By Paul Chaffee
“ALL UNDER THE SAME SKY”
As excitement builds for the Parliament of the World’s Religions next year in Salt Lake City (October 15-19), a second major international interfaith gathering has been announced, this one in Guadalajara, Mexico, set for May 3-9, 2015.
The Universal Multicultural Dialogue II (II UMD) will be mostly in Spanish (translators are being organized) and should draw thousands from Mexico and Latin America. But the welcome mat is out for interfaith activists the world over, and a number of international religious and interreligious leaders have committed to attending. II UMD could be called a conference or summit or convocation – but festival seems a better word. II UMD’s theme is “All Under the Same Sky,” inspiring more than 100 workshops, rituals, performances, exhibits, and presentations.
Two months prior to II UMD, 200 religious leaders from indigenous and established traditions will make a March for Peace and Unity, starting in El Salvador, winding their way through Guatemala and southern Mexico, including Chiapas, to arrive at the festival launch on May 3 in a ceremony on Scorpion Island in Lake Chapala. Indigenous leaders from the Wixárika peoples will host the marchers along the way.
The march and the festival are sponsored by the Carpe Diem Foundation, a thoroughly multicultural, multireligious group of activists in Guadalajara. The first Universal Multicultural Dialogue, co-sponsored with the Parliament of the World’s Religions and reported in TIO, took place August 29-September 2, 2012. Carpe Diem plans to hold international Dialogues every two years.
Registration for II UMD will be $100 USD, with details and information about travel and housing (in 40 hotels near the conference center) to be published on their website next month. For more about the developing program, check out their Facebook page.
Having two international interfaith gatherings in 2015 – one in Spanish, one in English – establishes a new benchmark in global interfaith culture, a sign that the world is finally recognizing the importance of healthy interfaith relationships in a world at risk.