ADVOCACY SATURDAY: Mayapur, India, 01 December 2008 – Over 100 young leaders from over 40 different countries (including the Philippines) representing myriad religions, spiritual traditions and indigenous faiths came together in the holy town of Mayapur, in West Bengal, India for a five-day interfaith peacebuilding assembly. Joined through the United Religions Initiative (URI) Youth Leaders program, they gathered for the URI’s 3-yearly Global Assembly in an effort to uphold and perpetuate a vision to act as “Pilgrims of Peace-Many Paths One Purpose”.
As delegates for United Religions Initiative the members of the Youth Leaders Program are part of a global youth network of grassroots organizations working worldwide to promote better understanding and harmonious relationships among different religions and faith communities. The Youth Leaders’ gathering in India coincided with the acts of extreme violence that were perpetrated in the country’s financial capitol, Mumbai. As a result, throughout the Global Assembly gathering the youth leaders vocally recognized in an open letter to world leaders, that, “this 21st Century presents all peoples with a historic opportunity to ensure that the future of relations between faiths is characterized by respect, cooperation and concern for the common good of all peoples.”
The URI youth went on to strongly denounce violence across the globe, especially religiously motivated violence, appealing to leaders and to the greater global community to foster a vision of peace, and to help create arenas where meaningful dialogue among different communities, religions and cultures can occur. “The violent acts committed in Mumbai contradict the universal human values that are taught by all sincere spiritual paths, chief amongst which are peace, compassion and truth. We, the URI Youth Leaders, see these attacks as a bitter reminder of the continuing threat posed to all people by the specter of religious intolerance.”
In an era where common challenges affect every nation, the young leaders who gathered at the 2008 URI Global Assembly reject the notion that religious intolerance and violence need be a given part of life. Together they hold a mutual belief that the relationship between religions is of pressing importance for the future of the world; and for each of the young leaders present in Mayapur, the 2008 URI Global Assembly gathering itself is proof of the possibility of peaceful co-existence.
Signed by: Young Leaders @ United Religions Initiative
Orlan de Guzman, Jr.
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United Religions Initiative - Southeast Asia& the Pacific
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United Religions Initiative (URI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of enduring and daily interfaith cooperation in order to end religiously motivated violence, and to the creation of a culture of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. Launched in 2000, with a central hub in San Francisco, California, URI has 400 Cooperation Circles representing over 100 faiths working on community-based projects, which serve over one million people, in more than 70 countries worldwide. Having attained special consultative status with the Social and Economic Council of the United Nations in 2007, URI’s network continues to grow and expand in areas of interfaith peace building, conflict resolution, economic development, heath, ecology and education. For more information about URI visit: www.uri.org
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