The world’s religious communities have enormous potential to improve conditions for billions of people worldwide. Multi-religious cooperation unleashes the hidden assets of religious communities and is more powerful, both substantively and symbolically, than the efforts of individual faith communities acting alone.
Religious communities possess spiritual, moral and social assets that can be brought to bear utilizing the full range of existing structures – leadership, local congregations, women’s groups, youth groups, and specialized agencies. When religious communities recognize their shared values, mobilize their collective assets, and work together, they can have a decisive impact where it is most needed.
Interreligious Councils as Mechanism for Cooperation
Interreligious Councils are the mechanism through which Religions for Peace engages religious leaders and their communities in multi-religious cooperation to transform conflict, promote peace and advance sustainable development. Each Inter-Religious Council in the Religions for Peace global network is independent, self-led, and honors the ways the different religious communities in its area are organized and represent themselves. Three features characterize each IRC:
1) Representative: they engage entire religious communities through the persons that each community itself has chosen to represent it in various ways.
2) Action-oriented: their purpose is to facilitate collaborative action to address shared concerns among the religious communities.
3) Sustainable: they are built from the religious communities to serve as a durable platform for cooperation able to address whatever critical issues of shared concern emerge over time.
To strengthen the Religions for Peace network, representatives of the national and regional interreligious councils are convened approximately every five years for a Religions for Peace World Assembly. During this event representatives from around the world select the World Council (or Governing Board, and international interreligious council), the world’s most representative multi-religious body, as an instrument of the Religions for Peace network. The Assembly also identifies major areas of moral consensus on matters pertaining to the common good and sets the program direction for Religions for Peace.