Religions for Peace advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace.
Multi-religious cooperation for peace is the hallmark of Religions for Peace. This cooperation includes but also goes beyond dialogue and bears fruit in common concrete action. Through Religions for Peace, diverse religious communities discern “deeply held and widely shared” moral concerns, such as transforming violent conflict, promoting just and harmonious societies, advancing human development and protecting the earth. Religions for Peace translates these shared moral concerns into concrete multi-religious action.
Principles - The Religions for Peace network advances multi-religious cooperation consistent with five guiding principles:
Respect religious differences.
Act on deeply held and widely shared values.
Preserve the identity of each religious community.
Honor the different ways religious communities are organized.
Support locally led multi-religious structures.
Structure - The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; more than seventy national and four regional inter-religious bodies and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.
The Religions for Peace Global Women of Faith Network launched in 2001 includes more than one thousand religious women’s organizations as well as growing regional women of faith networks in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. The Religions for Peace Global Youth Network comprises six regional inter-religious youth networks in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North America. Each inter-religious body affiliated with Religions for Peace is self-led, but also part of the global Religions for Peace network.
These action-oriented councils and groups and women and youth networks are not themselves religious sectarian organizations; rather, they are multi-religious and “public” in character. They are led by the representatives of diverse religious communities and are designed to provide a platform for cooperative action throughout the different levels of these religious communities, from grassroots to the senior-most leaders. Successful Religions for Peace bodies serve as bridges between diverse religious communities that can help build trust, reduce hostility in areas of conflict and provide a platform for common action.
The Religions for Peace network includes International Trustees – lay individuals from eleven countries – who personally support the work of Religions for Peace through the provision of needed competencies, networking and resource mobilization.
Approach - Religions for Peace recognizes that religious communities should be the main agents of multi-religious cooperation. Thus, Religions for Peace engages religious communities through their own representatives – leaders, outstanding persons, grassroots congregations and other organizational manifestations – in the work of building Religions for Peace affiliated structures on every level, local to global. A central feature of the Religions for Peace approach is its commitment to engage existing religious structures as the “building blocks” for multi-religious cooperation. This approach has great strength insofar as it can effectively and efficiently engage religious communities’ already existing strengths to build peace through the power of cooperation.
Method - The method for common action developed by Religions for Peace is unique, practical and open to continuous creativity. It assists religious communities to correlate, or work out a connection, between their capacities for action and specific challenges, such as violent threats to peace. The method, while simple, is powerful. When applied, it discloses large, often hidden or under-utilized capacities for action that lie within the reach of religious communities. Importantly, it also identifies the unique advantages of multi-religious cooperation and what kinds of capacity building are needed for effective multi-religious action.
Concretely, the method assists Religions for Peace to analyze specific problems, such as violent conflict; make an inventory of religious assets and the added values of cooperation; match these with needed problem-solving roles and identify areas of capacity building essential for common action.