GLOBAL AGENDA - DOC by tyndale


                                                                                                       SEPTEMBER 2008

In this e-Bulletin, read about:

       World religious leaders participate in key dialogues with the King of Saudi Arabia
       Religions for Peace leadership call on G8 governments to “take bold action”
       Religious leaders play leading role in UN General Assembly’s MDG advocacy week
       Religions for Peace and UNIFEM launch partnership to help “Say NO to Violence Against Women”
       Religions for Peace Middle East/North Africa Council launched in Alexandria, Egypt

The stories that follow are just a few examples of dedicated work undertaken by members of the Religions for
Peace family on the global level and in five regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Middle
East/North Africa) from 1 July through 30 September 2008.


Saudi Arabia‘s King Abdullah gave a historic call for multi-religious dialogue on 16–17 July in Madrid, Spain. At this
unprecedented initiative—hosted by the Muslim World League—more than 300 religious, political, and cultural leaders
from fifty countries joined together around common concerns. Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions
for Peace, chaired a key session at the meeting, ―Common Human Values in Areas of Dialogue.‖

Also representing Religions for Peace at the meeting were H.E. Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Reis-I-ulema of the Islamic
Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Rev. Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-Kai; Rabbi David Rosen,
President of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations; and Dr. Mohammad Al Sammak,
Secretary General of the Islamic Christian National Dialogue Committee in Lebanon. All are Co-Presidents of the
Religions for Peace World Council. (Read more.)


Senior leaders of different faiths from Religions for Peace, called on the Group of 8 (G8) governments to take bold action
to address violent conflict and climate change. One hundred participants gathered for the ―World Religious Leaders
Summit for Peace‖ in advance of the G8 meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, held on 2–3 July 2008. ―We are united in our call
to the G8 to take bold action to address the threats that confront humanity, including the destruction of the
environment and climate change, extreme global poverty and deteriorating food security, nuclear arms, terrorism and
violent conflict. Addressing these threats requires urgent action by the G8,‖ the religious leaders said in a statement. In
particular, the religious leaders called for the pursuit of ―rigorous implementation of nuclear reduction and
nonproliferation policies leading to the goal of total nuclear disarmament.‖

On Friday, 4 July 2008, a Religions for Peace delegation delivered the call to action to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda in Tokyo, Japan. The Prime Minister, in turn, dlivered it to the G8 heads of state. The delegation included
Religions for Peace Co-Presidents H.E. Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Reis-I-ulema, Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina;
Rev. Nichiko Niwano, Chairman, Religions for Peace Japan; His Grace John O. Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja in
Nigeria; and Sheikh Tayser Rajab al-Tamimi, Supreme Judge of Sharia Courts in Palestine. Also in the delegation
was Chief Rabbi Gutman, Chief Rabbi of Strasburg, France.

In August 2008, the Government of the United Kingdom sent a message to Religions for Peace, praising the collaborative
work of the religious leaders and encouraging their further engagement in the next G8 meeting to be held in Italy.

The summit was organized by Religions for Peace Japan and the Japanese Association of Religious Organizations and
supported by Ministry of the Environment and World Federalist Movement-Japan Religious Committee. Additional
support was provided by Religions for Peace International. The Hokkaido Summit follows similar work begun in multi-
religious meetings held just prior to the G8 summits in Moscow, Russia (2006), and Cologne, Germany (2007).
(Read more.)


As food shortages struck the most vulnerable and economic crises deepened, the Religions for Peace World Council in July
2008 called on the G8 governments to address major challenges, including the global food crisis. ―As religious leaders
we are painfully aware that this food crisis has the greatest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable groups. Each of
our religions recognizes in its own way the inviolable dignity of every person. Our religions compel us to work in
solidarity with those who are suffering from the absence of food,‖ the statement said.

In particular, the World Council called for:
―• Immediate contributions to cover the needed US$30 billion to provide food to the 862 million people in the world
currently without adequate access to food. • Reconsideration of agricultural subsidies in the rich countries to avoid
dumping of food that undercuts the efforts of the farmers in emerging food production areas. • Urgent partnerships to
develop innovative methods of increasing food production in poor countries that are sustainable built on local
conditions and maintain bio-diversity. • Increased production of cleaner bio-fuel that is not in conflict with food
production to help energy self sufficiency and employment in poor countries • Measures to reduce the excessive
wastage of food in rich countries. Every man, women and child needs food. Our religions call us to unite in working to
meet the urgent food crisis. Let us also build together the sustainable systems each community needs for food
security.‖ (Read more.)


Religious leaders of different faiths from Religions for Peace took lead roles at the ―Common Word‖ dialogue from 24–31
July at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The Yale meeting, ―Loving God and Neighbor in Word and
Deed: Implications for Christians and Muslims,‖ also included prominent political figures and representatives of the
Jewish community. The event launches a series of interfaith events planned around the world over the next two years.
These gatherings respond to the call for dialogue issued in an open letter, ―A Common Word Between Us and You,‖
written by major Islamic leaders—including Co-Presidents of the Religions for Peace World Council—to which Yale
scholars responded with a statement that garnered more than 500 signatures. Representing Religions for Peace at the
meeting were World Council Co-Presidents H.E. Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Reis-I-ulema of the Islamic Community in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Sheikh Tayser Rajab al-Tamimi, the Supreme Judge of Sharia Courts in Palestine. Also
presenting was Honorary President Dr. M. Din Syamsuddin, President of Muhammadiyah. (Read more.)


During the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon convened a High-Level Dialogue on
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 25 September 2008. Religions for Peace played a leadership role in placing
religious leaders and faith communities at the center of the week‘s advocacy and action. Religions for Peace:

● Held  a MDG consultation with senior religious leaders and political leaders on 24 September 2008, forging
consensus on the central role that faith communities play in helping to achieve the MDGs. Among those who played a
leadership role at the event were Religions for Peace Co-Presidents Dr. Vinu Aram, Director, Shanti Ashram of India,
Ms. Stellamaris Mulaeh, Programme Coordinator, Fastenopfer Kenya Country Programme, His Grace John O.
Onaiyekan, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Abuja, and Serigne Mansour Sy, President, Federation of Islamic
Associations of Senegal; Religions for Peace Honorary Presidents Rev. Gertrude Kapuma, Vice President, All African
Conference of Churches, and Dr. Din Syamsuddin, President, Muhammadiyah; and Mr. Steve Killelea, Founder,
Global Peace Index, and International Trustee of Religions for Peace.

More than forty religious leaders, political leaders, and leadership from development and faith organizations joined
together for a consultation at the United Nations Church Center to confirm their commitment to work together. The
consultation was co-sponsored by Religions for Peace and the Millennium Campaign. Among the high-level participants
were Mr. Andrew Steer, Director General for Policy and Research, Department for International Development, United
Kingdom; Dr. Katherine Marshall, Senior Advisor, World Bank; Mr. Saad Houry, Deputy Executive Director,
UNICEF; and Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed
Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States. (Read more.)

● Launched    a partnership with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to help support the ―Say NO
to Violence Against Women‖ campaign on 25 September 2008. Religions for Peace leadership (see above) gave testimony
on how their faith communities are already working together to help end gender-based violence. Among their first
efforts will be helping to gather 1 million signatures to be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban by 25 November
2008, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. You may personally sign on to the
campaign at (Read more.)

● Facilitated an inter-faith event on September 22 as a member of the MDG Call to Action Convening Group
(GCAP). This event provided an opportunity for religious leaders, governments, non-governmental organizations and
UN agencies to focus on the MDGs, particularly on Goal 8, the importance of global partnerships. Two Religions for
Peace Co-Presidents, Serigne Mansour Sy and Mrs. Judith M. Hertz, Co-Chairperson, Commission on Inter-religious
Affairs, Union for Reform Judaism, spoke about how their faith traditions provided a moral imperative on helping to
achieve the MDGs.

● Collaborated on the Poverty Hearing and Women’s Tribunal on Poverty. On 23 September, Religions for Peace
collaborated with GCAP and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service to ensure the active participation of religious
leaders in the Poverty Hearing and Women‘s Tribunal that was held in New York. Serigne Mansour Sy joined a select
panel of respected judges, including H.E. Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, to hear testimonies regarding
poverty from representatives of the Global South. Dr. Vinu Aram joined the Women‘s Tribunals as a judge to connect
the local and global struggles for economic and gender justice. The communiqué produced at these hearings was
submitted to delegates to the High-Level event as well as used for media work and other lobbying.

● Issued a statement from the Religions for Peace European Women of Faith Network urging the European
leaders to leave no stone ―unturned to renew commitments to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015
and set out concrete plans and practical steps for action.‖ This statement was submitted to European governments,
including a face-to-face meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.


Religions for Peace played a leadership role at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City on 3–8 August
2008. During events leading up to the conference: Ms. Zebib Kavuma, Religions for Peace Africa Regional Project
Coordinator, and Mr. Jeff Yussuf Ayami, Executive Secretary of ZINGO (Religions for Peace affiliate in Zambia), made
presentations on faith-based programs dealing with orphans and vulnerable children; and Mr. James Cairns, Religions
for Peace Director of Programs, spoke on a panel, ―Engaging Men and Boys in Addressing Gender Based Violence and
HIV&AIDS.‖ In addition, Religions for Peace Latin American & Caribbean held its second meeting on HIV and AIDS.

During the AIDS Conference, Religions for Peace co-sponsored two sessions: ―Faith in action at the Margins,‖ a multi-
religious session reviewing how faith groups are working with such marginalized communities affected by HIV and
AIDS as intravenous drug users and refugees; and ―Effective Partnerships with Religious and Faith-Based Communities
Responding to HIV.‖ The latter was a skills-building workshop, facilitated by Mr. Cairns; Mr. Ayami was a presenter.

Also representing Religions for Peace at the conference were Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, Moderator of Religions for Peace
European Council of Religious Leaders; Mr. Elias Szczytnicki, Secretary General of Religions for Peace Latin America
& the Caribbean; Mr. Eduardo Chinchilla, Regional Program Officer of Religions for Peace Latin America & the
Caribbean; and Mr. Ronald Kamara, Chair of the AIDS Committee of Religions for Peace Uganda. (Read more.)


In the wake of violent conflict, children in rural areas often suffer the most without access to healthcare and emotional
support. Religions for Peace Uganda, through its ―Breaking Barriers‖ project, in July 2008 donated more than thirty
bicycles to workers to help them carry out palliative care support services among poor households and vulnerable
children. The bicycle recipients, who were selected from all religions, underwent a two-week psychosocial training
course for the care of orphans and vulnerable children. ―Churches have undertaken many successful projects,‖ said
Uganda‘s Luweero district chairman, Ronald Ndawula. ―The Government would benefit greatly if it entrusted some of
its projects with the churches.‖ (Read more.)


Religions for Peace joined the effort of faith-based and peace groups to help curb the trade in illicit weapons. The week-
long UN Biennial Meeting of States on Small Arms and Light Weapons in New York ended on 18 July 2008 with 134
nations agreeing to recommendations that would require marking small arms at the point of manufacture to help trace
them. The gathering also agreed on recommendations to strengthen the management of state-run arsenals, from which
arms are often smuggled.

On 15 July 2008, Religions for Peace co-sponsored a side event with the Life & Peace Institute, ―Faithful Voices: Religious
Action and Advocacy to Reduce the Proliferation and Use of Small Arms,‖ at the UN Church Center. The panel
discussion focused on understanding the particular role and contributions of faith communities to control small arms.
Through exploring best practices and concrete experiences, panelists testified as to how different faith communities and
organizations have responded to violence from small arms and are promoting future advocacy and action. Panelists
were: Rt. Rev. William Kenney CP, Titular Bishop of Midica; Ambassador Ochieng Adala, Deputy Executive Director
of Africa Peace Forum; and Daniel Luz i Álvarez, coordinator of the Program of Human Security of the Brazilian
NGO Viva Rio and member of the Board of Directors of IANSA. Playing a leadership role in the event were Mr.
James Cairns, Religions for Peace Director of Programs, and Ms. Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace Project Coordinator
for Cluster Munitions and Disarmament. (Read more.)


Religions for Peace Co-President the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, Ashkanazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Yonah Metzger, and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar of Israel met on 9 September 2008 at Lambeth Palace in
London. Together, they committed to build peace and help end the misuse of religion as a reason for violence. In
particular, the religious leaders emphasized the importance of respecting the sanctity of holy sites. In a joint statement,
the religious leaders said, ―We concluded our time together (by) sharing a meal, a sign of the growing friendship that
exists between us and to which we reassert our commitment. The more consistently we are able to speak with one
voice on the huge variety of issues facing today‘s society the greater will be our influence in building a peaceful future.‖
(Read more.)


An estimated 30,000 women die annually from complications related to pregnancy in Nigeria. Religions for Peace Co-
President His Grace John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammad Sa‘ad Abubakar
III, together advocated that access to education by women is part of the answer to ending high maternal and mortality
rate in the Africa sub-region. His Grace Onaiyekan is Co-chairman of Religions for Peace Nigeria Inter-religious Council.
The religious leaders spoke at the opening of a four day sub-regional conference on the role of religious leaders on
maternal mortality/survival of women organized by the United Nation Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). The
religious leaders canvassed for such basic health facilities as hospitals, well-trained and motivated health care workers,
and adequate budget for health services. Participants from twenty-one African countries attended the conference.
(Read more.)


The Sierra Leone Inter-religious Council (Religions for Peace Sierra Leone) on 4 September 2008 collaborated with the
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on a comprehensive discussion on child survival and development in
Freetown. The Interim Secretary General, Rev. Osman Fornah, said UNICEF recognizes the important role that faith
communities play regarding the development and survival of children in such Global South countries as Sierra Leone.
―We as religious leaders represent the voice of the voiceless,‖ he said. ―We are always called upon to intervene in
matters involving the promotion of human dignity and rights.‖ (Read more.)


As part of the broad World Social Forum, the third World Social Forum on Migration was held in Madrid on 11–13
September 2008. About 5,000 engaged in seminars, workshops, cultural events, and public rallies. The role of religion in
migration was for the first time brought to the Forum agenda. Invited by Pluralismo Convivencia, a Spanish semi-
government organization promoting interfaith understanding, Religions for Peace Deputy Secretary General Mr. Stein
Villumstad contributed to a panel discussion, ―Migration and Religion.‖ Panelists who represented organizations
involved in religious aspects of social and legal work with migrants described how religious identity and belonging may
be used constructively in the integration of migrants in their new societies. Mr. Villumstad contributed reflections on
the role of religion in conflict situations that contribute to out-migration. While religions have been hijacked and
misused as reasons for conflict, there are numerous examples of how religions have been mobilized to transform
conflict and prevented forced migration—displaced people and refugees.


Since 2005, Religions for Peace has been engaged in a constructive partnership with the Helsinki Process on Globalisation
and Democracy. This partnership has contributed substantially to the development of the notion of ―shared security,‖
launched at the 2006 Religions for Peace Eighth World Assembly in Kyoto, Japan. The Helsinki Process partnership has
been instrumental in promoting multi-religious dialogue in the Middle East, and the launch of the Religions for Peace
Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Council in July 2008 was a concrete result of the partnership.

The final report of Helsinki Process was presented to the UN Secretary-General in September 2008. Deputy Secretary
General Mr. Stein Villumstad represented Religions for Peace in the review meeting on 24 September 2008 in New York.

Although the Helsinki Process now ends, commitments made during the process will be carried forward by the
individual participating organizations. Religions for Peace will advance its commitment by supporting the further
development and actions of the MENA Council, particular in collaboration with Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
[See related story below on MENA Council in “Building, Equipping, and Networking.”]


Religious leaders of different faiths joined together in Nanded, India, for the International Conference on Guru Granth
Sahib. Religions for Peace Secretary General Dr. William F. Vendley sent a video message, saying, ―In our modern
pluralistic societies, it is increasingly incumbent on religious leadership to build harmonious relations with other faith
communities with whom we share this earth.‖ Also among those sending messages on this important Sikh anniversary
event were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, Rabbi David Rosen, President of the International
Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, both Religions for Peace Co-Presidents, and Bishop Gunnar Stålsett,
Moderator of the Religions for Peace European Council of Religious Leaders. (Read more.)


People of different faiths joined together for the New York City 9/11 Unity Walk on 14 September 2008. The walk,
hosted by Religions for Peace USA, commemorated the victims of the terrorist attack and promote a spirit of hope, peace,
and solidarity. Partcipants began in Battery Park and passed by the World Trade Center site, ending their journey at St.
Peter‘s Roman Catholic Church with a closing ceremony. Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for
Peace made keynote remarks at the event. (Read more.)


Religions for Peace has received a major grant award for its work on HIV and AIDS through the New Partners Initiative
of the US President‘s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The US$4 million award, to be distributed over
three years, will help expand the capacity of Religions for Peace affiliates in Ethiopia (Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for
Development Dialogue and Action) and Tanzania ( Religions for Peace Tanzania). The grant will help provide prevention,
care, and support services for those affected by HIV and AIDS. The grant helps make multi-religious organizations key
partners in mobilizing communities of faith as part of national AIDS strategies. The Religions for Peace Tanzanian
Women‘s Interfaith Network (TWIN) will be leading implementation projects and helping to create a model of how
women of faith networks may best work together with national inter-religious councils to combat the pandemic.

Religions for Peace is strengthening its network and developing partnerships around the world at local, national,
regional, and international levels. Following are selected actions from 1 July–30 September 2008.


Religious leaders of different faiths from Religions for Peace gathered together in Alexandria, Egypt, on 15 July 2008 to
launch the Religions for Peace Middle East/North Africa. Thirty different Muslim, Christian, and Jewish representatives
from twenty countries met at the Library of Alexandria in order to forge a consensus to build peace in the Middle East
and North Africa region. In its initial plan of action, the Council identified as priorities: the development of principles
for true dialogue; promotion of education for better understanding of the three Abrahamic religions; and carrying out
solidarity actions that may promote reconciliation. The participants agreed to give priority to help build inter-religious
platforms in the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.

―Dialogue is the choice of some, but needs to be the reality for all of us to promote peace in the Middle East,‖ said His
Beatitude Michel Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. H.B. Sabbah and Dr. Mohammad Al Sammak,
Secretary General of the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue, are Co-Chairs of the Council; both are Co-
Presidents of the Religions for Peace World Council. Dr. Ismail Serageldin—Director of the Library of Alexandria,
Honorary President of Religions for Peace, and a member of the new Council—expressed his great optimism about the
role the new Council can serve. ―Amid the wealth, poverty, and injustice in the Middle East and North Africa region,
the Council will make a difference,‖ he said. (Read more.)


Members of national Religions for Peace inter-religious councils in South America committed to action plans when they
met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 14–15 September 2008. The participants discussed the respect for religious and
ethical values in implementing their plans of action and explored ways that multi-religious cooperation can help end
violence against women. Key speakers included Ms. Laura Vargas, Executive Secretary, Religions for Peace Inter-
religious Committee of Peru; Rev. Armin Ihle, President, Jewish-Christian Fellowship of Uruguay; Rabbi Daniel
Zang, Coordinator, Religions for Peace Chile; and Soher El Sukaria, Member, Inter-religious Committee for Peace of
Cordoba. In addition, the Religions for Peace Latin American & Caribbean Women of Faith Network met to determine
strategic ways forward in the region.

On 12–14 September 2008, the Coordinating Committee of the Religions for Peace Latin American and Caribbean Youth
Network worked together to discuss the human rights of youth and find ways of mobilizing young people for joint
action in the region. Playing leadership roles at the event were Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network Co-
Moderators Soher El Sukaria, Member, Inter-religious Committee for Peace of Cordoba, and Mr. Juan Canelo of

Playing a leadership role in all these events were Mr. Elias Szczytnicki, Secretary General, Religions for Peace Latin
America and the Caribbean, and Rev. Eduardo Chinchilla, Program Officer, Religions for Peace Latin American and
Caribbean Regional Office. They were supported by Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Director of Inter-religious Council
Development and Coordination at Religions for Peace.


Ms. Karen M. Hurley, President General of the World Union of Catholic Women‘s Organizations and a Co-president
of Religions for Peace, has been named the Catholic Daughters 2008 Woman of the Year. She is a pastoral associate of St.
Margaret Mary Alcoque Roman Catholic Church in Penbrook. Ms. Hurley was selected for the honor based on her
work with the Catholic church and for her work worldwide on the behalf of girls and women. She received the award at
the Catholic Daughters national convention New Mexico, USA., in July 2008.

Ms. Hurley is the first woman from the United States to be elected to lead the World Union, which has a hundred
member organizations in sixty-six countries. The group focuses on global concerns relating to women, human rights
and human dignity. Ms. Hurley has been active in Catholic women‘s organizations at the parish, regional, national, and
global levels for twenty years. Pope Benedict XVI has also honored her with the Order of Pope St. Silvester, which is
awarded to individuals who are active in the apostolate, particularly in their professional duties. (Read more.)


Mr. Steve Killelea, Founder of the Global Peace Index and an International Trustee of Religions for Peace, has been
awarded with two significant prizes for his work to advance peace. The Priyadarshini Academy’s biennial Global
Award, which is in its twenty-fourth year, identifies global achievers and recognizes their valuable contributions. The
Priyadarshini Global Award has been described as the Asia Pacific region‘s version of the Nobel Peace Prize. Other
awardees this year are Mr. Jim Balsillie, Chairman, Research In Motion, Canada (founder and creator of the Blackberry)

and Mr. Shashi Tharoor, former United Nations Under Secretary-General. The Phelophepa Achievement Award for
Excellence is awarded by the American Friends of the Phelophepa Train, of which Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the
Honorary Chairman. The award is given in recognition of outstanding commitments to South Africa and Africa at large.
Past awardees include Dr. Franz Humer of Roche Ltd.; Mr. Reuben Mark, CEO of Colgate-Palmolive; and Mr. Richard
Wagoner, Chairman of General Motors.


Mr. John Kiser III, Chairman of the William and Mary Greve Foundation and an International Trustee of Religions for
Peace, has published a biography of the nineteenth-century Koranic scholar, Emir Abd el-Kader. Commander of the
Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader (Monkfish Book Publishing Company) will be released in November.
According to the publisher, the book explores the ―moral, intellectual and spiritual qualities that made Abd el- Kader a
widely recognized ‗great man‘ of the mid 19th century. Emir Abd el-Kader inspired respect from Missouri to Moscow.
His story is about many things, but ultimately it is about struggle: struggle against French invaders, struggle with Arabs
who rejected his leadership, struggle with depression and despair in French prisons, struggle to live as a good Muslim.‖
Religions for Peace President Emeritus HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan says, ―Abd el-Kader‘s jihad provides
a much-needed antidote to the toxic false jihads of today, dominated by anger, violence and politics. Thank you John
Kiser for bringing him back to life.‖ (Read more.)


Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, 74, died on 10 September 2008 in Illinois, USA. Since 1994, Imam Mohammed
served in Religions for Peace as a Co-President of its World Council and, most recently, as a member of the Council of
Presidents of Religions for Peace USA.

Imam Mohammed was born in October 1933 to Clara and Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam Founder. After the
death of his father, Imam Mohammed reformed the organization bringing followers closer to traditional Islam. He
became, in brief, leader of the largest constituency of Muslims in the United States and one of the most highly respected
religious leaders in the world.

Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, said, ―Imam Mohammed worked with great diligence
to promote justice and tolerance among people of all religious traditions in cooperation with religious leaders from
other faith traditions around the globe. He served as an outstanding example of how religious principles and practice
can be forged into strong bonds of partnership to create constructive inter-religious endeavors among communities
with different religious traditions.‖


The Rev. Bud Heckman has joined Religions for Peace International as the Director of External Relations. He is the
former Secretary General of Religions for Peace USA. Before coming to Religions for Peace International, he served as the
Chief Development Officer of Hartford Seminary.

A frequent speaker and writer on interfaith relations, Rev. Heckman is editor of a new reference book for the field
called InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook (SkyLight Paths, 2008). A summa cum laude
graduate of Ohio University, Rev. Heckman has graduate degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School and
Boston University‘s Division of Religion and Theological Studies, as well as additional education from several other
schools and centers. He has served rural, urban, and suburban churches in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York,
and Connecticut. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Laura and children Annah and Noah. Please join in welcoming
Rev. Heckman to his new position.


After a ten-year career with Religions for Peace, Mr. James Cairns, Director of Programs, is leaving to develop a new
global program at Harvard University‘s Center for the Developing Child. The initiative will explore ways research on
the development of children may be used to positively affect international governmental policies. During his tenure at
Religions for Peace, Mr. Cairns served three years in Sarajevo, Bosnia, as Regional Project Director for Southeast Europe
and worked to advance cooperation among communities of different faiths in the region, including Kosovo. At the
International Secretariat, he oversaw Religions for Peace‘s engagement in children and family welfare issues, especially the
impact of HIV and AIDS on children. Please join in wishing Mr. Cairns, his wife Ms. Leslie Pelton-Cairns, and
daughter, Campbell, well in their new lives in Boston.


New colleagues have joined the Religions for Peace Africa office in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Geofrey Angira is the Finance
and Administration Manager, and Ms. Sandra Kidwingira is the part-time Youth Coordinator. Please join in
welcoming them to the global Religions for Peace family.

9–13 October                       World Public Forum, ―Dialogue of Civilizations,‖ Rhodes, Greece
12–16 October                      Religions for Peace Asian Youth Assembly, Mindanao, Philippines
17–21 October                      Religions for Peace Asia VIII General Assembly, Mindanao, Philippines
20-21 October                      UNFPA Global Interreligious Forum on Poverty, Istanbul, Turkey
28–29 October                      Religious Leaders Congress, Kazakhstan
29–30 October                      Religions for Peace European Council of Religious Leaders Cluster Munitions
Conference, Sarajevo, Bosnia
3–4 November                       Faith-Based Forum, Frankfurt, Germany
19 November–3 December             Religions for Peace Sri Lanka meeting; consultation with LTTE; meeting with President,
Mannar and Colombo, Sri Lanka
2–5 December                       Religions for Peace Africa Assembly, Tripoli, Libya
16–17 December                     Advancing Cooperation Between the UN and the World‘s Religions conference, New
15–19 December                     Third International Youth Committee meeting of Religions for Peace Global Youth
                                   Network Nairobi, Kenya

Send us your news and work, and we’ll include it in the next quarterly e-Bulletin!
Questions, comments, or news? Kindly contact:

Ms. Andrea Louie
Communications Manager
Religions for Peace–International
777 United Nations Plaza, 9 th Floor
New York NY 10017

RELIGIONS FOR PEACE—the world‘s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition—advances common action
among the world‘s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human
development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a
World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; more than seventy national and four regional inter-
religious bodies; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.


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