Rev. Abare Kallah is the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the North East, Gusau, Zamfara State and an ordained Religious leader of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Gombe. With over 24 years of experience Rev. Kallah is an important interfaith leader in Nigeria where he founded the Community Peace Dialogue and Interfaith Initiative and serves as a Nigerian Representative of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership. It was in his work as a leader of the OMNIA Interfaith Peacemaker Team in Nigeria that Rev. Kallah first learned about the Parliament and the Parliament in turn learned about his work.
At the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions, Rev. Abare Kallah was honored, along with Soraya Deen and OMNIA, with the 2018 Paul Carus Award. In 2003, Mr. M. Blouke Carus partnered with the Parliament of the World’s Religions to establish an award in memory of his grandfather, Mr. Paul Carus, a keynote at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions. The award honors, “outstanding work in the international interreligious movement and celebrates the efforts of an individual or organization that work effectively toward the creation of a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.”
Our team had the opportunity to interview Dr. Kallah on his experiences at the 2018 Parliament, the Paul Carus Award and his ongoing work.
Dr. Kallah, you have extensive experience in the role of faith in making a difference in the world. How did you become involved in the interfaith movement?
I have over 24 years working experience. I climbed leadership positions I am an ordained Religious leader of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Gombe amongst which are ; Chairman of the District Church, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Gombe State and the North-East Nigeria, Special Adviser to the Governor of Gombe State on General Duties and Religious matters, Member of the Committee of Northern Governors Forum on Reconciliation, Healing and Security, Founder of Community Peace Dialogue and Interfaith Initiative and a Nigerian Representative of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership in the U.S.
My coming in contact with OMNIA Institute has inspired me to engage much deeper in interreligious work which resulted into harvest of success in the past 3 years through deconstruction of violent religious extremism and building of Interfaith Peacemaker Teams (IPT’s).
You’ve done amazing work within the interfaith movement and you’ve been honored with the Paul Carus award because of it. How do you think the award reflects the mission of your work?
The Paul Carus award given to me at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada 2018 is quite relevant, contextual and inspiring to my work. For the past 3 years we succeeded in building 58 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams (IPT) in and around the city of Gombe State, Nigeria where the violent religious extremist of the Islamic Sects called “Boko Haram” have been perpetrating religious violence for the past decade.
The work of the Interfaith Peacemaker Teams is to help raise issues of local and common concerns within each context and to look for solutions within the purview of religion. Many success stories are recorded raging from conflict resolutions, development projects and organizing leadership training on issues that can bring peace and peaceful coexistence.
You’ve had great success in leading the IPT’s in Nigeria, which is a huge achievement, what does winning the award at an international platform like the Parliament meant to you?
Winning the Paul Carus award means to me that my work at the local level in Nigeria is recognized internationally and again it spurred me up to doing more and more in the course of peace and justice work. Jesus said to whom much is given much is required.
The Parliaments are international convenings and a global platform for regional and grassroots interfaith activity, what is your the most memorable experience of this Parliament?
During the Parliament, I was thrilled to a common utopia. I felt touched and challenged by many papers presented at the plenary sessions, depicting the diverse opinions of religions on peace and justice pointing at one united and indivisible interest of the Universe to a common humanity. I am made to learn that our world diversity is not a threat but strength.
That’s a wonderful takeaway! You had the opportunity to share your work and learn about what other interfaith actors are doing. Are there any future projects you would like to share?
Right at this moment, more grounds are conquered to raise interfaith peacemaker teams (IPT’s) in different communities here in Nigeria. 3 programs are organized in this month of April 2019 to bring people of faith together for more interfaith programs to build peace and justice together.
A special thank you to Dr. Abare Kallah for sharing his great work with the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Interested in learning more about Dr. Kallah’s work? Visit the Nigeria Program at OMNIA.