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interfaith skillsets

URI India Holds it Sixth National Assembly

This report was written and edited by: Dr. Abraham Karickam (URI Asia executive secretary), Biswadeb Chakraborty (URI national coordinator), Subhi Dhupar (head of Reporting Committee CC, liaison officer, North Zone, India, Asia), P.K. Ramachandra (CC member, South Zone), and Savita Malpani (CC member North Zone).

Diversity@work Conference – Toronto

On November 9th 2011, Skills for Change presented its third annual diversity@work conference at the KPMG corporate head office in Toronto with Senator Don Meredith as the morning keynote speaker. Nearly 200 of Canada’s leading employers, HR professionals and leaders from numerous community- and faith-based organizations attended the event.

Best Practices for Interreligious Ministry

In addition to adequate theological grounding on how to situate the religious other within the framework of one’s faith tradition, there are certain attitudes, virtues, and skills that would appear to be crucially needed in being able to creatively relate to, engage, and cooperate with religious others. In an excellent volume specifically addressing the subject, Catherine Cornille has laid out humility, commitment, interconnection, empathy, and hospitality as five such key elements to be nourished and cultivated in this regard.

Leaders for Tomorrow’s Interfaith Organizations

The more culturally diverse we become, the more adept we need to be in relating to people who hold profoundly different beliefs. What questions help you truly understand someone, especially someone with whom you have a fundamental disagreement? How do you engage people from different backgrounds when addressing community problems?

Global Interfaith Grassroots Organizing: The Record So Far

Since its Charter was signed in 2000, United Religions Initiative (URI) has grown to include more than 530 grassroots groups and organizations in 78 countries. Each Cooperation Circle has its own name, size, governance and mission, but they all share in their commitment to and practice of diversity, and to advancing the central purpose and principles of URI. As URI’s director of Organizational Development for over 15 years, I’ve had a good seat from which observe and participate in developing an institution that believes in the power of people to self-organize in order to fulfill their aspirations for peace, justice and healing.

The Lost Art of Listening

The North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) gathering in Phoenix, Arizona, last July included a visit to a Hindu temple where a meal was shared along with questions, stories, and new friendships, all depending on everyone listening very carefully to each other.

Respectful communication is at the heart of all interfaith gatherings. We know that it is one of the most important components for building relationships of peace and harmony across faith traditions and belief systems. The focus of this essay is on the importance of the art of listening in interfaith dialogue and practices that support us in becoming more effective listeners.

If we think of speaking and listening as two of the major elements of communication, most often speaking is thought of as the more powerful role; it certainly gets the most attention. My experience is that the role of listening is even more powerful, although one seldom recognized or understood. For example, we often hear someone comment “That was a really powerful speech.”  I’ve never heard anyone say: “That was a really powerful way to listen.

Rights, Responsibilities, and Skills of Dialogue

For true dialogue to occur it needs to take place within a protective environment of mutually accepted rights and responsibilities, rooted in two fundamental values: respect for the human person and trust in the process of dialogue. Dialogue works best when the participants are willing to develop certain skills that facilitate the process.

Guidelines for Engaging in Productive Interfaith Dialogue

First, why are you involved with interfaith dialogue? Are you promoting an understanding of your own faith in an interfaith venue or promoting interfaith itself?