‘Vaccines must be shared fairly world-wide’: International Conference on Religions for Peace Leaders

by Fady Francis

The International Conference on Religions for Peace launched yesterday in the German city of Lindau, chaired by the the General Secretary of the Religions for Peace Organization Azza Karam from Egypt.

The conference will be held in Lindau until Thursday.

Around 130 people, both speakers and members of the Religions for Peace network, are in person on site and about 1,700 people are following the virtual event via live broadcast

This conference was organized by the Lindau Foundation for Peace Dialogue between World Religions and Civil Society, with the support of the German Foreign Ministry. The conference program is delivered by the New York-based NGO Religions for Peace.

After the opening, the World Council of Religions for Peace, as the main decision-making body of Religions for Peace – made up of 61 religious leaders from around the world and from all faiths – announced the publication of a statement in which members agreed on the need for global justice and the distribution of vaccines.

World Council members also called on religious leaders around the world to speak out about the efficacy and safety of scientifically proven vaccines, to raise awareness of their importance, and to lobby for a fair distribution of vaccines.

They also emphasized that no person may be discriminated against on the basis of race, skin color, sex, race, nationality or religion.

During the conference, the Secretary-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, thanked Religions for Peace for making vaccination justice an important topic at the conference.

In a text message, he wrote: “Initiatives like this make a difference because they stimulate dialogue between peoples and nations, enhance understanding and trust, and look for solutions.”

The title of this year’s conference was “Faith and Diplomacy”, which aimed to shed light on the role religious bodies play in achieving strong interdependence and dialogue among all peoples regardless of differences.

Karam said that the Religions for Peace Foundation has been working on this title for more than a year, especially after its success in inviting 1,000 religious men from around the world to Lindau to promote dialogue.

Speaking exclusively to Al-Masry Al-Youm, she said that the conference highlights the relationship between religious bodies, clerics and diplomacy.

Light will be shed on the extent to which diplomats can benefit from the expertise of religious leaders, she added.

“Last year, we organized more than 45 virtual meetings with various religious leaders around the world, and important topics were chosen to be discussed in this conference, including the issue of equitable distribution of vaccines, as well as shedding light on climate changes around the world”, she explained.

The former assistant to the Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohamed Abdel Salam said that this conference is an invitation to dialogue between all religions, and is a step that strengthens that culture despite the differences.

This follows his recorded speech on the Document of Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis, Pope of the Vatican, and Sheikh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Ahmed Al-Tayeb in the UAE in 2019.

Among the speakers were the Vice President of the International Red Cross Gilles Carbonnier, and the President of the Synod of the Evangelical Church Anna Nicole Heinrich,and the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

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