LETTERS TO URI

Victor H Kazanjian JR

Dear Sisters and Brothers in URI North India and Afghanistan,
Our world is in pain. Environmental calamities are appearing on every continent. The nuclear threat is frighteningly real. Shocking negative behavior is so frequent it risks appearing normal. The murder of innocents rips at our souls and calls us to come together in support of one another and to reaffirm our common humanity and the values that promote life and love. URI’s network of more than 1010 interfaith grassroots cooperation circles in 108 countries stands as a bulwark of hopeful commitment to peace, justice and healing in the face of the world’s pain. You are a crucial part of this network. By working at the grassroots we come together in solidarity across differences of belief, of nationality, and of ethnic group to work for the world we believe is possible. In June of this year URI hosted “Accelerate Peace”, a global interfaith peacebuilding conference in California. This was a wonderful celebration of URI’s journey over the past 20 years. People of many different people of the world’s religious, spiritual and indigenous traditions from more than 25 countries gathered to address peacebuilding as it relates to our lives on an everyday basis, covering a range of topics. There was inspiring talk, and there was a focus on committed action. We were honoured to have both Former U.S.Secretary of State the Honorable George P. Shultz, His Excellency Adama Dieng, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Azza Karam Senior Advisor, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and Coordinator, UN InterAgency Task Force on Religion and Development and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati President of Divine Shaki Foundation publicly declared their support for URI and its work at the conference. The celebration of URI’s members and their work will continue in India this November with the National Assembly. Hosting about 25% of all of URI’s ccs in the global network, India and its nearby neighbors are rising up to pledge and to take action for a more peaceful, safer tomorrow. This Conference of Faiths for Peace promises to be inspiring, invigorating, and informative, just as the Accelerate Peace conference was in June. I look forward to being with many of you in Varanasi.