On October 20, 2010, the UN declared the first week of February to be observed as World Interfaith Harmony Week. This project, first proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan, has grown year by year and now has more official participants than ever before.
The initiative is decentralized by design, but those who are participating can register their events on the World Harmony Interfaith Week website or with affiliates such as URI and The Parliament of the World’s Religions.
The official goal is to improve relations between people of different faiths or belief systems (which, as always, includes those who are not affiliated with any faith).
Martin Luther King Jr. said that men often fear each other because they are separated and can’t communicate with one another. This weeklong celebration, from February 1-7, is meant to alter that dynamic and improve relations.
If you want to participate in an organized event, please visit one of these event pages:
If you can’t go to an organized event, then simply reach out to someone who is of a different faith or persuasion and get to know him or her a little better.
You can also talk to your faith community or spiritual group about how all of you can improve relations with other people who have different ideas about God, culture, spirituality, and morality.
Even if you only spend 30 minutes on thinking about how you can improve your relations with people of other faiths in the future, you have participated.
What We Are Doing at Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Since we are not a traditional interfaith organization with regular events, staff, housing and resources (our primary focus is on education and inspiration), we have decided to participate on social media this week (although I will be participating in person, as I do every month).
To give you an example of our contributions to this celebration, I will be writing several articles about interfaith. First, I will explore the difference between the terms intrafaith, interfaith, multifaith and interspirituality, which are often used interchangeably. Second, I will write about how to develop interfaith dialogue, step-by-step. Third, I will be writing about the interfaith paradigm, encapsulated in the words ‘harmonious diversity.’
On Facebook and Twitter we will also be sharing curated quotes and all the news we can find about World Interfaith Harmony Week. Please let us know if you are hosting an event that you would like us to share. We also welcome your thoughts on the topic.
Please follow us on social media if you are interested in attaining any of the material mentioned above.
Your Effort Matters
Let me emphasize that improved relations only occur through participation. I was skeptical when I first started attending interfaith events, but, with time, my belief in the importance of face-to-face interactions has only grown.
Know that your effort matters. Showing up, being seen to care about improved relations, even if there aren’t any measurable short-term gains, is important. We can only make significant changes over a long period of time by doing what little we can in the present moment.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about the World Interfaith Harmony Week. I hope you will participate in some capacity.
Rev. Gudjon Bergmann
Founder and Lead Educator at Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Author of Co-Human Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity to Bridge Divides
p.s. Although our name suggests it, we are not officially affiliated with the UN initiative.
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Our Vision and Primary Goals
We are an educational and social good interfaith organization. We provide people with access to strategies, methods, and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge-building across divides. We use the term interfaith broadly to mean 'a strong belief in someone or something' and focus on improving interrelations between people who have different worldviews. Our primary goals are to remind people of our shared humanity and to support new and ongoing efforts.
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©Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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