A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights
The Parliament of the World’s Religions is an interfaith conference, as well as a multi-faith festival of a global scale featuring intensive days of mainstage talks from luminaries, critical issue plenaries, interactive programmes, profound spiritual performances, and this year – even a parade – all centering on a promise of peace, justice, and sustainability. It convened people of faith, spirituality, and ethical convictions from around the world and focused on the theme of: “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights.”
Representatives from Earth Charter International (ECI) have attended the parliament numerous times in the past, but this was the first time that ECI served as a sponsor and had its own booth in the exhibitor hall, located within the Climate Village. Over the course of five days, we met new and familiar faces while building connections with persons/organizations from around the globe.
The conference brought together over 7,000 attendees from over 95 countries and 210 noted traditions. Being surrounded by so many people of different beliefs, who all have a similar goal of finding unity within each other to be the change the world needs, was truly inspiring and transformational.
Attendees from ECI included Michael J. Bracken, ECI Board Chair; Rick Clugston, ECI Council Member; Peter Blaze-Corcoran, long-time ECI supporter, as well as Skylar Ozanne and Mara Buzatu from Medcom Benefit Solutions. Skylar and Mara provided significant support to ECI at this important event.
In that context, on 15 August a special session titled “The Global Ethic and The Earth Charter in Dialogue” took place with the purpose was to generate bridge and a dialogue between the purpose and tenets of The Global Ethic of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Earth Charter, two landmark statements in global ethics.
Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-founder Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, who served on the Earth Charter drafting committee from 1997-2000 and the Earth Charter International Council from 2000-2013, joined this conversation together with Kusumita Pedersen, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, St. Francis College and Trustee, Member, Climate Action Task Force, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Kehkashan Basu, Founder-President, Green Hope Foundation and former EC Young Leader, Sam King Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, Associate and Head of the Journey of the Universe Outreach and Rabbi David Rosen, American Jewish Committee’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs. The interaction focused on how these two documents can inform approaches critical global problems with priorities for human dignity, ecological reciprocity, and peace. This dialogue started in December 1999, when a dialogue between Hans Kung and Steven Rockefeller took place at the Parliament of the World’s Religion that took place in Cape Town, South Africa.