International: Partnership in “Ethics in Action” ~ Multireligious Collaboration for Positive Peace

religions for peace international
(New York, 21 February 2017) Religions for Peace (RfP) Co-Presidents, Honorary Presidents, and International Trustees were among the international leaders convened at the Vatican for the second meeting of Ethics in Action initiative on 2-3 February 2017.


(New York, 21 February 2017) Religions for Peace (RfP) Co-Presidents, Honorary Presidents, and International Trustees were among the international leaders convened at the Vatican for the second meeting of Ethics in Action initiative on 2-3 February 2017.

This meeting was on the all-important topic of peace, especially in the context of how the world’s religious communities can help guide the world back from the brink and reality of war and toward a vision of positive peace rooted in the unbreakable link between unfolding human dignity and advancing shared well-being. See the statement here.

Ethics in Action is a partnership co-hosted by the Chancellor of Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Religions for Peace, and the University of Notre Dame. It is committed to developing a multi-religious moral consensus on the great challenges related to advancing integral and sustainable development, and to utilizing this consensus as a basis for concrete action. The founders of Ethics in Action include the Blue Chip Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, Mrs. Christina Lee Brown (an RfP International Trustee), and Ms. Jacqueline Corbelli.


(Front Row, L-R: Prof. Anantanand Rambachan; Mrs. Aruna Oswal, Rev. Thomas Johnson; Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad)
(Second Row, L-R: Bishop Gunnar Stålsett’; Hadja Mariama Sow; H.E. Dr. Mohammad Sammak)
(Second Row Cont., L-R: Rabbi Sir David Rosen; Bishop Alastair Redfern)
(Third Row, L-R: Photographer, Mrs. Megumi Wada; Rev. Masahiro Nemoto; Rev. Kosho Niwano)

RfP leaders from the Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Hindu Jewish, and Muslim religious traditions participating in the meeting, included: Rev. Kosho Niwano, President-Designate of Rissho Kosei-kai; H.E. John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria; Mr. Steve Killelea, Founder & Executive Chairman of Integrated Research LTD, the Charitable Foundation and the Institute for Economics and Peace; Hadja Mariama Sow, President of the Muslim Women of Guinea; Mrs. Aruna Oswal, Vice President of the World Jain Conference; Mrs. Christina Lee Brown, Founder of the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil; Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, Bishop Emeritus of Oslo, Church of Norway; H.E. Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, Dean of the Department of Islamic Studies at the Academy of Sciences of Iran; H.E. Dr. Mohammad al-Sammak, Secretary General of the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue; H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel, Vice President, Conference of European Churches; and Rabbi Sir David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo -Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences-appealed to Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth, 1963) to argue that the vision of positive peace is built on the four pillars-truth, justice, charity, and liberty. Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of Promoting Integral Human Development, Roman Curia, and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, also represented the Vatican at the meeting.

RfP International Trustee Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, spoke on the causes of war and current dangers to peace.

RfP International Treasurer and Trustee Mr. Steve Killelea gave a presentation on the positive peace index and empirically grounded analysis of what drives positive peace.

Much of the meeting’s agenda focused on the positive role played by religious communities in peacebuilding across the world. Participants shared numerous grassroots inter-religious initiatives that have contributed markedly to peace within religiously and ethnically divided communities.


(L-R: H.E. Stefano Zamagni; Cardinal Onaiyekan, Cardinal Turkson, Ms. Eiko Soto, Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad)

The leaders issued the Ethics in Action Peace statement of their commitment, “We aim to mobilize the scientific, academic, and international community to spread the message that religion should not be instrumentalized and manipulated in the name of political agendas. Rather, the religious leaders are committed to reducing the fear in their communities, combating the lies that accompany the drumbeats of war, and actively promoting the virtues of positive peace and the institutions in their communities that embody and enact these virtues. This must include tackling the spread of hatred and violence via the internet and social media.”

RfP will also help advance the statement within its network.

“For the past 46 years, RfP has been taking action to both advance shared multi-religious elements of positive peace and overcome the threats to peace. RfP is deeply convinced that an updated multi-religious virtue ethics is essential to build a broad moral alliance across the religious communities of the world. Diverse religious traditions root human dignity in their respective experiences of transcendence and they are convinced-each in their own way-that the heart of a virtue ethic links the imperative to unfold human dignity with the obligation to advance the common good in “shared well-being,” stated Dr. William Vendley RfP Secretary General.


 (L-R: H.E. Bishop Marcelo Sorondo; Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, H.E. Giovanni Cardinal Re; and H.E. John Cardinal Onaiyekan)

RELIGIONS FOR PEACE-the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition-advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than eighty national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network.

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