Conference of the World Council of Religious Leaders on Faith and Diplomacy: Generations in Dialogue4-7 October 2021
Exchange and cooperation between young and old generations in religious communities and international relations was the theme of the conference held Oct. 4-7 in Lindau, Lake Constance: The “Conference of the World Council of Religious Leaders on Faith and Diplomacy: Generations in Dialogue.”
The gathering was hybrid in organization: About 130 people were present in Lindau and about 1700 participants worldwide participated virtually.
For four days, discussion panels and interactive workshops focused on the three main themes of Peace and Security, Environment and Humanitarianism – always with a view to the extent to which young people can and must be involved as multipliers in global peace processes.
In view of globally active youth movements, the questions arise: How do activists become the next leaders and where are they already today?
World Council of Religious Leaders
The conference kicked off with the formal meeting of the “World Council of Religious Leaders,” which was newly elected in 2019 during the 10th World Assembly in Lindau. The Council consists of 61 principal members and is the main decision-making body of Religions for Peace. The associated religious leaders represent millions of believers around the world, and their voices carry influence and weight in their faith communities and beyond.
At the end of the conference, the World Council released a new statement. In it, the World Council speaks out in favor of global respect for human rights and global justice in the distribution of vaccines. No one, it says, should be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, ethnicity, nationality or religion. They also address the protection of the climate. In the name of religions, it says, no harm should be done to the environment or the impact of human activity on the environment ignored. The World Council invites all political leaders and diplomats to work with them on the transformation tasks ahead and to involve different generations in this.
The World Council includes, for example, the two Germans Margot Käßmann and Thomas Schirrmacher (Christianity), the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi living in South Africa Ela Gandhi (Hinduism) and Vinu Aram from India (Hinduism), Kosho Niwano from Japan (Buddhism), Rabbis David Rosen from Israel (Judaism) and Joseph Potasnik from New York, Cardinal Charles Bo (Christianity) of Myanmar, and Muslims Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah of the United Arab Emirates and Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III of Nigeria – ranked by The Muslim 500 in 2020 as two of the world’s 20 most influential Muslims.
„This conference vindicates Religions for Peace’s mission and mandate to further multi-religiously competent diplomacy. This is the tipping point for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies. ”
The organizer was – as already for the 10th World Assembly 2019 and the mainly virtually held 1st Assembly on Women, Faith & Diplomacy 2020 – the Lindau Foundation Peace Dialogue of World Religions and Civil Society (in short: Ring for Peace). The program was prepared by the NGO Religions for Peace, which is accredited to the United Nations.
The meeting is supported by the Religion and Foreign Policy Department of the German Federal Foreign Office. Much of the event was broadcast live for those interested from around the world.
The full program and participating individuals have been presented at an international press conference on September 15, 2021. You find the full program in the > brochure.
„The conference encouraged intergenerational dialogue by allowing for inclusivity of youth participation on many engaging levels. It opened opportunities for partnerships, supportive friendships and networking, providing a space of learning for transformation by sharing our interfaith work with each other to build a multi-faith solidarity. It encouraged people of faith to come together in love and unity for peace building and problem solving to global humanitarian issues. ”
Merylene Chitharai, Youth Member Religions for Peace, South Africa
Ring for Peace Ceremony
This year there was again a spiritual ceremony at the symbol of Ring for Peace: the wooden Möbius Ring in Lindau’s Luitpold Park. This Ring for Peace is the trademark of the foundation and can be found in the logo. In addition to the participants, citizens of Lindau were also invited to this “Ring for Peace Ceremony”.