sport is an
important and fun channel towards incorporating values such as
acceptance and solidarity within society.
to the coordination and photographs to Kiran Bali, coordinator of
thank you for your interest, participation
and for your good work for peace, justice and healing!
URI Europe Co-ordinator
Bashir Ahmad Dultz, Germany
Louis Mentens, Belgium
Elisabeth Lheure, Catalonia/Spain
Patrick Nickisch, Belgium/Germany
Contents of this edition:
*URI welcomes new CC:Stichting
Interreligieus Beraad Segbroek, the Netherlands
*Introducing Euro-Asia CC
*Young people from Europe participate in URI
conference in Morocco
*European Consciousness through Action for Peace
Conference in Romania
*Visit to URI Romania Internaional Ecumenical Centre
Activities of URI
Golden Rule Tour
*URI Coordinator in Pakistan visiting
Finland and Sweden
*Celebrating the Spring Equinox
*Events organized by the Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield, UK
in Interfaith Peace Work? Become a URI Member!
can register an interfaith Cooperation Circle:
just need a minimum of 7 members from 3 religions, spiritual
expressions or indigenous traditions and support the URI Charter.
can become supporting or affiliate members.
Interfaith CC News
a Co-operation Circle
Europe Executive Committe:
Kiran Bali, United Kingdom
Sheikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz, Germany
Martin Gurvich, Belgium
Patrick Hanjoul, Belgium
Elisabeth Lheure, Catalonia/Spain
Louis Mentens, Belgium
Deepak Naik, United Kingdom
Patrick Nickisch, Belgium/Germany
Karimah Stauch, Germany
to the Coordinator:
Co-operation Circles (CCs):
* URI Europe CC, Antwerp
zonder Naam CC, Antwerp
Convictions en dialogue CC, Septon
* PRISMA Group, Antwerp
*VPiD (Vlaams Partnership voor Interlevensbeschouwelijke Dialoog -
Flemish Partnership for Inter Religious Dialogue)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Balkan as a Soul-Bridge CC, Sarajevo
* EECC (East-European Educational Centre College), Plovdiv
*Evropress Club of Journalists
*Saint Apostel Hermas Center for Ecumenical Dialogue
- Centre UNESCO de Catalunya
- Associació UNESCO per al Diàleg Interreligiós
Aarhus CC, Aarhus
* Forum of Religions in Turku CC, Turku
* Religious Forum in Helsinki, Helsinki
URI's Christian-Muslim Circle of Helsinki
* Pacific Teams CC / PISEF, Moissy Cramayel
Muslim-League Bonn CC / DMLBonn
CC, Bad Zwischenahn
Germany CC, Bonn
Real Interfaith Dialogue through Glocal Encounters (BRIDGE), Rome
* Interfaith Dialogue Utrecht
Committe URI the Netherlands, Amsterdam
Interreligieus Beraad, The Hauge
* SNTL - Procesbegeleidersgroep Samenwerkingsverband Traumahulpverlening, Amsterdam
* Women’s Group IJsselstroom Zwolle and surroundings, Zwolle
* URI Romania - Int'l Ecumenical Center CC, Bukarest
* Euro-Asia CC, Novosibirsk
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, London
* Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield
of Europe CC, Coventry
CC, Keswick, Cumbria
Recognitions and Awards:
United Religions Initiative (URI) has a consultative status at the United
Nations (DPI and ECOSOC)
*URI's "Travelling Peace Academy" was chosen by the Rio Forum
(28-29 May, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) of the UN Alliance
of Civilizations as one of the ten most innovative and successful
grassroots initiatives aimed at promoting mutual understanding among
people and cultures
*In November 2007 URI Europe was awarded with the "Golden Stars
Award" of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education
and Culture. The award was handed to URI by EU Commissioner Ján Figel in