A Whole of Society Approach: Religious Actors as Drivers of Change and Preventing Violent Extremism

Event Date | June 23, 2023

Time | 10.00AM – 11.30 AM EDT

Location | Baha’i International Community Office, NY & via zoom (hybrid)

A significant portion of the UN system and other intergovernmental organizations operate in contexts and regions where religious leaders and actors play a role in shaping customs, practices, and peace and development work. Thus engaging religious leaders and actors, including women and youth in the process, design, and implementation of policy frameworks on peace and security, especially when countering violent extremism is critical for its effectiveness.

On June 23, the Peacemakers Network and partners United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention, World Council of Churches, Act Alliance, Religions for Peace, and Baha’i International Community will host a side event on the margins of the 2023 Counter-Terrorism Week, that highlights the importance of the Plan of Action on the Role of Religious Leaders and Actors to Preventing Incitement to Violence  that could lead to Atrocity Crimes* as an essential tool for conflict prevention and countering violent extremsim in protecting human rights.

In efforts to showcase good practices and lessons learned for implementation, including building effective and holistic partnerships between the UN Member States and Agencies, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders to contribute to sustainable development and peace, this event aims to:

1. Build multi-stakeholder engagement while protecting human rights through understanding on how and when to engage religious and faith-based institutions.

2. Discuss localized solutions and challenges for religious and traditional actors to enhance partnership and advocacy with the UN at the regional, national, and local levels.

3. Generate new ideas to further strengthen capacity building programmes, which are in line with international human rights standards.

This event will be conducted in an interactive format, which will include presentations and panel discussions. Click here to register to attend in-person, or here for virtual participation.

* This Plan of Action, led by the UN Office for Genocide Prevention, was the result of two years of consultations with leaders from different faiths and religions around the world, includes a rich and broad range of suggestions for ways in which religious leaders and actors can prevent incitement to violence and contribute to peace and stability.


*Moderator: Dr. Azza Karam, Secretary-General of Religions for Peace

10.00 – 10.03 Welcoming remarks by Ms. Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of Baha’i International Community to the UN

10.03 – 10.10 Opening remarks by Ms. Alice Nderitu, USG and Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide

10.10 – 11.00 Panel Discussion

Rabbi Burton VisotzkyAppleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Ms. Sadhvi BhagwatijiSecretary-General of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance

(TBD) Dr. Agnes CallamardSecretary-General of Amnesty International

Dr. Mohamed ElsanousiExecutive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers

Dr. Ahmed ShaheedProfessor of International Human Rights Law at University of Essex

(TBD) Ms. Arek FrancisYouth Coordinator from Sudan Council of Churches

11.00 – 11.20 Reflections and questions from the floor

11.20 – 11.30 Closing

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