One God in Three Faiths Conference: Opening Speech

Conference Synopsis

ICERM believes that conflicts involving religion create exceptional environments where both unique barriers (constraints) and resolution strategies (opportunities) emerge. Regardless of whether religion exists as the source of conflict, ingrained cultural ethos, shared values and mutual religious beliefs have the ability to substantially affect both the process and outcome of conflict resolution.

Relying on various case studies, research findings, and practical lessons learned, the 2016 Annual International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding aims to investigate and promote the shared values in the Abrahamic religious traditions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The conference is intended to serve as a proactive platform for a continued discussion on and dissemination of information about the positive, prosocial roles that religious leaders and actors with shared Abrahamic traditions and values have played in the past and continue to play in strengthening social cohesion, peaceful settlement of disputes, interfaith dialogue & understanding, and the mediation process. The conference will highlight how the shared values in Judaism, Christianity and Islam could be utilized to foster a culture of peace, enhance the mediation and dialogue processes and outcomes, and educate the mediators of religious and ethno-political conflicts as well as policymakers and other state and non-state actors working to reduce violence and resolve conflict.

The Needs, Problems and Opportunities

The theme and activities of the 2016 conference are highly needed by the conflict resolution community, faith groups, policymakers, and the general public, especially at this time when the media headlines are saturated by the negative views about religion and the impact of religious extremism and terrorism on national security and peaceful co-existence. This conference will serve as a timely platform to showcase the extent to which the religious leaders and faith based actors from the Abrahamic religious traditions —Judaism, Christianity and Islam – work together to foster a culture of peace in the world. As the role of religion in both intra and inter-state conflict continues to persist, and in some cases even heighten, mediators and facilitators are charged with reevaluating how religion can be used to countermand this trend in order to both address conflict and positively impact the overall conflict resolution process. Because the underlying assumption of this conference is that the Abrahamic religious traditions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam – possess a unique power and shared values that could be utilized to promote peace, it is necessary that the conflict resolution community dedicates substantial research resources toward understanding the extent to which these religions and faith based actors can positively influence conflict resolution strategies, processes and outcomes. The conference hopes to create a balanced model of conflict resolution that can be replicated for ethno-religious conflicts globally.

Main Objectives

  • Study and reveal the ingrained cultural ethos, shared values and mutual religious beliefs in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  • Provide an opportunity for participants from the Abrahamic religious traditions to reveal the peace-driven values in their religions and explain how they experience the sacred.
  • Investigate, promote and disseminate information about the shared values in the Abrahamic religious traditions.
  • Create a proactive platform for a continued discussion on and dissemination of information about the positive, prosocial roles that religious leaders and faith based actors with shared Abrahamic tradition and values have played in the past and continue to play in strengthening social cohesion, peaceful settlement of disputes, interfaith dialogue & understanding, and the mediation process.
  • Highlight how the shared values in Judaism, Christianity and Islam could be utilized to foster a culture of peace, enhance the mediation and dialogue processes and outcomes, and educate the mediators of religious and ethno-political conflicts as well as policymakers and other state and non-state actors working to reduce violence and resolve conflict.
  • Identify opportunities for including and utilizing shared religious values in the mediation processes of conflicts with religious components.
  • Explore and articulate the unique characteristics and resources that Judaism, Christianity and Islam bring to the peacemaking process.
  • Provide a proactive platform from which continued research into the diverse roles religion and faith based actors can play in conflict resolution could develop and thrive.
  • Help participants and the general public find unforeseen commonalities in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  • Develop lines of communications between and among hostile parties.
  • Promote peaceful coexistence, interfaith dialogue, and joint collaboration.

Basil Ugorji’s opening speech at the 2016 Annual International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding.
Theme: “One God in Three Faiths: Exploring the Shared Values in the Abrahamic Religious Traditions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam”

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