Luncheon Reception on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, May 31, 2011

Informal Discussion on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue

The Committee of Religious NGOs, the Mission of the Philippines and UNESCO hosted 75 people for lunch and to share updates on interreligous and intercultural dialogue and initiatives on May 31, 2011. In attendance were representatives from 14 Missions: Philippines, United States, Indonesia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Liberia, Russia, Belarus, China, Italy, Surinam and Slovenia, the UK Consulate and five UN Agencies: UNESCO, UNICEF, DESA, UN Alliance of Civilizations and the UN Programme on Youth, as well as a wide range of NGOs.

Distinguished speakers included:

Mr. Philippe Kridelka, Director, UNESCO NY Office

H.E. Amb. Carlos D. Sorreta, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN

H.E. Amb. Bernadette Cavanagh, Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the UN

H.E. Amb. Yusra Khan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN

Mr. John Sammis, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

Mr. Marghoob Saleem Butt, Counselor, The Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN

Mr. Marc-Andre Dorel, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Rochelle Roca-Hachem, Culture Specialist, UNESCO

Conversation with Amb. Suzan Johnson Cook, Oct. 17, 2012

The Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN and
The Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief

co-hosted a conversation with

Suzan Johnson Cook
U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

At the Mission of the United States to the United Nations

Amb. Suzan Johnson Cook presented an update of her first year in office, including travel to meet with her counterparts in many countries of the world. She then took questions from the NGOs gathered, who represented a wide range of religions and cultures.

This was a historic occasion, since the U.S. Mission had not previously hosted a meeting of any NGO committees.

Peggy Kerry Introduces Amb. Johnson Cook

Peggy Kerry Introduces Amb. Johnson Cook

Amb. Suzan Johnson Cook Speaks

Amb. Suzan Johnson Cook Speaks

2011 Event

Our first conversation with Amb. Johnson Cook was held last year, on September 20, 2011 at the Baha’i UN office.

Amb. Johnson Cook and her colleague, Nasreen I. Badat, answered questions and listened with interest to RNGO concerns regarding the role of her office, which is under the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in encouraging religious freedom across the globe.

Information may be found at the Office of International Religious Freedom at www.state.gov/g/drl/irf.

Amb. Johnson Cook can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RFAmbassador.

International Day of Peace 2011: The Next Ten Years

The International Day of Peace RNGO Observance

Conversation on “The Next Ten Years”

The International Day of Peace was observed in partnership with the Office of the Chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations. Sept 21 opened with an observance in the Chapel with music by Aliza Hava and prayers from different traditions. Everyone had the opportunity to pray for the nations of the world and add their personal hopes for peace. This was followed by a light lunch and panel discussion on the second floor of the Church Center.

Amb. Kamal Speaks

The panel was titled, The Next Ten Years, and how to change from a culture of violence to a culture of peace. Amb. Ahmad Kamal of Pakistan, who now serves as Senior Fellow at UN Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR), shared some powerful thoughts about where we are now and what is needed. He talked about how public service was not about money in the past and how it was such a part of his family tradition. He shared some thoughts on how money has changed things, including economics, where money used to measure production not wealth. He shared that the poverty ratio between rich and poor is increasing, and looking at how NGOs and the UN operate more on talk than on actions – and how the doors to the UN literally closed to the NGOs over the years. His vision challenged and informed us.

Next was Thomas Uthup, Research and Education Manager of the Alliance for Civilizations. He shared research he did on UN Days and suggested that RNGOs consider using annual, monthly themes so that in ten years’ time, we would be able to share a body of work on specific issues.

The young voices of Christopher Dekki and Maya Saoud from IMCS International Movement for Catholic Students, IMCS- Pax Romana offered ideas, and shared hope and success storiesand that NGOs are action-oriented and not just talking about issues. They shared actions and hopes and encouraged us to involve youth from our organizations in the planning and in the activities at the UN.