The following declaration was made at the close of the pivotal Global Peace Leadership Conference held in New Delhi, India focusing on “Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Partnerships.”
The world today faces a spiritual crisis, as evidenced by the continuous rise of identity-based conflicts. These conflicts over nationality, ethnicity, religion and tribal affiliations threaten social relations on every level, especially with globalization expanding the significance and reach of previously localized challenges. While tremendous advances have been achieved in every sector of human society, they have failed to keep apace with our moral and ethical capacities – to the detriment of all life on earth. It is thus imperative that moral and spiritual leaders of the world work together to articulate universal ethical principles and values that can form the basis for social cohesion, shared agreements and lasting peace.
Whereas human ingenuity, intellect and creativity have through the past millennia built civilizations that have inspired human hearts and minds to pursue creative endeavors; at the same time the world has been plagued by intolerance, ignorance, hatred, mistrust, discrimination and ravaged by ethnic, racial, religious, economic, social and political conflicts
Whereas religions and faiths have been fountain-springs of spiritually inspired ethics; at the same time religious rivalries and ethnic conflicts have spread intolerance and violence, thus obscuring the unifying vision of humanity as one family under God.
Whereas tremendous advances in science and technology have created unprecedented material wealth, technological and medical advances; at the same time, they have been misused for producing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and rampant armament race with tremendous allocation of resources that could be directed to overcome poverty, inequality, disease, ignorance, illiteracy and hunger.
Whereas different religions have promulgated the idea of the world as one family under God, we have not carried it out in practice, into this vacuum; the possessive, exploitative, abusive and discriminatory instincts of humanity have divided our world.
Whereas in modern times leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Honorable nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr . have courageously and effectively used non-violence strategies for gaining political independence, ending apartheid, championing compassion in action, fighting racial discrimination, and tirelessly advocating multiculturalism. At the same time, the world has drifted towards escalating violence and terrorism. The world has lost hold of our common human identity and the unifying shared values that can bring about a cohesive society.
On the occasion of the Global Peace Leadership Conference held in New Delhi, India on the 9ths and 10th of December, 2014, we the participants from all over the region, solemnly pledge:
1. To commit ourselves with courage and resolve to forge vibrant and meaningful interfaith partnerships and programs for promoting universal social cohesion based on our common identity, universal principles, and share values to overcome ethnic, religious, gender, social and cultural barriers
2. To inspire a spirit of unity and conciliation in place of conflict and confrontation, equity and fair play in place of iniquity and exploitation towards all human beings irrespective of color, gender, creed, religion, ethnicity or geographical location.
3. To engage faith leaders and academics in the task of articulating a global ethical framework based on universal principles and values, found in the world’s religions. This framework could then be applied to the private and public spheres.