The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) participated yesterday in an online interfaith prayer organized by Arigatou International and its Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), together with several faith-based and interfaith organizations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event, which was broadcasted via YouTube and Facebook, brought together religious leaders and representatives of the world’s major religious traditions including the Bahá’í faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.
The Most Reverend Julio Murray, Bishop of Panama, and Primate of the Anglican Church in Central America led the service.
“During these past 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have often found ourselves in darkness, we often spoke about disease, despair and death. (We have been confronted with) a virus invisible to the naked eye, with the power to destruct daily life at such a scale. This is indeed a public health crisis and a human crisis. However, never before did we have to confront so honestly the ways we have lived our lives and the ways we have cared for one another”, KAICIID Board Member Dr. Kezevino Aram emphasized.
“Children are divine gifts. May their presence remind us of our true purpose in life, may it help us to invest in their lives concretely and impact decisively the challenges children face in great numbers, such as poverty, disease, depravation, disability and violence. May the luminous presence of our children move us from praying together for children to action for the wellbeing of children”, Aram concluded.
KAICIID Deputy Secretary General, Alvaro Albacete, called for united responses to the current crisis. “Certainly, this global pandemic has spared no one and the world we were once familiar with is no longer there. We are all vulnerable, uncertain and scared. In challenging times like these, we as a global community must stand united. Our solidarity and hope will help us overcome this”, he said.
“Children around the world are among the most affected in this crisis. Children are our tomorrow, and they are our hope for a promising future. Children need to be protected, nurtured and assured that they will be alright. On behalf of KAICIID, I commend this multi-faith prayer initiative which places at its centre the youngest members of our society”, he added.
During the ceremony, children from different parts of the world sent messages of hope and solidarity to other children. They are currently among the most vulnerable groups to be negatively affected by the pandemic. Many of them and their families are in lock-down in their homes, and around 90% of them are not attending school. The interfaith prayer called on religious communities to prioritize the well-being of their children.
“Now, more than ever, we must promote the solidarity of the one human community and act together and listen to children: they are part of the solution to promote global solidarity,” said Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou International.
KAICIID and Arigatou’s Partnership
Arigatou and KAICIID signed a Memorandum of Understanding on July 2019 to collaborate in joint dialogue encounters and initiatives with special focus on children and youth.
Both organizations recognize the importance of dialogue and engagement with religious communities in the efforts to end violence against children and to foster their wellbeing.
As part of the collaboration, the International Dialogue Centre supported the multi-religious study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child developed by Arigatou in close collaboration with UNICEF, the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and World Vision International.