Spotlight on the G20 Interfaith Conference in Addis Ababa.

From April 15th to 16th, Addis Ababa is proudly hosting the G20 Interfaith Conference, themed “Interfaith Collective Action to foster peaceful coexistence, human dignity, development, preservation of the environment, and to counter hate speech, violence, and xenophobia.” This significant event is marked by the presence of diverse religious leaders, government officials, and international delegates, under the patronage of President Sahle-Work Zewde and organized in partnership with key bodies like the Interreligious Council of Ethiopia, the African Union, and several interfaith organizations.

The primary goal of this conference is to champion the cause of interfaith harmony and cooperation, particularly emphasizing issues such as human dignity and environmental preservation. This aligns with the broader objectives of the G20 Interfaith Forum, which seeks to bridge the gap between religious discourse and global policy issues. Since its inception in 2014, the forum has tackled a diverse array of topics ranging from economic systems to education, health, and human rights, underscoring the integral role of religious and philosophical perspectives in fostering global peace and development.

As this conference reaches its culmination today, Father Charles, Director of the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa, shared his reflections, invoking Pope Francis’ teachings on the necessity of global cooperation. “In the spirit of Pope Francis’ wisdom, this conference underscores the imperative for global solidarity to resolve the pressing crises facing our world today. His Holiness consistently highlights the power of collective action in overcoming challenges like poverty, injustice, and climate change, which this forum earnestly seeks to address.”

This year’s conference is not only commemorating World Interfaith Harmony Week but also marking the 2024 Golden Rule Day, reinforcing the universal principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. It provided a platform for dialogue and sharing best practices, with a focus on enhancing peace and harmony through collective, interfaith efforts.

The G20 Interfaith Forum has become a pivotal platform for promoting peaceful relations and effective policy actions through faith-based advocacy since its inception. It tackles a broad spectrum of global issues including economic inequality, education, health, and the rule of law, with each year’s agenda informed by both the G20 priorities and the insights of the global religious community.

The ongoing work and outcomes of the G20 Interfaith Forum are crucial, especially as they provide substantive recommendations to the G20 leaders, aiming to influence policies that impact both national and international communities. As the forum continues to evolve, it remains a pivotal space for advocating the powerful impact of religious and interfaith dialogue in addressing contemporary global issues.

The discussions in Addis Ababa will no doubt contribute valuable perspectives and commitments to the global efforts in fostering interfaith dialogue and cooperation, resonating with the teachings of religious leaders like Pope Francis who advocate for a more compassionate and cooperative world.

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