Religious Leaders Address Migration and Sustainable Development Through Religious Values and Ethics

In response to the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and one of the great ethical challenges of the 21st century, the third meeting of Ethics in Action addressed mass migration, emphasizing the underlying ethical principles that all communities affected by the refugee crisis share.


Third Meeting of Ethics in Action at the Vatican and Policy Recommendations to G20/T20 in Berlin

Focusing on the common inter-religious obligation to mobilize people of faith and good-will, the world’s religious leaders joined Pope Francis’ call and reaffirmed their religious obligations “to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate” refugees and migrants. They called for the “fullest development of each person and all people, allowing them to become active agents of their own development. This includes the full integration of migrants into the economic, social, political, and cultural life of the nation or their choice for a speedy and safe return to their homelands as circumstances permit.” See the full text of the statement here.

Ethics in Action, an initiative launched by Religions for Peace (RfP) in partnership with the Chancellor of Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the University of Notre Dame, convenes a select group of religious leaders, theologians, academics, business and labor leaders, development practitioners, and activists to identify the values and ethics needed to advance concrete actions in response to global challenges to advancing integral and sustainable development.


 (Front Row L-R: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Dr. Mohammad al-Sammak; Second Row L-R: Rev. Kosho Niwano, Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Ms. Liza Barrie)

Representing the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, and Muslim religious traditions along with new developments in academia, business, and activism, the leaders who participated in the meeting included: Sharif Azami, Officer, Fetzer Institute; Robert Boisture, President, Fetzer Institute; Ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, Dean, Department of Islamic Studies at the Academy of Sciences of Iran; H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, Vice President, Conference of European Churches; Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Co Founder, Zaytuna College; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism; Rev. Kosho Niwano, H.E. John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, President-Designate, Rissho Kosei-Kai; Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College, Minnesota; H.E. Dr. Mohammad al-Sammak, Secretary General, Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue; Dr. Anthony Annett, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor, Columbia University and RfP; Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General, RfP; and Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General, RfP.



The third Ethics in Action meeting culminated in Dr. Vendley and Ms. Liza Barrie, Chief, Civil Society Partnerships, UNICEF, launching Faith Over Fear, a global campaign co-led by RfP and UNICEF to inspire people of all faiths to welcome and help refugees. The campaign shares a series of stories about families of faith from around the world who have opened their hearts, homes, and communities to refugees. By lifting up these heartwarming examples, RfP hopes to contribute to a more welcoming environment for refugees around the globe. Visit the campaign website here.


 -R: Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Dr. Anthony Annett, Dr. Mohammad al-Sammak, Dr. William F. Vendley, Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis at the T20 Summit)

Following the Ethics in Action meeting, RfP leaders; H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Prof. Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, H.E. Dr. Mohammad al-Sammak, Dr. Anthony Annett, Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, and Dr. William F. Vendley convened in Berlin to participate on a panel titled “Role of Religion in Global Problem-Solving” at the THINK 20 Summit. The panelists emphasized the importance of a moral framework when striving for sustainable development and presented a policy brief, “Multi-Religious Consensus on the Ethics of Sustainable Development: Reflections of the Ethics in Action Initiative” that will be delivered at the G20 Summit in July. Read the policy brief here.


 (Ethics in Action participants; Center: Rabbi Rick Jacobs)


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 90 national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Interfaith Youth Network. 


777 United Nations Plaza I New York, NY 10017 USA I Tel: 212 687-2163 I Fax: 212 983-0098