The Words of the Samura Family
Freetown, Sierra Leone -- UPF-Sierra Leone held a special consultation on "The Interfaith Council, Plus 10: The UN and the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations" on August 26 at the ENCISSS Conference Hall in Freetown.
Thirty Ambassadors for Peace and representatives of peace organizations converged to deliberate on the above topic and make recommendations to UPF International in support of including an inter-religious council or religious assembly at the United Nations.
As a chapter, we submit the following recommendations as ways to advance sustainable peace and development in the world:
1. Since the thrust of the UN is to promote peace and development for all humanity, God should be recognized as the source of true love and peace.
2. Religious leaders should be included in the UN as a way to promote spiritual values and bring the presence of God into deliberations of global issues.
3. An inter-religious assembly consisting of reputable religious ambassadors representing their nations can promote dialogue, respect, compassion, and world peace.
4. Those selected as religious ambassadors to serve at the UN should be people of high morals and integrity in order to serve as good role models.
5. Peace zones should be established in conflict areas and overseen by religious ambassadors serving as custodians of peace in the best interests of all the nations in the world.
We adopted the following mission statement:
"In order to give hope to the citizens of this world, especially to our succeeding generations, there is an urgent need for the United Nations to work in collaboration with religious leaders to complement the effort of UN to bring sustainable peace and human development to the world."
The deliberations received media coverage by both electronic and print media. The UPF Secretary General was interviewed by the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, the national television network sponsored by the UN, to explain UPF's proposal for an inter-religious council at the UN.
Former President of Sierra Leone Dr. Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has expressed support for this proposal: "The vision for the inclusion of the inter-religious council is a laudable effort," he said, "and I pray for such a move to be welcomed during UN Assembly in New York."
1. In 2005, UPF organized an inter-religious meeting at the Freetown Central Mosque to promote inter-religious awareness, harmony, and respect for one another.
2. In 2006, UPF organized a workshop for Ambassadors for Peace on the theme of peace and development. It encouraged participants to serve as role models of peace in the family, communities, nations, and the world.
3. In 2007, Ambassadors for Peace served as election monitors, assisting in facilitating a peaceful democratic process in the August presidential and parliamentary elections and in the run-off election for president the following month.
4. An International Leadership Conference was held on the theme of "Good Governance and Leadership for Parliamentarians" in a Parliament committee room in December 2007. It promoted principles of good leadership and governance for legislators.
5. In 2008 April UPF organized another International Leadership Conference for Members of Parliament on the theme of "Good Governance and Development for Parliamentarians." It called on parliamentarians to be models of good leadership for their constituencies. We as a chapter intend to carry out a series of activities to complement the UN's efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, reaching out to religious organizations, government institutions, and UN staff.