About World Interfaith Harmony Week

World Interfaith Harmony Week LogoWorld Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event in the first week of February each year. This is an activity supported by member-states of the United Nations.

The foundation to World Interfaith Harmony Week lies in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This declaration enjoins on all nations to follow freedom of religion and belief and the practice of that belief, in whatever form or rituals that expresses a belief-system.

The United Nations went one step further in forming the Alliance of Civilisations. The Alliance of Civilizations was proposed by the Prime Minister of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the 59th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 2005. It was co-sponsored by the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. The initiative seeks to galvanize international action against extremism through the forging of international, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

You can read about the Foundations of World Interfaith Harmony Week here

You can read about the Seeds of World Interfaith Harmony week here

You can read articles about World Interfaith Harmony Week events here

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UN Interfaith Voices Speak Out Against Poverty

UN, I don't want to be poor anymore

Voices of Faith Speaking Out Against Poverty is an Interfaith Initiative at the United Nations Post 2015 Sustainable Development Working Group. This Working Group and the associated Religious Non Government Organsiations seek to create a path towards a world without poverty.

Read more…UN Interfaith Voices Speak Out Against Poverty

Victorian Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network 2014

Victorian Multicultural Commission

Made up of 16 to 25 year old Victorians from all faiths and cultural backgrounds, the MMYN advises the Victorian Government on issues affecting youth from diverse cultural, religious and linguistic communities making up Victoria. Recruits for the 2014 MMYN team are now being sought.

Read more…Victorian Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network 2014

Interfaith and The Arts

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The arts have always been a powerful medium for bringing about more understanding, respect, and opening the hearts of people from diverse cultures. The arts may include: music, song, theatre, poetry, film, multimedia, dance, visual arts and many other forms.

When we admire an artwork, a performance or any artistic accomplishment, not only do we increase our understanding but we also increase our respect for the peoples and the cultures, which produced them.

Here are some reflections about the role of the arts from members of the Arts and Culture Committee, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Melbourne 2009.

Rev. Helen Summers
Interfaith Minister
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne

“Art has always communicated at levels that words rarely can, especially across languages and cultures. Art knows no boundaries and can affect lives as well as understandings.”

Sr. Rosemary Crumlin, Sister of Mercy,
Curator, Images of Religion in Australian Art

‘To the arts belongs a common language that moves beyond words. I invite you to the artistic and spiritual beauty of the 7th century Muslim scholar and poet, Jalal Al-Din Rumi:

This is how it always is
When I finish a poem.
A great silence overcomes me.
And I wonder why I ever thought
To use language

“It is the silence, the intangible, the space [in which] we learn to share.”

Nur Shkembi
Muslim
Arts Officer, The Islamic Council of Victoria

“All great spiritual traditions have a suspicion of talk and an exultation of art in praise of the divine, the great integrity, the ultimate dimension, God, or simply, the Allness of things. It should not be a choice between the two, but a balance of both, and balance implies some equality.”

Ian Roberts
Buddhist
Former Director, Melbourne International Arts Festival

“It is quite difficult to express and to evoke the spirit verbally. Music and the visual arts are powerful vehicles to convey the metaphysical spirit. Through the plastic arts artists express their experiences of the world imaginatively, personally and symbolically. They gift the viewer with a glimpse into their souls. They also challenge the viewer to enter their private world to contemplate the artist’s creation and their own responses. Engagement in the visual arts is a conversation, a silent conversation about values, fears, love, the beauty and ugliness of the world in which we all live and the belief systems that underpin us all as individuals and as community members.”

Dr Helen Light AM
Jewish
Former Director, The Jewish Museum of Australia

You can read more about Interfaith and The Arts here.