Unification News for November 2003

IIFWP Ambassadors for Peace

by Nadine Andre

Over 100 Ambassadors for Peace were appointed in New York City at the New Yorker Hotel on 34th Street, Saturday, October 18, 2003. The Ambassadors for Peace program is one of the many projects sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, [IIFWP] and was co-sponsored by the American Clergy Leadership Conference [ACLC].

The program was the culmination of a 40 day volunteer mobilization, where volunteers from 8 nations came to NYC to work to support the inauguration of the Interreligious and International Peace Council which took place in New York on October 3, and to appoint Ambassadors for Peace, who are part of a global network of leaders representing a broad range of fields -- religion, politics, the media, academia, and civil society -- who work cooperatively for the sake of world peace. Throughout the United States over 4,000 Ambassadors for Peace have been appointed and throughout the world there are over 20,000 including heads and former heads of state including Abdurrahman Wahid, the former President of Indonesia, who has called for a reformation within Islam to reject violence.

"Peace will never be found through political and diplomatic solutions alone, said Ms. Roshan D’Souza, a seminary student now living in New York, originally from India, who attended the program. "Input from the world’s great religious traditions, working together for peace is a necessary part of the peace process and an idea whose time has come."

The principles that guide Ambassadors for Peace in their "public and private" lives include the elimination and going beyond boundaries of race, religion, and nationality -- the very things that often divide people; the promotion of interreligious and international respect, harmony, and cooperation amongst all peoples; the values of "living for the sake of others; and the promotion of a strong and healthy family life, as healthy families are the cornerstones for healthy and vibrant communities.

Among those appointed at Saturday’s program were Mr. Singh Mukhtiar and Partab Singh of the Sikh Center of New York, Imam Omar S. Abu Namous of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, and Mr. Muhammad A. Khan, national coordinator of the Islamic Circle of North America. Other local Christian and Jewish leaders, and a Buddhist monk from Taiwan, all pledged to work together for interreligious harmony.

The Ambassadors for Peace program also detailed an initiative where Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders traveled together to Jerusalem and Gaza to promote peace and march through the Holy City, against the warning by many that the trip would be dangerous. They visited the Al Aqsa Mosque and spent time in Gaza, illustrating a model of peace that has not been forthcoming in that region of the world.

As part of the month long program, on October 3, 2003 a Rally was held at the United Nations to support the inauguration of the Interreligious and International Peace Council. According to the police chief, it was the largest and most peaceful Rally ever held at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the United Nations. The IIFWP is also supporting an initiative that the Philippines has put forward before this session of the UN’s General Assembly to establish an Interreligious Council at the United Nations. The underlying premise of all these works is that politics and diplomacy alone cannot create world peace. Without the unity and support of the leaders who represent the world’s religions, peace will never be possible.

Mr. Amar Anand, a Sikh and freelance writer from India who was also appointed an Ambassador for Peace said, "Every place is a Holy land and we must be able to find a Holy place within each one of us. Then peace will truly be possible." The Ambassadors for Peace initiative will continue. For more information about this initiative please email nadine@iifwp.org.

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Tparents Home