Living Together in Mutual Respect and Dignity: The Legacies of Nelson Madiba Mandela

Remarks of Basil Ugorji, ICERM Founder and President, on the life of Nelson Madiba Mandela

Greetings and Happy Holidays!

This holiday season is a period when families, friends and acquaintances come together to celebrate. We, at the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation, wish to come together to listen to, talk with, learn from, understand and share with one another. We thank you for all the contributions you have made to ICERM this year.

Recently, one of the heroes of the 21st century, Nelson Madiba Mandela, died and the whole world gathered together to celebrate his legacies. As a true symbol of interracial, interethnic and interreligious mediation, dialogue and peace, Nelson Madiba Mandela has taught us that in order to stop war and violence; we must learn to live together in mutual respect and dignity. Madiba’s message is an essential part of the mission of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation.

We, like Madiba, have resolved to promote a culture of peace among, between and within ethnic and religious groups through research, education and training, expert consultation, dialogue and mediation, and rapid response projects. We are committed to creating a new world characterized by peace, irrespective of cultural, ethnic and religious differences. We strongly believe that the use of mediation and dialogue in preventing and resolving ethnic and religious conflicts in countries around the world is the key to creating sustainable peace.

As part of our efforts to mobilize and engage the people who have shown interest in our mission, and as a unique contribution for a peaceful world, we have initiated the Living Together Movement. I therefore invite you to join the movement.

About the Living Together Movement:

The Living Together Movement is a new civic movement made up of peace-driven individuals who recognize the same humanity in all peoples, and are passionate about bridging the gap between different races, ethnicities, religions, political views, genders, generations and nationalities, in order to increase respect, tolerance, acceptance, understanding and harmony in the world.

We come together every month to listen to, talk with, learn from, understand and share with one another. Each member enriches the group with a unique story and cultural background. Everyone is given an equal opportunity to talk about his or her cultural background and feelings, or any topics of interest, including but not limited to security issues, politics, policies, war, conflict, conflict resolution, human dignity, forgiveness, foreign relations, world peace, economy, education, employment, family, health, immigration, science and technology.

We practice empathic listening, and do not judge or criticize anyone. Our goal is to truly understand the other before seeking to be understood; and to focus on what the other person is saying rather than what we are going to say next.

We celebrate our diversity in a symbolic manner with the traditional arts, songs, food and drinks that our members bring to the living together meeting.

Within a short time, we expect to experience the multiplication effect of this movement. With your help, we hope that the formation of the Living Together Movement groups will increase and spread across cities, states and nations.

Please register today on our website. We also encourage you to become a Bridge Builder and start a Living Together Movement group in your school, community, city, state or province. We’ll provide you with all the resources and training you’ll need to start your group, and help you to get it going. Also invite your friends and colleagues to join, and spread the word. Living Together Movement – Our diversity is our strength and pride!


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