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

A message from the URI hub: GC Trustees Elections

a letter from URI Executive Director,

May 5, 2008

Dear Friends,

Greetings of love and peace.

It is a joy to share with you the results of the trustee selection process in seven of URI’s eight regions (We expect that voting the Middle East and North Africa region will be completed by June 30th).

As you will see from the results below, the twenty-one trustees selected so far represent a diverse group of leaders from URI CCs. Nine are women, twelve are men. Fourteen are new trustees who will serve their first term, seven are current trustees who will serve another term. They come from sixteen countries and eight religions, spiritual expressions, indigenous traditions, and represent significant diversity within those eight families.

I would like to congratulate those who will serve on the 2008 Global Council, and thank all those who offered themselves in service but were not elected. I trust all will continue to offer powerful leadership in the URI during the coming three years. I look forward to welcoming three trustees from the MENA region once their election goes forward. I look forward to welcoming the three trustees the current Global Council selects to provide continuity and expertise on the new GC. I look forward to inaugurating the 2008 Global Council at the Global Assembly in Mayapur, India 30 November - 5 December 2008, as we honor the 2005 Global Council for their exemplary service over these past three years.

Now I ask you to welcome these members of the 2008 GC and to support them with your prayers and meditation in the months between now and the Global Assembly.

Rattan Kaur Channa, United Religions of Nairobi, Kenya Sikh, new trustee
Samuel Lubogo, Latter Glory of Religions in Busoga, Uganda, Christian, new trustee
Pelecinnah Josiah-Pele, Nigerian United Religions, Nigeria, Christian, new trustee

James Channan, Lahore-Pakistan, Christian, current trustee
Jinwol Lee, URI Korea, Korea, Buddhist, current trustee
Sushil Salwan, Central Delhi, India, Hindu, new trustee

Shaikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz, URI Europe, Germany, Sufi, current trustee
Elisabeth Lheure, Assoc. UNESCO/Diàleg Inter, Spain, Bahai, new trustee
Soroush Zand, Copenhagen, Denmark, Theosophist/Hindu, new trustee

Elias de Andrade Pinto, Grupo Inter-Rel. de São Paulo, Brazil, Christian, current trustee
Fany Avila Eleta, Mujeres Artesansa Kunas, Panama, Indigenous, new trustee
David Limo Pajar, URI Lima, Peru, Christian, new trustee

Linda Bennett Elder, The Pilgrimage Project, United States, Christian, new trustee
Yoland Trevino, Women and Spirituality, United States, Indigenous, current trustee
Matthew Paul Youde, URI Global Youth, United Kingdom, Christian, new trustee

Susanna McIlwaine, Interfaith Explorers of Northern Virgina, United States, Studying Sufism and Buddhism, new trustee
Adelia Sandoval, SARAH, United States, Christian, current trustee
Rebecca Gonzales-Tobias, The Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Jew, new trustee

Marites G. Africa, The Peacemakers Circle, Philippines, Christian, new trustee
Amir Farid Isahak, Malaysian Interfaith Network, Malaysia, Muslim, current trustee
Musa M. Sanguila, Pakigdait, Philippines, Muslim, new trustee

The official counting of the proxy ballots for this election was held at the URI global office in San Francisco, CA (USA), April 21, 2008. Witnesses included, Michelle Clark, Charles Gibbs, Barbara Hartford, Sally Mahe, Mark Mancao, Sam Ruben, Ray Signer and Yoland Trevino (by phone).

Yoland Trevino did not participate in the counting of the Multi-Region ballots. Each of the seven regions easily exceeded the 51% of certified CCs required to vote for these elections to be valid.

Finally, I offer my profound gratitude for all the members of CCs around the world who participated in this Trustee Selection Process. You are the living spirit of URI.


*The following have been elected trustees in MENA Region:
Anas Al-Abbadi, Jordon Interfaith Action CC, Jordon, Muslim, new trustee
Tareq Altamimi, Volunteering for Peace CC, Palestinian Territory, Muslim, new trustee
Susan Dababneh, Seeds of Peace CC, Jordon, Christian, new trustee

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.