World Interfaith Harmony Event
Diplomats, UN Officials and Civil Society Share Experiences at Event to Mark
World Interfaith Harmony Week
Geneva, February 7, 2011
The Permanent Missions of the United States of America and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan jointly sponsored a panel discussion on Interfaith Collaboration to mark the proclamation by the United Nations of the first World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council and Ambassador Shehab Madi, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations welcomed guests from other diplomatic missions, NGOs and civil society representatives to the February 7, 2011 event at the United States Mission.
Four panelists – Rashad Hussain, President Obama’s Special Envoy to the OIC, Father Nabil Haddad, Founder and CEO of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, Randa Kuziez, a young interfaith activist from the United States, and Robin Sclafani, Director of CEJI, Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe – led a discussion on how to bridge interreligious divides and promote religious tolerance.
Opening the event, Ambassador Donahoe said the United States believes that governments must speak out against religious intolerance and employ tools to address it. “These tools include a combination of robust legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes, proactive government outreach, inter-religious efforts, education, and the vigorous defense of both freedom of religion and expression.”
“It is incumbent upon both governments and members of society to model respect, welcome diversity of belief, and build respectful societies based on open dialogue and debate.”
Special Envoy Hussain emphasized that tolerance is essential for religion to thrive and that freedom of religion is central to the ability of people’s to live together. The full text of Special Envoy Hussein’s remarks is available on the U.S. Mission website.
For more about the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony initiative, visit the website:

Photos by Eric Bridiers
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