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World Harmony Day at the UN Highlights the Culture of Peace
an article by Anne Creter, Global Movement for the Culture of Peace

United for a Culture of Peace Through Interfaith Harmony was the theme of this year’s uplifting second annual World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) celebration. “Culture of peace” echoed throughout the program from a symphony of diverse voices -- heads of state, leaders of different faith traditions, NGO’s and performing artists, young and old all come together. Amid profound speeches interspersed with enchanting music, poignant were the invocations of the faith leaders that crescendoed into a spectacular grand-finale World Peace Prayer Society flag ceremony.

click on photo to enlarge

The gathering was united for a culture of peace in proclaiming that interfaith harmony IS an essential building block for a culture of peace. In fact, the first sentence of the WIHW Resolution (A/RES/65/5) cites the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) among relevant prior UN Resolutions. Its #1 action item “reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.”

Its second action “proclaims the first week in February every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.”

It’s third action “encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, spread of the message of interfaith harmony and good will in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week based on love of God and love of one’s neighbour or love of the good … each according to their own religious traditions or convictions.” The Week seeks to unify persons of goodwill -- with or without faith -- in humanity’s common commandment to love. How fitting this unique, heartfelt happening should take place on 14 February, Saint Valentine’s Day - - the feast day of love. What more powerful global act of love for peace could there be on the planet that day? An evolutionary milestone (some might say miracle) occurred there this year too. For it was the first time interfaith prayers were ever collectively vocalized within those hallowed General Assembly walls -- a potent gesture of hope!

Religion ought to be a major force facilitating world peace. Sadly history has shown its misuse has done quite the opposite. Recognizing the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs that call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding, it is clear the remedy must come from them. That is why this UN observance is so important for cultivating a culture of peace. The WIHW seeks to turn the tide by coordinating all interfaith group efforts with one focused theme, at one specific time annually, to increase their concerted momentum to transcend destructive forces.

The final action of the Resolution requests that the Secretary General keep the General Assembly informed of its implementation. Your active participation observing the WIHW (wherever you are and whatever your beliefs) will help fulfill that worthy intention.

For event details, visit the website: http:/ / .

Watch the entire program on UN WebTV, including statements from Mr. Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary General and Mr. Vuk Jeremic, General Assembly President h?term=interfaith+harmony.


Question(s) related to this article:

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?,

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Click here for articles since 2016.

This report was posted on February 23, 2013.