International Interfaith Centre: Newsletter for Friends, Spring 2008

Dear Friend

First of all we would like to thank you for your continued support of the IIC. Our income relies on our friends and we are very grateful to you for this. Following news we sent you in July telling you about the closure of the Market Street office, we are pleased to tell you that the International Interfaith Centre has now become a fully sustainable Virtual Office. Friends, trustees and patrons have all pulled together with positive results.

We have set up a Post Office address (IIC, PO Box 750, Oxford OX3 3BR) and Sandy Bharat, who you will remember of old and who has now become a trustee, is kindly dealing with correspondence. She is also answering emails and enquiries from the website. Thanks to Margaret Paton our website has been updated. We feel, at any rate for the time being, that this is sufficient for us to continue our work.

International Interfaith Organisations Network (IION)

In November the IIC bought together representatives of twelve leading international interfaith organisations for a three day conference at Nuneham Courtenay, near Oxford. During this valuable time spent together it was recognised that each organisation has a particular emphasis to its work and that the organisations should be mutually supportive to ensure that their resources are used as effectively as possible to foster interreligious understanding and co-operation.

Particular attention was paid to the developing interfaith work at the United Nations both in New York and Geneva. A series of UN General Assembly Resolutions have led to a conference on interfaith cooperation for peace and to a high-level dialogue on interreligious and intercultural cooperation for promotion of tolerance, understanding and universal respect on matters of religion or belief and cultural diversity.

The meeting heard about plans for the next Parliament of the World’s Religions which is to be held in Melbourne, Australia from 3 rd to 9 th December 2009, and discussed participation in this global event. The IIC will organise a UK pre-Parliament conference.

It was encouraging to learn from participants how many young people are engaged in interfaith work in different parts of the world. Members also shared best practice in responding to hurt caused by extremism.

IIC Future

We would like to be able to raise funds to sponsor some young people to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions and possibly for attendance next October at the World Fellowship of Interreligious Councils at Cochin, India. Any offers of help would be welcome.

Best wishes to you all from the IIC Trustees