What We Do
United Against Violence in the Name of Religion
The UVNR Initiative was launched in Vienna in November 2014 at an historic meeting that convened leaders of Muslim, Christian, and other religious and ethnic communities from Iraq, Syria and the larger Middle East, where they jointly issued the Vienna Declaration, denouncing violence in the name of religion.
Under this initiative, the Centre is working with high level representatives of ve of the world’s major religions, as well as representatives of the Muslim communities, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Council of Senior Scholars from Saudi Arabia, Evangelicals, the Iraqi Muslim Association, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, the Maronites, the Melkite Greek Catholics, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), the Mouwahiddoun Druze community
in Lebanon, Protestant communities, the Yazidis, among many others. Working with this extensive network of religious leaders and communities, the Centre is undertaking activities with a range of partners, including UNESCO, UNDP, the UN O ce for the Prevention of Genocide and ISESCO, as well as various NGOs.
As a rst UVNR follow up event, the Centre held a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon in May 2015, where the representatives of high level religious leaders from the Arab world agreed to continue to work together. This event involved religious leaders, leading policymakers from governments, international organizations, and humanitarian and peace organizations active in the region.
In September 2015, high level Christian and Muslim religious leaders from the Middle East met in Athens and endorsed the “Athens Declaration: United Against Violence in the Name of Religion - Supporting the Citizenship Rights of Christians, Muslims and Other Religious and Ethnic Groups in the Middle East”. The religious leaders called upon political leaders and civil society to take a strong stand against growing violent extremism and terrorism which threaten centuries of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.