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G20 Interfaith Forum Hosts Parliament Chair for Special Discussion on Inequality

October 21, 2020

The G20 Interfaith Forum offers an annual platform where a network of religiously linked institutions and initiatives engage on global agendas (primarily and including the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs). The annual G20 Summits are a critical time and place where priority global issues are considered. The G20 process has evolved since it was established in 2008, with various platforms (ministerial meetings, engagement groups) that allow different sectors and communities to present ideas and recommendations to global leaders.
Objectives of the G20 Interfaith Forum include:
1. Exploring the links between economic development and religious freedom through informed, scholarly discussion.
2. Facilitating constructive dialogue between societal leaders in faith, government, business, media, education and other social institutions, on how interfaith resources can enhance social, economic. and cultural policies and programs for the well-being of all.
3. Fostering communication channels between the different faiths and sharing ideas, experiences, and “best practices” in building peace and harmony.
4. Discovering and affirming common values, virtues,  and principles among diverse faith and philosophic traditions
The 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum, hosted from October 13th through October 17th, seeks global solutions by collaborating with religious thought leaders and political representatives and calls upon the world’s political leaders to include religious actors in the policymaking process leading up to November’s 2020 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Riyadh as well as to build policy based on shared values of solidarity, coexistence and respect.
On Thursday, October 15th Parliament Chair, Audrey Kitagawa,  joined global experts for a virtual panel hosted as part of the forum on Inequality: gender, racism, and structural discrimination.
According to the organizers, “Inequality, of opportunity and of perceptions of what is fair and what is not, are central issues that global policymakers need to address. That includes religious leaders and communities, both as prophetic voices seeking action and accountability, and in addressing inequalities within their own communities.”
This panel discussion framed the issues around human dignity and notions of fairness, including obstacles and opportunities for economic and social participation. How do differing traditions reflect and apply cultural and religious norms? How can religious communities contribute to healing with respect to patterns of racial discrimination and reversing structural injustice? With respect to gender, women’s equality is a central issue, from wage gaps, exclusion from political processes, and undue burdens of caring. How can religious communities contribute more to empowering women, especially when traditional cultural norms often perpetuate inequality including in many religious institutions and practices?
The panel featured the participation of H.E. Adama Dieng, Former UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention Genocide; Dr. Ganoune Diop, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Maryland, USA; Audrey Kitagawa, Chair of the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions; Imam Yahya Pallavicini, President of the Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana (COREIS) in Italy; Ms. Asha Ramgobin, Director of Human Rights Development Initiative, South Africa; Ms. Lisa Winther, Senior Human Rights Advisor at the Stefanusalliansen, Norway; Mr. Peter Prove, Director of International Affairs at World Council of Churches; and moderated by Dr. Nawal Alhawsawi, marriage and family therapist and mental health counsellor; KAICIID Fellow.
Watch the full program below, courtesy of the International Dialogue Centre KAICIID YouTube channel. Additional programs from the Forum are available on their channel as The G20 Interfaith Forum playlist.