A Westchester Nonprofit Organization Seeks To Repair Our Society’s Divides And Bridge Gaps Of Race, Ethnicity And Religion, One Conversation At A Time

September 9, 2022, White Plains, New York – The Westchester County is home to many nonprofit organizations working in different areas to help address humanity’s problems. As the United States and many other countries have become increasingly polarized, one organization, International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERMediation), is leading international efforts to identify ethnic, racial, and religious conflicts, and to mobilize resources to support peace and build inclusive communities in countries around the world.

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Since its founding in 2012, ICERMediation has been actively involved in a number of civic bridge building projects, including its ethno-religious mediation training through which participants are empowered to intervene in ethnic, racial, and religious conflicts in various sectors; Living Together Movement which is a nonpartisan community dialogue project that allows for a moment of transformation in a world of binary thinking and hateful rhetoric; and International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding held every year in partnership with participating colleges in the New York area. Through this conference, ICERMediation bridges theory, research, practice and policy, and builds international partnerships for inclusion, justice, sustainable development, and peace.

This year, Manhattanville College is co-hosting the International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. The conference is scheduled for September 28-29, 2022 in the Reid Castle at Manhattanville College, 2900 Purchase Street, Purchase, NY 10577. Everyone is invited to attend. The conference is open to the public.

The conference will end with the inauguration of International Divinity Day, a multi-religious and global celebration of any and every human soul seeking to commune with their Creator. In any language, culture, religion, and expression of human imagination, International Divinity Day is a statement for all people. International Divinity Day advocates for an individual’s right to exercise religious freedom. Civil society’s investment in promoting this inalienable right of all persons will foster a nation’s spiritual development, promote diversity and protect religious pluralism. International Divinity Day encourages multi-religious dialogue. Through this rich and necessary conversation, ignorance is irrevocably refuted. The concerted efforts of this initiative endeavor to foster global support for prevention and reduction of religiously and racially motivated violence – such as violent extremism, hate crime, and terrorism, through authentic engagement, education, partnerships, scholarly work, and practice. These are non-negotiable goals for every individual to promote and work toward in their personal lives, communities, regions, and nations. We invite all to join in this beautiful and sublime day of reflection, contemplation, community, service, culture, identity, and dialogue.

 “Economic, security and environmental development will continue to be challenged without first addressing the peaceful abatement of religious and ethnic conflicts,” said ICERMediation’s Public Affairs Coordinator Spencer McNairn at the United Nations Special High-Level Dialogue on Reconfirming the Development of Africa as a Priority of the United Nations System. “These developments will flourish if we can emphasize and collaborate to achieve the foundational freedom of religion—an international entity that has the power to motivate, inspire, and heal.”

Bridging societal divides and promoting conflict resolution and peacebuilding are deeply engrained in the life and experiences of the Founder and CEO of ICERMediation, a Nigerian American. Born in the aftermath of the Nigeria-Biafra War, Dr. Basil Ugorji’s impressions of the world were of a violent, politically charged landscape resulting from ethno-religious tensions which erupted following Nigeria’s independence from Britain. Committed to the amelioration of common values that foster mutual understanding, Dr. Ugorji joined a German based international catholic religious congregation for eight years until he took the heroic decision to become an instrument of peace and commit the rest of his life to fostering a culture of peace among, between, and within ethnic, racial, and religious groups around the world. Dr. Ugorji has always focused on the divine nature in every person and finds its recognition necessary for the pursuit of global peace. As systemic racism plagues the globalizing world, civilians are beaten for their religious, ethnic or racial appearance, and unrepresentative religious values are codified into law, Dr. Ugorji saw the need to solve this crisis by again, emphasizing the recognition of the divine nature that flows through us all.

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