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2020: The Paradigm of Cooperation

Written by Audrey E. Kitagawa
December 31, 2019

We welcome in 2020 with gratitude for your participation that made the tremendous growth in the global interfaith movement possible. Numerous faith traditions, leading guiding institutions, and civic organizations are increasingly acknowledging the importance of working with communities of faith to address global challenges. This paradigm of cooperative engagement accelerates our ability to achieve our common goals for the betterment of humanity.

The Parliament’s commitment to this paradigm of cooperation will be central to its work in 2020 through milestone initiatives in which the Parliament will be vigorously supporting and participating. Highlighted for 2020 will be:

World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIFHW) which takes place annually February 1-7. WIFHW has spawned thousands of replications of this paradigm of cooperation among all sectors of society to celebrate harmony among religious communities worldwide. Wherever polarizations exist, the call for harmony through concrete activities that demonstrate respectful civic discourse and engagement builds bridges of understanding and healing.

Earth Day 2020 (April 22nd), will celebrate its 50th Anniversary and is seeking to enlist more than one billion people and create a new generation of climate activists. The Parliament’s Climate Action Task Force will announce important initiatives as a run-up to Earth Day 2020 and will continue the development of its groundbreaking Climate Commitment’s Project. This web-based research tool will map and join communities of faith from all over the world that are working on climate change that will allow for greater collaboration, the posting of inspiring metrics and guideposts for on the ground successes, and celebrations in joyous service to the environment from our faith traditions.

August 6, and 9, 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The UN General Assembly also observes  September 26th  as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The Parliament will actively participate in and co-sponsor several commemorative events on these historically significant days, and will continue its work for the abolition of nuclear weapons throughout 2020, and beyond. A meeting in June, 2019, with the Honorable Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima built upon the Parliament’s strong commitment to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

September 25, 2020 will mark the 5th Anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDG) which are comprised of 17 goals which are designed to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce climate change and address inequalities by 2030. The Parliament’s Call to Our Guiding Institutions is a seminal document that is grounded in the Parliament’s Global Ethic: that should be read in conjunction with the 17 SDGs to grasp the magnitude of the Parliament’s years of work that preceded the formulation of the SDGS. Both the Parliament’s Call To Our Guiding Institutions and Global Ethic were developed through broad consultations with diverse constituents that long demonstrated the importance of this cooperative paradigm. The Parliament’s Global Ethic and its five directives will continue to be central to the Parliament’s work.

The Parliament will support the UN Strategy and Plan of Action Against Hate Speech that calls for a key commitment to promote intercultural, interfaith and intrareligious dialogue and mutual understanding in fostering peaceful, inclusive and just societies to address the root causes and drivers of hate speech.

The Parliament will also support the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites so worshipers can feel safe to observe their rituals and practices in peace. The recent spate of violence in houses of worship against parishioners and the desecration of sacred sites gives urgency to communities of faith to engage in cooperative action to ensure the safety and protection of worshippers,  and the enforcement of international, national and local laws that ensure the right to worship in peace and safety.

The important work of the Parliament is made possible through the generous support of our donors, volunteers, partners, and communities of faith around the world to whom we convey our deepest appreciation. As we welcome 2020, your presence in the life of the Parliament sparkle as points of inspiration that demonstrate when people of goodwill work hand in hand in selfless service to help others, the world becomes a home filled with love, respect and compassion. Together, we are building such a home

Our best wishes to you and your loved ones for a very Happy New Year.

Warmest regards,

Audrey E. Kitagawa
Chair, Parliament of the World’s Religions