World Interfaith Harmony Week 2024: Celebrating Interfaith Initiatives Around the World
World Interfaith Harmony Week, observed worldwide since 2010, amplifies the work of interfaith coalitions around the world and highlights the power of interfaith connection, dialogue and solidarity. This World Interfaith Harmony Week, WIN is shining a light on three different initiatives who give us hope the future of interfaith harmony.
The Parents Circle of the Bereaved Family Forum (PCFF)
The Parents Circle of the Bereaved Family Forum is a joint Israeli-Palestinian initiative, made up of over 600 families all of whom have lost someone to conflict in the region and who have come together to call for an end to violence and a lasting political resolution. Their message of peace and reconciliation in the face of unimaginable grief has never been more powerful or more urgent. Our Chair Lady Gilda Levy is a trustee of the UK Friends of the Bereaved Family Forum and shares why she is so inspired by their work:
“The story of conflict is very often a numbers game of casualties and injured which desensitises us to the suffering of those involved, but if we hear personal stories we soon realise the pain and horror of these terrible events and understand the cruelty and futility of war. These incredibly brave people have come together to share their grief and, by telling their personal stories, touch our hearts. Loss and pain do not discriminate.
I feel humbled to be a trustee of the UK Friends Of the bereaved Family Forum and do whatever I can to further their work, which is so aligned with the ethos of WIN.” – Lady Gilda Levy
Women’s Interfaith Council
The Women’s Interfaith Council brings together women leaders from Muslim and Christian faith communities in Nigeria to build common ground and work together for peacebuilding in the region. They provide vital training in Conflict Transformation and Interfaith Dialogue, and bring together a wide range of stakeholders to make sure women’s voices are at the heart of inter-religious dialogue as well as peace efforts on the ground.
Their team shared with us what World Interfaith Harmony Week means to them:
“The Interfaith Forum of Muslim and Christian Women’s Association a.k.a Women’s Interfaith Council (WIC) has its vision and mission in actualising the purpose of World Interfaith Harmony Week. The week is another opportunity to reinstate what we are already doing as women of faith working together as mothers of a culture of peace. It is also a time to renew our trust for each other, deepen our relationships and encourage our commitment in promoting a culture of peace in our divided society, irrespective of our differences in religion, culture and tribe, for peaceful coexistence. We also set aside the week to celebrate our oneness through our annual interfaith solidarity prayer.
Only peace can bring happiness, fulfilment, stability, progress and development. Let us unite and pursue what brings peace.”
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers
This global network was set up in 2013, in recognition of the often underestimated or over-looked role of faith communities in peace-building and mediation efforts. Bringing together a variety of stakeholders, faith groups and NGOs, the Network for Religious And Traditional Peacemakers runs programmes in different regions worldwide that connect grassroots peacemakers and community projects with global platforms and resources. They focus on building capacity for mediation and peace-building work within faith communities, as well as mobilising women and young people whose voices are often excluded. One current programme is Faiths4Vaccines, working to improve vaccine access and uptake by engaging religious institutions.