Rabbi David Rosen

Rabbi David Rosen, American Jewish Committee Department for Interreligious Affairs

An Interfaith Path to Peace

”Blessed be ye who come in the name of the Lord, we bless you from the house of the Lord” – blessings from Jerusalem.

Mr. President; representatives of the U.N.’s member states, related agencies and NGOs ; distinguished colleagues and representatives of world religions; ladies and gentlemen.

Promoting interfaith harmony and common action is a relatively simple matter in healthy pluralistic societies where differences are respected and even celebrated. It is much harder to advance interfaith harmony and collaboration in contexts of conflict, especially where religion is used and abused to advance one position against another.

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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf,Founder, Cordoba Initiative. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.Paulo Filgueiras

The Great Commandment

It is customary for Muslims to begin by invoking the name of God, Allah. In the Name of God, the One God, the All Merciful, the All Compassionate, the God not only of Muslims but the God of all, the God of all of creation. The God of Adam and Noah, the God of Abraham, the God of Ishmael and Isaac, the God of Moses and Aaron, the God of John the Baptist, the God of Jesus Christ and his dear mother Mary, the most righteous of all women, and the God of Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon all of these noble prophets and messengers.

My dear brothers and sisters, in talking of the common good, it is God, our creator, who is the absolutely good. It is God who is our common ground as the absolute good, and it is in God’s commandments that we can define the common good and the common imperative to all.

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Mr. Bill Canny

Bill Canny, Catholic Relief Services. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.

An Interfaith Code of Conduct for Disaster Relief

I work with Catholic Relief Services, which is affiliated with 165 Catholic organizations around the world. But I also represent here an important group of organizations and people that represent you, the various and multiple faiths that we have in the room. These are organizations that go out on your behalf and assist the poor, who provide charity in times of disaster, and who try to right the wrongs and injustices that exist. So I speak on their behalf.

Whether providing food, shelter, water, or medicine, we, the non-governmental organization community, ensure rapid response, professionalism, and coordination in emergency program and disaster preparedness. We work together.

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Ms. Yuka Saionji

Yuka Saionji. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.

Faith-based Organizations and Japan's Earthquake Disaster

In my personal work, after 3/11 – that’s what we call the Japanese earthquake last year, because it occurred on March 11 – I have been involved in hosting dialogues in places where people can share their experience in the disaster area, and also for youth and volunteers working in that area.

My work involves interfaith, peacebuilding, spirituality, youth empowerment, gathering collective wisdom, and networking among peacebuilders and change-makers around the world. All my work ties in deeply with the topic and the concept for this event. But today I will focus on 3/11.

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Katherine Marshall

Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University, USA

Harmony Among Religions at the United Nations

Interfaith harmony evokes our ideal of a peace that passes all understanding, a peace that is inspired by the mind, the heart, the soul, and the hands, working as partners in true harmony. Our interconnected world demands a deeply intelligent understanding of what partnerships involve. Partnership is about far more than contracts, targets, and comparative advantage.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, applying our responsibility to protect, building systems that render justice to all citizens, fighting disease, and acting on climate change simply must engage a mosaic of partners, public and private, large and small, secular and religious. And that is our ferocious challenge.

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Dr. Azza Karam

Dr. Azza Karam, United Nations Population Fund. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.

Interfaith Harmony and Human Development

I come from a region of the world, the Middle East or the Arab region, which is as we speak witnessing historic moments of heroism and courage.
The United Nations came into being at a time of intense global changes more than 60 years ago. Since then it has grown in size, importance, impact, meaning, and relevance.

As a multilateral organization with national, regional, and international institutional outreach, the United Nations is unique.

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Ven. Dr. Chung Ohun Lee

Ven. Dr. Chung Ohun Lee

We Need to Update Our Morality

Mr. President, Excellencies, colleagues and friends,
It is my great honor to celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week with you here in the General Assembly. Our global society needs innovative moral politics to develop and to implement a revolutionary global wisdom and awareness to strengthen and revitalize the UN. It is a novel initiative to empower humanity through interfaith understanding and collaboration. It can transform conflict energy of mistrust, dislike and hatred in our world.

In this new era of 21 century, we need to update our mentality to meet the challenges of our time. Today with rapid advancement of material civilization with ever expanding technology, we need to cultivate spiritual civilization as equal measure. Interreligious understanding and cooperation may be the most effective instrument for world peace because religions are a vital agent for change and today religions increasingly become part of solution.

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Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Agape International Spiritual Center. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.

Peace and the Presence of God

It’s my joy to greet you in the power and the presence of the Most High God that lives and breathes and moves through us all, that transcendent presence that recreated itself in its own image and likeness and named itself each and every one of us with such potentiality to express the peace, the love, the joy, the wisdom, and harmony that emanates from its very being.

Each and every individual in this room perfectly reflects the cosmos in a way that has never, ever happened before if we will but let it, if we will but practice the spiritual paths that we’re on and go deep enough to allow that which is in the Holy Scriptures of all the religions.

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H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti

H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations. UN Photo Paulo Filgueiras.

Civil Society and Rio+20

Brazil, a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, welcomes this initiative by the president of the General Assembly.

Brazil will have the privilege of hosting the Rio+20 Conference next June. Sustained and widespread future prosperity will require new thinking about global economic development and major reforms in global economic governance.

The word change has been heard repeatedly here, and Rio+20 is also about change, transformational change. It is about thinking anew and harmonizing conflicting interests.

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Closing Remarks, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

Closing Remarks

What a beautiful day for all of us together in the General Assembly of United Nations! I would like to express my thanks to all of you for your valuable contribution today to discuss peace and harmony, and God bless you all.

I would like to offer special thanks to His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan for his initiative for interfaith harmony and also very special thanks for the children who participated in this event.

As we close the 2012 World Interfaith Harmony Week, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all the distinguished speakers, interfaith leaders, and performers in today’s program. Many of you traveled a great distance to share this occasion and to help celebrate the splendid diversity of our human family. I also extend my thanks to the coordinator team who brought together a rich and thought-provoking program.

Today we have explored the common ground on which we can work towards the common good. We have heard uplifting stories of people working together, even in the face of armed conflict or natural disaster. We have heard voices of wisdom from our great faith traditions calling us to a world of peace, justice, and environmental sustainability.

I think you will agree with me that we have found this common ground to be a vast territory. What we have achieved today is significant. New alliances have been formed and new insights have been gained. Let each of us, those gathered here in this great hall and those joining us on the webcast around the world, assume the advancement of interfaith harmony as our personal responsibility.

As was so clearly demonstrated here today, the fruits of mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue provide great hope and opportunity to build a new era of peace for all humankind.

I thank you so much, and God bless you all.

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