UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE Southeast Asia & the Pacific Regional E-Newsletter

URI Regional Updates

URI Philippine CCs held first country meeting

The Country Meeting of the URI Cooperation Circles (CC) from all over the Philippines took place for the first time on October 31 – November 1, 2007 at the URI SEAP Regional Coordinating Office in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Metro Manila.

Five out of the six existing CCs in the archipelago participated. The leaders and representatives who were able to attend the meeting were: 1) Marites Africa (Peacemakers’ Circle CC leader); 2) Dr. Jo Kashim (Peacemakers’ CC member & URI MI Phil. Team member); 3) Sr. Sandra Clemente (URI-SEAP Global Trustee/ Regional Chair, & Kalinaw CC leader form Cebu); 4) Mr. Musa Sanguila (Pakigdait CC leader from Mindanao); 5) Mr. Boni Quirog (Bohol Goowill Volunteers CC leader CC); and 6) Mr. Ludwig Quirog (TULAY CC leader from Bohol). They were also joined by 7) Dr. Shakuntala Vaswani (URI-SEAP Regional Coordinator & Peacemakers’ Circle CC member), and 8) Mr. Orlan de Guzman, Jr. (URI-SEAP Reg’l Info.&Com. Officer & Peacemakers’ CC member).

The first face-to-face meeting of URI Philippines saw an inspiring and energizing gathering of leaders as they sought to touch-base and level-off with each other and get to know each of their CCs’ different programs and unique initiatives in interfaith peacebuilding. This was done through presentations of history and reports of activities & recent projects given by each CC.

As the two-day meeting progressed, more serious matters were taken up which includes URI leadership and organizational structure in the region, as well as evaluation of communications and CC-building. After an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges in the country, the members came up with plans and recommendations towards strengthening further the URI work in this part of the region.

In the coming months the CCs will engage in consistent and meaningful communications to strengthen leadership, plant new CCs, mobilize the youths and produce local audio visual materials for promoting URI work and peacebuilding workshops.

for more photos click on this link: http://uripilipinas.blogspot.com/2008/01/uri-philippines-first-country-meeting.html


The first stage of the Trustee Selection Process ended on November 15, 2008 with the closing of the nominations of Candidates.

In the Southeast Asia Pacific region 10 CCs had filed their eligibility forms.

A total of 5 candidates have been nominated from the region. They are :

Dr. Amir Farid Isahak from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ms.Marites Africa from Manila, Philippines
Sr. Sandra Clemente, RSCJ from Cebu, Philippines
Mr. Musa Sanguila from Mindanao, Philippines
Ms. Jessie Kaur-Singh from Melbourne, Australia.

The second stage is the elections of the THREE Trustees for a three year term on the Global Council.

The CCs eligible to vote will deliberate and will be casting their ballots between January 14 and April 4, 2008.

The Election results will be announced on April by e-mail and by the web.

URI Statement on the Crisis in the Middle East

(Approved by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Global Council of
the United Religions Initiative)

As trustees of the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative, we write to urge an immediate and complete ceasefire of violence that is currently happening in the Middle East, and a commitment by all parties, including the international community and the world's religions, to find the will to complete, implement and invest in a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We write as leaders of the URI, a global interfaith organization active in 70 countries, through the work of 400 member Cooperation Circles. URI's purpose is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We have many members in the Middle East, including Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and Egyptians. The URI has consultative status at the UN through ECOSOC.

As leaders of an interfaith organization dedicated to resolving conflict without resorting to violence, we recognize and laud the heroic work of Palestinians, Israelis and peace advocates all over the world who are dedicated to rising above the violence and working for peace, justice and healing.

We believe that a new day is possible when a comprehensive, just peace will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We call on all involved - Israelis and Palestinians, people of other nations, international bodies, religions, and grassroots groups working heroically for peace - to take the following steps to speed the dawning of that day:

* To stop the violence immediately.

* To supply immediate humanitarian aid to address urgent suffering and long-term aid to rebuild.

* To commit to negotiate, invest in and implement a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

* To invest in every means possible to weave a fabric of genuine, mutually honoring community among Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level.

* To invest less in armaments and more in social and economic infrastructure.

We commit to do all we are able, beginning with support for URI member Cooperation Circles in Israel and Palestine, and engaging our members around the world to help these steps be fulfilled.

And we commit to pray and meditate that violence will cease, peace prevail and a life of hope be restored to the long-suffering people of this region.

URI Global Youth CC Statement on the current situation in Gaza.

We, the members of the Global Youth Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, wish to express our concern at the current situation in Gaza. Conflict creates hardship and fear for people on both sides and takes its toll on civilians, both young and old, and the livelihood of communities and economies.

As a youth network we sympathise with our fellows, the young people who are caught up in the crisis, in both Gaza and in the Israeli communities that live in fear of rocket attacks. Young people are the future of any community and we feel that they should not have to live amidst a cycle of violence and hardship. In order for young people to make meaningful and healthy contributions to society, it is imperative that they grow and develop within a space of security and integrity.

We are also concerned about those who are vulnerable in these times, such as the elderly and the sick. They need access to medical resources and clean, safe environments. In times of crisis these people suffer the most because basic facilities are less accessible.

They also need to live without the fear created by constant attacks. This situation is robbing people on both sides of basic human rights that are theirs by international law.

We implore both sides to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation and reduce hostilities so that aid and supplies can reach the people of Gaza to alleviate their suffering and so the Israeli people can live without fear. It is our hope that both sides can cooperate in order to achieve a lasting peace and quality of life for all people. Our goal, as members of a global interfaith community, is to achieve this all over the world.