United for a Culture of Peace through Interfaith Harmony

UN General Assembly Hall United for a Culture of Peace event

by Alexander Haines

Rochelle Rawls-Shaw and I attended and participated in “United for a Culture of Peace” today in the United Nations General Assembly hall. Through this event, the UN community observed World Interfaith Harmony Week.

We had the opportunity to enjoy the musical talents of several performers, hear speakers from the UN community, and pray with representatives of all major world religious traditions. H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, the current President of the United Nations General Assembly, offered opening remarks in which he asked us to “re-embrace the calls of our respective faiths” to put our “faith in the Almighty, in his plan, and in his divine power,” a good reminder for this Lenten season.

UN representatives, activists and religious leaders spoke of faith communities’ cooperative work in such diverse areas as global nuclear disarmament, the remembrance of the Holocaust, protection of religious minorities, ending violence against women, respect toward all descendants of Adam and Eve, and Confucian wisdom for peace. Representatives from Indigenous, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian peoples offered affirmations and prayers. The gathering closed with a parade of flags, with those assembled saying together “May peace prevail in…” for each country represented, and finally, emphatically shouting “May peace prevail on earth!”

The photo shows the Rev. Kathleen Stone (United Methodist Church), at the podium alongside representatives of other faiths, offers a prayer for peace and justice in the world. Dolores Rowen took the photo.

Alexander Haines is a student at Princeton Theological Seminar who is doing a field education placement with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

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