BAHA'IS CALL FOR RELIGIOUS LEADERS GATHERED AT THE UNITED
NATIONS TO IDENTIFY "CORE VALUES" THAT CAN LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR PEACE
UNITED NATIONS (29 Aug 2000) Calling for a "global community based
on unity in diversity," the representative of the Bahá'í
International Community to the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious
and Spiritual Leaders today called for the world's religious leaders to
take on the task of identifying "core values that are common to all
religious and spiritual traditions."
Addressing religious and spiritual leaders gathered at the United
Nations for an historic four-day meeting aimed building tolerance,
fostering peace and encouraging interreligious dialogue among all of the
world's religions, Albert Lincoln, the Secretary General of the
Bahá'í International Community, urged fellow religious leaders to
put aside differences and to work together in the cause of peace
and for the sake of the world's children.
"Our disordered world is in desperate need of a moral compass that is
above passing fashion and untainted by the pervasive materialism of the
modern era," said Dr. Lincoln, addressing the first such gathering of
high-level religious leaders ever held in the United Nations. "The
convening of this summit suggests that the world has become aware of
this need and of the capacity latent in the world's religious traditions."
Dr. Lincoln said that one of the greatest dangers facing mankind
comes from a generation of children growing up in a moral vacuum.
"Each child is potentially the light of the world, and its darkness,"
said Dr. Lincoln. "Lighting the lamps of these souls is a responsibility
we must collectively assume if civilization is to thrive. Children must
not be deprived of the light of moral education, especially the
girl-child, who is the transmitter of values to future generations.
Indeed, educated women are one of the most important keys to world
Attended by more than 1,000 religious leaders from around the
world, the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual
Leaders is scheduled to run from 28 to 31 August. Representatives of
virtually all of the world's religions are in attendance, including
leaders from the Bahá'í Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism,
Jainism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism, as
well as indigenous religions.
Dr. Lincoln said the convening of such a gathering was an historic
event, reflecting a new level of interaction between the world's
secular and spiritual institutions.
"Above and beyond a remarkable maturation in inter-religious
dialogue, this meeting of spiritual leaders in the Chamber of the
United Nations General Assembly, on the eve of the Millennium Summit
of the world's Heads of State and Government, marks an historic and
vital step forward in creating the necessary mutual respect and
cooperation between religious and political leadership, conditions
without which world peace and the prosperity of humankind are
probably unattainable," said Dr. Lincoln.
Organizers of the Summit include a wide range of interfaith groups,
private foundations and non-governmental organizations. Organizers say
they hope that religious leaders will end the meeting by issuing a
joint "Declaration for World Peace." They also expect to establish an
ongoing International Advisory Council of Religious and Spiritual
Leaders, which they hope will serve as an ongoing interfaith resource
for the United Nations in its quest for peace, global understanding
and international cooperation.
Dr. Lincoln endorsed the concept of such an International Advisory
Councils of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, saying they "could function
as a most effective vehicle to channel the power of religion to bring
about a better world, for all, including the children."
"Essential to all the functions of the Advisory Councils would be
the task of identifying the core values that are common to all religious
and spiritual traditions," he said. "This would form a firm foundation
for united effort in the spirit of service to humankind as a whole."
The Councils could also serve in helping to develop appropriate
curricula and delivery systems for the moral education and training
of children and youth. "The Regional Councils could be instrumental
in nurturing consultative processes at the national and regional
levels, involving educational experts and representatives of the
religious and spiritual traditions espoused by the relevant
populations," said Dr. Lincoln.
Dr. Lincoln is the highest-ranking officer of the Bahá'í
International Community, an international non-governmental organization
that represents and encompasses the worldwide membership of the
Bahá'í Faith. Dr. Lincoln reports directly to the Universal
House of Justice, the elected governing body of the Bahá'í
Faith. With a membership of more than 5 million people and significant
communities in more than 235 countries and territories, the
Bahá'í Faith is the second-most widespread independent world
For more information about the Summit, visit
For more information about the worldwide Bahá'í community, visit
Contact Brad Pokorny at 212-803-2500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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