10th World Assembly of Religions for Peace: Caring for our Common Future2019, August 20th to 23rd
“Caring for our Common Future – Advancing Shared Well-being” was the title of the 10th World Assembly of Religions for Peace, which took place in Lindau in 2019.
More than 900 participants took part: renowned representatives from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Sikh, Baha’i, Judaism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and indigenous groups.
In addition, more than 100 representatives of government institutions, international non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and non-profit foundations were present.
They all came together to talk to each other and to network across countries and religions. The purpose of the gathering was to highlight positive examples of multi-religious cooperation, to analyze individual conflict situations between religions, and to identify scope for action in peace talks.
The conference was opened by Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
At the conference, the representatives of the religions also faced up to their own moral and social responsibility. They asked themselves: What can religions contribute in times of war, terror and intolerance to promote justice and equality in societies?
And how can different faith communities work together to act strongly and pull together on a global scale?
During four days of panel discussions and workshops, participants exchanged ideas with each other so that they could bring back meaningful solutions from different parts of the world to their home countries.
The 10th World Assembly provided a safe and neutral place for participants to meet in an unbiased and respectful manner. As a meeting port, Lindau – located directly next to Austria and Switzerland – has symbolic character for international cooperation.
Non-public negotiations also took place for mediation, so that conflicting parties could approach each other free from observation and without fear of public criticism. In this way, Religions for Peace has already been able to mediate successfully between hardened fronts in conflicts such as those in the Balkans, West Africa and also Sri Lanka.
The 10th World Assembly kicked off with two preliminary conferences that specifically addressed the role of women and the role of youth. The participating women and youth were asked to draft strategic action plans to improve international and interfaith cooperation.
During the conference, Professor Dr. Azza Karam was elected as the new secretary general of Religions for Peace, succeeding William F. Vendley. Karam is the first woman and the first Muslim to hold the most important position at Religions for Peace.
The people of Lindau who were interested in the conference also had the opportunity to get in touch with the participants.
The symbol could hardly be more beautiful than a long, public food table between the Protestant and Catholic churches on Lindau Island. Here, citizens of Lindau entered into conversation with the participants about their faith and the peace of the world.
Since 2019, the “Ring for Peace” has also been on Lindau Island, in Luitpold Park. The wooden Möbius ring, created by Templin artist Gisbert Baarmann, is now the sacred symbol of the interfaith peace talks in Lindau.
At the end of the conference, which was funded by the German Foreign Office, the 900 participants agreed on a joint declaration.
We gather in hope, convinced that the sacred calls all humanity into shared responsibility for our common good, care for one another, the earth, and its entire web of life.
The supreme good for us is the sacred, even as we understand it differently. The common good includes the earth with its air, water, soil, and web of life.
Advancing shared well-being is concrete. We commit to advancing shared well-being by
- preventing and transforming violent conflicts,
- promoting just and harmonious societies,
- nurturing sustainable and integral human development, and protecting the earth.
Guided by the principles of our own religious traditions, and respectful of religious differences, we personally commit to fostering positive peace as shared well-being. We will be partners with sincere believers of other religions and all women and men of good will to:
- produce positive peace materials and workshops for multi-religious contexts with the Institute for Economics and Peace;
- develop tools and training on the positive roles of women in preventing and transforming conflicts, and on the issue of violence against them;
- acknowledge past hurts – including across religious traditions – and foster public acts of forgiveness and reconciliation;
- work for the well-being of refugees and migrants and develop programs of accompaniment and support;
- urge religious communities to invest their resources in alignment with achieving the SDGs;
- raise public awareness about deforestation with the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative and through the acceptance and promotion of the Faith for Forests Declaration, take action against climate change in general, and advocate for policies that protect the earth;
- advance reconciliation as a vital dimension of positive Peace within persons and among communities and nations as per The Peace Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation;
- commit to being a full-partner to support the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons;
- forge an Alliance of Virtue based on a declaration of virtues widely shared across religious traditions and other virtue heritages.