Club de Madrid’s Global Consensus states that religious and thought leaders have a responsibility to be role models, tackle tough and sometimes uncomfortable questions, promote interfaith dialogue, and engage with disenfranchised youth.
In sync with CdM’s Global Consensus, the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) is celebrated the first week of every February with the purpose of promoting cooperation among all religions, faiths and beliefs.
It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in resolution A/RES/65/5 adopted on 20 October 2010. Here, the General Assembly points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes the WIHW as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.
The General Assembly encourages the support of all States during this week, in the spread of the message of goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship. It recognizes the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding.
As the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote “At a time when the world is faced with many simultaneous problems –security, environmental, humanitarian, and economic– enhanced tolerance and understanding are fundamental for a resilient and vibrant international society.”
The WIHW provides a platform where interfaith organizations and groups can be noticed and become aware of each other, recognize the common values they hold, and build strong ties. During this week, thousands of events are held worldwide to celebrate interfaith peace and cooperation, and serves an opportunity to promote the “healing of religion-based tensions in the world.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “World Interfaith Harmony Week celebrates the principles of tolerance and respect for the other that are deeply rooted in the world’s major religions. The observance is also a summons to solidarity in the face of those who spread misunderstanding and mistrust.”
Through its initiative to fight against violent extremism, Club de Madrid produced 10 Benchmarks as a comprehensive response to this global problem. The third benchmark calls upon “religious leaders to serve as role models and engage with disenfranchised youth.” The World Interfaith Harmony Week represents this leadership imperative as one means to fight against violent extremism and radicalization in a jointly manner.