On the auspicious occasion of Vasant Panchami and during the ongoing Interfaith Harmony Week, we are so glad to share with you this special webinar on the ‘Role of Religious Leaders in fostering inclusive and peaceful societies in India,’ organized jointly by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and the Religions for Peace. This webinar brought together religious leaders and actors from India to discuss and reflect upon their role in building and sustaining a harmonious, inclusive and peaceful societies. It discussed how the pandemic has impacted already marginalized and vulnerable populations with narratives of intolerance and discrimination. The webinar looked at good practices and lessons learned on how religious leaders and faith communities have been addressing these issues and promoting tolerance, acceptance and inclusion of all groups.
The webinar began with opening remarks by Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, then moved into address and blessings by Pujya Swamiji, Pujya Sri Sriji, Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasiji, Dr Chinmaya Pandyaji, Ven Dhammapiyaji, Pujya Rakeshbhai Jhaveriji, Sadhguru Madhusudan Saiji, Father Felix, Haji Syed Salman Chisthyji, Sadhvi Shilapaiji Maharaj, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Father Philip. It was broken up into two panels beautifully moderated by Deepika Singh, Associate Secretary General and Director of Programmes at Religions for Peace and Ganga Nandini Tripathi, Director of Project Implementation and Communications, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance concluding with vote of thanks and concluding remarks by Denise Hauser from Office of UN Genocide Preventation.
The webinar familiarised faith leaders with the Fez Plan of Action for religious leaders and actors and identified areas and recommendations that could be applied and implemented in the context of India. It also explored next steps as the establishment of a network of religious leaders and faith-based actors with focus on fostering peaceful and inclusive societies in the country.
Today, on this auspicious occasion when we celebrate interfaith harmony with this special premiere, let us all come together, hand in hand and heart in heart to sustain the diverse and beautiful coming together of interfaith traditions which have and will always will be a very core and integral part of India’s rich history and heritage.