The 7th edition of the largest interfaith gathering in the world took place in Toronto, Canada from November 1st to 7th 2018. Its programme featured many PaRD members, among them United Religions Initiative (URI), KAICIID, Bahá’i International Community, Arigatou International, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance. PaRD itself was invited to host a booth as well as a workshop, allowing to showcase the partnership’s work to more than 8000 participants.
The workshop highlighted best practices the benefits that including the role of religious leaders, actors and organisations can have in contributing to gender justice and peacebuilding in their societies.
Organised by the work-streams “Sustaining Peace” and “Gender Equality and Empowerment” the workshop’s full title read “The Power of Partnership: Religion, Development and Inclusion”. The workshop introduced the audience to PaRD’s ways of working and activities in general, quickly moving on to create a space for exchange among the panelists and the audience on why working with religious actors is important for global understanding, reconciliation, and change. The panel featured a wide range of expertise represented through Saphira Rameshfar (Baha’i International), Prof Katherine Marshall (WFDD/Berkeley Center at Georgetown University), Hellen Mugo (CYNESA), Sharon Rosen (Search for Common Ground), and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati (Global Interfaith WASH Alliance).
Panellists and participants from the audience alike shared insights from their own practical work on how the inclusion of religion and religious actors was a key factor in solving complex challenges. For example, Sharon Rosen spoke on protection of holy sites as a key to peaceful societies and reconciliation. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati highlighted the importance of sanitation to achieve gender justice around the world. She exemplified how the inclusion of religious leaders allows to overcome obstacles and attracts believers of all faiths to become active for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in their daily lives.
PaRD members stressed that faith communities, religious actors, and interfaith movements hold a responsibility to teach each and all traditions and to work with governments to achieve the 2030 SDG Goals because humanity cannot survive if we do not exchange our knowledge and work together. For them, PaRD is a unique partnership in which members can interchange expertise, take action and advocate for equality and a peaceful world/universe.
As mentioned above, representatives of PaRD members contributed to a broad spectrum of panels and workshops:
All in all, PaRD members successfully embodied the spirit of the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions’ motto:
The promise of inclusion, the power of love:
pursuing global understanding, reconciliation and change.
PaRD Steering Group Meeting, November 7th to 9th
Subsequent to the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the second in-person meeting of the PaRD Steering Group (SG) was held at the headquarters of PaRD member World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) in Toronto, Canada from November 7th to 9th.
Following up on decisions made during the General Assembly of Members in Bossey/ Geneva (June 2018), the SG reviewed the partnership’s work and planned the way forward until the next General Assembly of Members to be held in Copenhagen at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry of Denmark from May 1st to 3rd 2019. Please read the brief report on the Steering Group Meeting to the right.
The growing partnership of 92 members is working towards the common goal of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda through stronger partnerships, closer cooperation, and better policies.
In addition to concrete plans for the next months ahead, discussions during the three-day meeting also circled around new ideas for the partnership. The members of the SG shared their views on their ideas for PaRD’s way forward in the next five years. To that end, the work of the Budget and Finance Sub-Committee’s work was presented to link these ideas to concrete funding. Moreover, the funding strategy was closely linked to membership development and growth strategies. The Steering Group emphasized the essential need to increase membership from the Global South. Through this, the newly formed Membership Sub-Committee was already equipped with an important task.
The three work-streams on “Gender Equality and Empowerment”, “Health” and “Sustaining Peace” presented their work plans for 2019/20, which were approved by the Steering Group. By virtue of the work-streams' great achievements, the Steering Group is taking into consideration a fourth work-stream on climate action (SDG 13). The Steering Group also agreed that it is crucial to showcase best practices in order to increase availability of evidence on religious engagement for the SDGs and to promote the impact of work done by PaRD members around the world.
The PaRD Steering Group is looking forward to the New Year and the new challenges it will bring. The Steering Group and the PaRD secretariat wish everyone happy holidays and a prosperous 2019!