Religion, Faith, Dialogue & Sustainable Development in Vienna

Sadhviji’s trip to Vienna Focuses on Sustainable Development Goals and Intercultural Dialogue

11 DECEMBER 2019 VIENNA: As part of her ongoing association with numerous interfaith NGOs and United Nations organizations, Sadhviji returned to Vienna for several important meetings and events focusing on the role of religion in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

In Vienna for a steering committee meeting of the International Partnership for Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) Sadhviji also was invited to deliver the opening address at a special event on “Countering Hate Speech in the Digital Age”, organized by PaRD and KAICIID in honor of international #HumanRightsDay. In the address, Sadhviji shared that “whether we are speaking on a soap box or on social media, our words are arrows, shot from the bow of our mouths, and where they land and the impact of that landing are our responsibility.”

“Contrary to what we were taught in school about sticks and stones,” Sadhviji continued, “words CAN hurt — they lead to marginalization, discrimination, exclusion and of course to horrendous violence and atrocity crimes. . . . Human rights are not just something I get. Along with human rights we have human responsibilities. . . . Our right to freedom of speech ends at exactly the place other people’s right to live safe, healthy, free lives begins.” Watch her full speech here:

The Human Rights Day event was part of KAICIID & PaRD’s newly-launched program on hate speech prevention with the United Nations office on Prevention of Genocide and Responsibility to Protect.

Sadhviji also chaired the panel on SDG4 Dialogue and Education: Appreciating and Engaging Religious and Cultural Diversity, during a special 2-day event on SDG4, 5, 16 & 17 that KAICIID organized in honor of the graduation ceremony of the 2019 fellows. Sadhviji’s panel focused on the importance of equipping young people with competencies and skills to engage with diverse world-views and perspectives while providing the methods to do so. She emphasized that “Education is supposed to give us the tools to co-create the world we want to live in. The reading, writing, math and science are great for technology and innovation but if we want to create a world of peace, love and oneness we need youth who are connected, courageous and creative not just rote memorizers of facts.”

Other distinguished participants in the event included Chief Rabbi David Rosen; Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France, HE Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis; Secretary-General of the Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue, Mohammad Sammak; Chief of Global Practices at KAICIID, Anas Alabbadi; and, Director of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives and Senior Advisor to USAID Administrator, Kirsten Evans.

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GIWA is the globe’s first organization to bring together the leaders of all faiths and people from across India and around the world to inspire a planet where everyone, everywhere can have access to sustainable and healthy water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

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