Interfaith Summit 2012: New Interfaith Paradigm for the 21st Century
By: Carmelo Balagtas
Various news are often been reported about violence, anarchism, discrimination and turmoil among the youth. As these information are well communicated in various media channels, different organizations have started making efforts envisioning an era of peace.
To give solution to the misuse of freedom, misunderstanding of human rights and of the human dignity, a dialogue was made among young leaders from different parts of the world namely: Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Libya, Indonesia and many others. In the summit’s vision for global peace, these young leaders holding diverse backgrounds meet to talk about issues facing both the social and economic problems and provide solutions to overcome raised issues
The interfaith summit was held in Bali, Indonesia from 5-7 October 2012.The island of Bali holds several ethnic groups and religious differences that make it special for the participants to understand that by these, it may be inescapable to clarify the principles and values that can form the basis of social cohesion. Distinct speakers that support the essence of our common identity – “that people are spiritual being who shares a common origin”- talked about their work in support of this new interfaith paradigm. First Secretary of Norwegian Ambassador, Torril Wanvik shared her thoughts on this and how it is vital that such congregation is held for young people to discuss and be part of in moulding solutions. YoungJun Kim, Global Peach Festival Foundation USA or GPFF initiated a discourse on role of a religion and universal principles for national cohesion. Several more distinct guests- Youth Program Director of US Embassy, Representatives from GPFF Indonesia and Turkey Ambassador to Indonesia – guided the participants in seeing a different perspective on interfaith cooperation. Truly it is in collective effort can we all make an effective impact to this new interfaith paradigm proposal.
Having attended the summit in Bali, I am fortunate to have been exposed to young people carrying different faiths. Through our open dialogue about our beliefs, we were able to gain great capacity to respect and understand each other’s point on view on certain issues. Being the only Catholic in the pack, where mostly are Islam, I hear several commonalities with Muslims on how we are guided by the God we know in living a true life. It is basically from one speaker’s talk about the role of religion, Divine and Civic Focus, can we all appreciate the conviction we carry. One speaks about connecting to God through teaching sacred tenets, Divine Focus while the other encourages to raise social conscience and to define civic virtuous, Civic Focus. We could agree more to what Civic Focus’ explains and through instilling a culture of volunteerism, explained to us by James Spoon of GPFF, can we magnify mutual understanding amongst nations. Universal Truths and Principles supplements all that we envision where absolute truths guide us to comprehend man’s search for meaning. From the summit’s own, “interfaith cooperation begins from the recognition that all people are endowed by the creator with equal value and therefore shares a common spiritual heritage”, is the core essence of why participants were called to the summit, to inseminate awareness that would encourage everyone regardless of background to live with integrity, tolerance and respect to the differences and to promote human dignity in the long run.