This profile was last updated in 2006
Religions for Peace Overview
This profile was submitted by Ms. Madiha Awais, Program Associate, Women’s Program, Religions for Peace – with the exception of the paragraph titled “Resources,” which was written by Kathryn Lohre. Religions for Peace builds, equips and networks Inter-Religious Councils to harness the largely untapped power of multi-religious cooperation to transform conflict, promote peace and advance sustainable development. Founded in 1970 as an international, non-sectarian organization, Religions for Peace is now the largest coalition of the world’s religious communities, with affiliated Inter-religious Councils in four regions and fifty- five countries.
Religions for Peace Purpose
Guided by respect for religious differences and a belief in the power of multi-religious cooperation, Religions for Peace mobilizes religious communities to collaborate on deeply held and widely shared concerns. 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. 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.
Women’s Mobilization Program
Religions for Peace recognizes that women of faith around the world have enormous capacities for leadership and effective action in all areas of human development. The Women’s Mobilization Program was established in 1998 to advance the role of religious women in international development, peace-making and post-conflict reconstruction. The two overarching aims of the program are to ensure that the concerns and perspectives of women are mainstreamed in all of Religions for Peace’s programming and to build the capacity of religious women of faith organizations to engage in peace building and sustainable development.
Global and Regional Networks
In 2001, the program launched the first-ever Global Network of Religious Women’s Organizations. The network serves as a tremendous resource for women of all faiths; it helps them communicate and learn from each other and builds bridges between faith-based organizations and major international agencies. At present, the Global Network includes more that 850 Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Indigenous, Sikh and Zoroastrian religious women’s organizations. Some organizations in the network have a membership as large as 5,000 groups, while others have less than five. More recently, the program inaugurated four regional women of faith sub-networks in Africa, South East Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia.
The Women’s Mobilization Program fuels both the global and regional networks by disseminating information, offering training programs, and providing various publications. In addition to its bi-yearly newsletter, the Program has also published various handbooks and resources, including: A Woman’s Place: Religious Women as Public Actors; Women of Faith Transforming Conflict: A Multi-Religious Training Manual; and the Global Directory of Religious Women’s Organizations. Additionally, profiles of various network members, several of which are posted on the website, are a means for documenting the historical contributions women of faith are making to conflict transformation and for sharing their strategies.
Capacity Building of Women
Today, the Women’s Mobilization Program continues to convene and train women religious leaders and representatives at local, national, regional and international levels. True to its mission, Religions for Peace is building the capacity of women of faith to take on increasingly visible leadership roles in transforming conflict, promoting peace, and advancing sustainable development.