The Global Refugee Forum, the world’s largest international gathering on refugees, will take place from 13-15 December in Geneva, along with linked events such as this gathering of religious leaders.
The purpose of the gathering is to build on the strong contributions and collaboration among religious leaders through inter-religious dialogue.
Building on significant faith-based engagement and efforts at COP28, the event will continue to build inter-religious synergies for solidarity and support for climate-related displacement, allowing religious leaders and faith actors to share their individual and collective commitments.
The event will open with an inter-religious ceremony and a tree planting for peace in solidarity with refugees. This portion of the programme will be co-curated by the Plateforme Interreligieuse de Genève, and the World Council of Churches, and will be attended by refugees, regionally diverse international and local religious leaders, faith representatives, and institutions. The ceremony will be accessible for persons with disabilities. Closing remarks for the ceremony will be offered by Gillan Triggs, UNHCR.
H.E. Archbishop Dr Vicken Aykazian, vice-moderator of the WCC central committee, will give the welcoming remarks at the event. Anticipating the gathering, Aykazian underscored the importance of inter-religious work related to refugees.
“We will gather not just to talk but also to pray and to act,” he said. “Together, we must have a unified voice in a world in which growing numbers of refugees are suffering.”
The gathering is expected to increase solidarity with and support for dynamic ways for religious leaders and faith actors to support the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, Climate Peace in solidarity with Refugees through inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.
H.A.H. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will offer a keynote address.
Refugee speakers will also be welcomed.
An inter-religious prayer and music will draw together facets from many of the world’s religions.
One of the concluding prayers will read: “May all living beings live in security and in peace – beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born.
“May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility. Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.”
UNHCR and Religions for Peace created the first-ever Multi-Religious Council of Leaders in 2020. Work with religious leaders and institutions continues with UNHCR’s long-term partners, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Religions for Peace, to address the root causes of conflict, displacement, and statelessness by promoting reconciliation, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding.