Members of the WDC participated recently in the

Rio+20 the Halki Summit on Global Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability

Istanbul June 18-20 2012

Attended by the Bishop of London, The Rt. Revd & Rt Hon. Richard Chartres

The Halki Summit on Global Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability, co-sponsored by The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Southern New Hampshire University, opened  with a keynote address by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and remarks by Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University.

The summit,  on the island of Heybeliada, Turkey, was a conversation on environment, ethics and innovation, featuring sessions on Biodiversity and Conservation, Energy and Climate Change, and Economy and Innovation. Keynote session speakers included anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall, environmentalist Bill McKibben and Gary Hirshberg, chairman and former president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm.

Noted activists, scientists, journalists, business leaders, theologians, and academics  gathered on Heybeliada, to engage in critical conversation about global environmental issues focused on a core belief that no effort can truly be successful without a basic shift in values in ethics, spirituality and religion.

Beirut three-day Christian-Muslim peace conference 

18-20th June 2012

 “Building Justice and Peace in a Violent, Changing World,”

This event was one of a series –of which two more are planned – organized at Washington National Cathedral.

It was attended by Cardinals McCarrick and Tauran as well as Lord Carey.  Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, was one of four Iranian religious leaders also participating with many others.

The event concluded on a hopeful note here by issuing an appeal to religious leaders and institutions to collaborate on promoting human rights, self-determination, peaceful co-existence, and non-violence, particularly in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
“There are over five billion Christians and Muslims throughout the world, and although we do not speak for all of them, we are here to say that violence has no place in the teachings of Mohammed nor Jesus. We are here to say that no one, no one has the right to take the life of another in the name of God,” said the Rt. Rev. John Chane, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, in announcing the agreement to the more than two dozen delegates representing Episcopalians and Anglicans; Roman, Armenian, Melkite, and Maronite Catholics; and Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.

Fatima Conference, House of Lords

Women in the Abrahamic Religions as Peace Makers   14th June,2012

The Bishop of London The Rt. Revd and Rt. Hon Richard Chartres addressed the conference on the Christian theological heritage in this arena and the role Christian women as peace makers


The Fourth Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Doha

11-13th December 2011

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations convened its fourth annual Forum in Doha, Qatar from December 11-13, 2011.  Over 2,000 participants, including political and corporate leaders, civil society activists, youth groups, faith communities, research centers, foundations and journalists, came together to agree on joint actions to improve relations across cultures, combat prejudice and build lasting peace.

The Forum  was shaped by intense interaction among diverse cultural, religious and linguistic communities. This growing diversity is a source of enrichment and opportunity, but can also lead to tensions, misunderstanding and hostility. Building peaceful relations among diverse cultures has become one of the most important and challenging tasks faced by modern societies.  The Doha Forum  convened a diverse network of actors working on this issue to share ideas, learn from each other, and listen to the needs of the grassroots in different communities around the world.

The Lisbon Forum: "The "Arab spring": a major step towards making human rights real", at the Ismaili Center in Lisbon, 3-4 November 2011

Under the theme "The Arab Spring: a major step towards making universal human rights real”, the Lisbon Forum 2011 brought together more than 200 participants from 50 countries. In addition to its co-organisers, the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and the Alliance of Civilizations United Nations and its host, the Aga Khan Development, the Forum was able to count on the participation many relevant international actors, such as the European Union, the League of Arab States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the African Union, UNESCO, the International Federation of human Rights or the euro-Mediterranean for human Rights. It also count with the financial suport of the European Commission and the Principality of Liechtenstein.


The Third International Seminar on

International Relations and Religions, Trento, Italy October, 2011


The the seminar on Religion and International Relations took place on 20-21 October 2011 in Trento. The Seminar was organised and funded by the Foreign Ministry’s Analysis and Programming Unit in collaboration with the Institute for International Policy Studies (ISPI) and Trento Province. As is customary, the seminar coincided with the Religion Today Festival. This annual festival of short films featuring religious issues was dedicated this year to the subject of “The Euro-Mediterranean Region: religions and new perspectives for dialogue?”.

The Seminar, which took place in English, was divided into three sessions dedicated to:

1) post-secularism and the Euro-Mediterranean world

2) media and religious actors in the Euro-Mediterranean world

3) religions and new perspectives for dialogue in the Euromediterranean?

Participants included scholars in religion and international affairs subjects, experts from the Mediterranean region, representatives of various religions and other inter-faith dialogue actors.


International Conference on Christians in the Holy Land Lambeth Palace Monday 18 - Tuesday 19 July 2011


The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols jointly hosted a two day conference at Lambeth Palace in July this year to examine the situation of Christians in the Holy Land. The conference, and the process leading up to it and beyond, sought to identify ways in which Christians and others, particularly in western countries might contribute to ensuring the long term viability of the Christian communities of the Holy Land.

The two Archbishops were supported in this endeavour by the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem His Beatitude Fouad Twal and the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem the Rt Reverend Suheil Dawani both of whom attended the conference. A number of bishops from North America and Europe – members of the Coordination of Catholic Bishops Conferences in solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land and other Anglican and Catholic bishops with a strong interest and diocesan links with Christian communities and institutions in the Holy Land also participated. His Holiness Pope Benedict made clear that this process had his personal support and His Eminence Cardinal Tauran of the Holy See participated.


This event built upon the work of an earlier conference hosted at the Vatican in December 2010.



VATICAN CITY, December 13 Meeting on "the future of Christians in the Holy Land" convened by His Holiness the Pope

"By this initiative, which is of a pastoral nature, the Supreme Pontiff wishes to highlight once again his spiritual closeness to those peoples and to share the drama of their daily lives, too often tested by acts of violence and discrimination.  In the words of the Holy See’s Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls;  the meeting was attended by the cardinal secretary of State and his assistants together with “leaders of the different rites within the Catholic community in Jerusalem, a number of cardinals of the Roman Curia, pontifical representatives in Jordan and Israel, and representatives from certain national and international episcopal conferences that have always followed the unfolding events in the Holy Land with particular interest”. The meeting provided “an opportunity to bear witness to the Church's solicitude for Christians in the Holy Land, especially for the Catholic community, as well as to demonstrate a common commitment to the continuity of (the Church's) millenary presence in that region and to offer a specific contribution towards justice and reconciliation between all those whose faith has its roots there."


For a Report on the related prior meeting in October of the “Special Assembly for the Middle East” bringing together 172 bishops for two weeks to discuss the future of Christian communities in the Middle East see:



The Doha Pre-Forum meeting for Civil Society

Held in Qatar in May 2011


The WDC Director General attended this major event arranged in preparation for the Alliance of Civlizations Annual Forum to be held in December, 2011 Fourth Annual Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations  of the United Nations

The Pre-Forum meeting brought together more than 170 civil society leaders, representing regional and national networks from Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, North America, Asia and the MENA region.  The ambition to promote greater mutual understanding and cooperative action is essential to reduce tensions, to foster peace and to contribute to economic and social development.  The meeting addressed the key question posed by said HE Dr Jorge Sampaio, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. “How can we live together in a spirit of respect and cooperation while the increasing diversity of our societies can generate anxiety, divisions and pressure on fragile democracies?



For more information please see:

?Doha Civil Society Forum Website Forum Twitter account @qatar4unaoc?Pre-Forum Press Release?Program for the UNAOC Civil Society Pre-Forum?Concept Paper for the Civil Society Pre-Forum in Doha?Profiles of Participating CSOs

Leadership Consultation on

Faith, Health and Development


Canon Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff, the Director General of the WDC joined over 90 leaders of faith, health and development organizations from across the world gathered in November at Washington National Cathedral and at a meeting at the White House to recommend new ways to work together to deliver aid and care to the poorest people.


The group formally launched the Global Initiative for Faith, Health and Development.  More than 40 Task Force members, joined by leaders of faith communities, faith-based and secular development organizations and leaders of other related institutions collaborated on key outcomes including launching the Database Multireligious Collaborations and equipping Task Force members and other participants to disseminate the Strategic Framework for Action Report and related materials, and to use them for their own advocacy and action


??On November 23rd the group had its first major advocacy opportunity at a meeting with high level United States Government representatives at the White House.  Following a welcome from Reverend Joshua DuBois, and remarks by high-level USG representatives.  Bishop Dinis Sengulane of Mozambique, Ruth Messinger of American Jewish World Service, Abed Ayoub of Islamic Relief and Bill O’Keefe of Catholic Relief Services spoke on behalf of GIFHD Task Force and presented specific asks of the USG, including requests for a high level Working Group for  ongoing consultation with the faith sector in policy planning, support for the creation of multireligious collaborating mechanisms at the country level,  and support for tools and research supporting congregation mobilization for health and development at the local level in developing countries. The group was addressed by Dr. Nils Daulaire, USDHSS; Ms. Gayle Smith, NSC; and Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID.   Ms. Smith commended the value of the faith sector approach as a strategy for increased public sector engagement with the faith community, and Dr. Shah called for a roundtable to advise on the implementation of the recommendations at USAID.




The Lisbon Forum 4-5 November 2010

Of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe


Addressed by the Director General, Canon Macdonald-Radcliff, (See the Director General writes link for the text)  the Lisbon Forum is a platform for dialogue and for sharing experiences, expertise and good practices between Europe and the other continents, especially the Middle East, Africa and the countries on the south of the Mediterranean. The Forum has been held by the North-South Centre since 1994. It focuses on issues at the heart of the mandate and actions of the Council of Europe: human rights, democracy, the rule of law and intercultural dialogue. It has been enriched since 2006 by partnerships with the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law – also known as the Venice Commission - and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and, most recently, with the Alliance of Civilizations, operating under the aegis of the United Nations.

During the 2008 session, a new process was launched devoted to a particularly topical issue, the principle of universality of human rights and its implementation at international and regional level. On 10-11 November 2008, the participants carried out a general analysis of the situation 60 years after the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. On the basis of this analysis, a work programme was adopted for the upcoming years, focussing on the promotion, understanding and strengthening of human rights, as well as on present and future challenges in this field.


The following subjects were selected:


The impact of globalisation on human rights ?· The principle of equality between women and men ?· Freedom of expression, conscience and religion (2010)?· Human rights as a basis for the integration of cultural diversity ?· Security and freedom ?· Creating a culture of human rights through education (2009)?· The abolition of the death penalty.


Among these themes, the one chosen by the statutory bodies of the North-South Centre for the 2010 Lisbon Forum was


“Freedom of expression, conscience and religion”.


For a detailed overview of the conclusions see:




“Initiatives in Education, Science and Culture towards Enhanced US- Muslim Countries Collaborations”,

A Conference held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

from 16-18 June, 2010.


Recognizing the potential impact of President Obama’s Cairo speech and the urgent need to encourage the creation of a new relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt together with  a number of academic institutions, libraries and cultural institutions in both the US and Egypt and beyond organized an international conference entitled: “Initiatives in Education, Science and Culture towards Enhanced US- Muslim Countries Collaborations”, in Alexandria from June 16-18, 2010.


For full account see document : Bibliotecha Alexandrina Conference 2010