Religions for Peace Advances Partnerships
Between Governments and Religious Communities
at the Non-Aligned Movement Dialogue in Manila
—Secretary General Dr. William F. Vendley gives keynote
to more than 100 Foreign Ministers —
(NEW YORK, 19 March 2010)—Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, the largest and most representative global multi-religious coalition, called for partnerships between governments and religious bodies to stop war, fight poverty, and protect the earth.
Dr. Vendley spoke at the first Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial (NAM) Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development held on 16–18 March 2010 in Manila, the Philippines. There are 118 NAM member countries. More than 100 Foreign Ministers attended the three-day inter-faith dialogue hosted by the Philippine government.
“Religious communities and governments have different and quite distinct identities, mandates, and capacities,” Dr. Vendley said in his remarks. “Cooperation between them should respect these differences, even as it helps us all to build the peace for which our hearts hunger.”
The meeting was opened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who spoke by video; Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; United Nations General Assembly President Mr. Ali Abdussalam Treki; and Religions for Peace Secretary General Dr. William F. Vendley.
“The promotion of intercultural and interfaith dialogue and cooperation…is also a primary strategy to achieve peace,” said President Arroyo, adding her expressed hope that the Manila Declaration from the NAM meeting might include “an action plan of practical, action-oriented policies culled from numerous local, regional, and multilateral interfaith and intercultural dialogues.”
Dr. Vendley noted that nation states need to develop strategies for building broader partnerships with religious bodies. He said: “Each government’s main agencies need to become better equipped to enter into principled partnerships.”
The Nordic States, The Netherlands, and other governments have already built partnerships with religious and multi-religious bodies, including Religions for Peace, for concrete projects on conflict transformation, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and development. In addition, the Inter-religious Cooperation Task Force for U.S. President Barack Obama, on which Dr. Vendley serves, recently made recommendations designed to strengthen the U.S. Government’s capacity to partner with religious groups. Dr. Vendley said: “The Ministers in the NAM meeting can add critical momentum to the growth of partnerships between governments and religious bodies for the common good.”
Dr. Vendley was the only non-governmental official invited to address NAM’s meeting in Manila.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:
Ms. Andrea Louie, Religions for Peace
New York, USA
Tel: (+1) 212-687-2163
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE