a) The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of Peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We are a global, grassroots organization, with locally active groups on all continents who are globally connected by the principles of URI. We are widely open to participation and collaboration. Any group of at least seven individuals including at least three diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions may be a member of URI.
b) Our Peacebuilding activities come under several of the paths, including Education, Environment and Culture, however, all are done as interfaith community actions. Despite the difficulties in the Middle East, the Israel Interfaith Association has continued a program in which Muslims, Jews and Christians come together to share their beliefs and thereby deepen understanding and trust. In Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi and other countries in Africa, URI Cooperation Circles have ongoing work that includes interfaith dialogue, education, AIDS prevention, economic development and conflict transformation. We have planned a program of multi-cultural and inter-religious conflict transformation workshops that would provide training of trainers in Uganda, Ethiopia and the Philippines. Our Manipur, India, group led a successful effort to have curfews lifted and violence reduced in their state. The leading work for our Circles in Korea is a program of religious education, presenting different religions to a diverse audience. And in Latin America, work ranges from Viva Rio’s program to turn in handguns (100,000 at a recent event) to creating inter-religious curricula for public schools programs in Argentina as a result of their new national law on religious freedom.
We continue to bring forth in all our endeavors a positive approach to Peacebuilding, notably through the use of the Appreciative Inquiry, an innovative methodology for organizational development, as well as through our commitment to include those voices not often heard.