International Interfaith Organisations Network

International Interfaith Organisations Network

For a just and peaceful world, the International Interfaith Organisations Network (IION) provides a forum for the participating organisations to share information, challenges and solutions and to support each other.

Historical Background

In the nineteen eighties, the World Congress of Faiths convened two meetings of international interfaith organisations at Ammerdown, near Bath. Four organisations, the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), the Temple of Understanding (ToU), the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) and the World Congress of Faiths (WCF) agreed to encourage observation of the centenary of the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago in 1893, as a ‘Year of Inter-religious Understanding and Co-operation’. They also agreed to arrange a joint gathering, which was held at Bangalore in August 1993 and known as Sarva-Dharma-Sammelana (‘Religious People Coming Together’).

To continue this co-operation, after wide consultation, IARF, WCF and Westminster College, Oxford, in December 1993 established the International Interfaith Centre (IIC) at Oxford to foster co-operation between international interfaith organisations, to be a centre of information about global interfaith work and to be a focus for relevant research and educational activities.

At the 1999 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago, IIC arranged a Symposium on Interfaith Action in a Global Context, in which many   interfaith organisations participated.

In March 2001, at a meeting convened by the International Interfaith Centre, held in Oxford, representatives of most of the leading international interfaith organisations agreed to establish a network, to be known as the International Interfaith Organisations Network. It was agreed that the international Interfaith Centre should be the co-ordinating body.

Meetings of the Network have been held in

August 2002 : in Budapest, after the IARF International Conference.

September 2003: in Oxford

(August 2004: An informal meeting was held during the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona)

March 2005 : in Oxford

April 2006: in Oxford.

November 2007: near Oxford

Activities.

1. To ensure that our interfaith work is as effective as possible by sharing information and supporting each other.

2. Some organisations have worked together on common projects.

3. To hold an annual meeting of representatives of member organisations

4. To be a centre of information. At one time the IIC received a large number of enquiries, but recently with reduced staff this work has been curtailed.

5. To maintain a website with links to member organisations.

6. E-learning via website. This gives an introduction to the varied approaches to interfaith work

7. Interfaith Presence at the United Nations

Membership

The present members are :

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

Elijah Interfaith Institute

International Association for Religious Freedom

International Interfaith Centre

Interfaith Youth Core

Minorities of Europe

North American Interfaith Network

Peace Council

Towards Spiritual Forum for World Peace at the United Nations

Temple of Understanding

Three Faiths Forum

United Religions Initiative

Religions for Peace

World Congress of Faiths

Inter Faith Network for the UK

International Movement for a Just World

Project on Religion and Human Rights

World Faiths Inter-religious Council

There has been considerable discussion about the basis for membership. The following are the present guidelines.

•  Members should be international interfaith organisations, national interfaith networks. The controlling body should represent at least two or more distinct religions.

•  Organisations can apply or be nominated. They need to be proposed and seconded by a member organisation.

•  Subsequent approval at a IION meeting should be by consensus.

•  Organisations that are bilateral in nature (i.e. of just two religions) should only be considered in exceptional circumstances and if they truly international.