Award Winning WIHW Report

http://ihhalifax.ca/home/wihw-report-2016

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Halifax, CANADA Report

2016 Theme: Peace and Friendship

2016 was the third year for Halifax to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week. We are happy to see the growth in this initiative, as each year relationships, sponsorships, events, and other elements expand and deepen, including the following in 2016:

Report2016-wihw-DRAFT1March16-testimonials_html_620248a9In addition, we were delighted to deepen our relationships with 10 faith communities by holding a meeting with their representatives in October 2015. The purpose of the meeting was for education and networking, specifically to:

  • Raise awareness of WIHW, and how it is celebrated locally and worldwide
  • Explore together how to become better hosts to those visiting our sacred spaces during World Interfaith Harmony Week.

 

Who is Interfaith Harmony Halifax?

A Halifax team whose purpose is to promote the vision of WIHW. We represent diverse community partners, cultures, ages, skills and abilities, along with diverse faiths and good will. The team meets monthly throughout the year to plan, de-brief, report, envision, deepen and expand. This year, along with planning for WIHW 2016, we clarified our name and purpose, developed a new website, and worked to strengthen our team and community network.

Elements of 2016:

  1. Interfaith Engagement Certificate Program
  2. Meeting Our Neighbours: Visits to Sacred Spaces
  3. Celebration of Interfaith Harmony
  4. Proclamations of World Interfaith Harmony Week – NEW in 2016
  5. Declarations of Interfaith Peace and Friendship – NEW in 2016

1. Interfaith Engagement Certificate Program

Report2016-wihw-DRAFT1March16-testimonials_html_e97b665dAn intensive week-long experiential engagement with the people, places, and practices of world religions. 35 people participated from government, health, education, immigration services, and religion. Along with diverse cultures and ages, the participants represent a diverse range of religious, spiritual, and secular beliefs. To receive a certificate, they are required to participate in a session before and after WIHW; visit at least three out of 12 ‘sacred spaces’, plus one interfaith celebration; keep a reflective journal during the week and share learning with others.

2. Meeting Our Neighbours: Visits to Sacred Spaces

Report2016-wihw-DRAFT1March16-testimonials_html_a38bbddOpportunities to visit sacred spaces in Halifax to observe, meet, and engage with diverse faith communities. The following 11 communities participated: Aboriginal, Baha’i, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist. During the visits, guests were warmly welcomed, received an introduction to WIHW, participated in a spiritual practice traditional to that community, and then shared in a time of socializing and refreshments.

 

 

 

3. Celebration of Interfaith Harmony

Representatives from 11 faith communities

Representatives from 11 faith communities

Bringing together approximately 200 people from diverse faiths and good will, we celebrated ‘peace and friendship’ through song, music, prayers, images, chants, spoken word, proclamations and declarations, as well as socializing, refreshments and displays.

A highlight was to have the Mayor of Halifax and Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia present, along with other dignitaries. Another highlight was to have representatives from all eleven communities who hosted ‘Visits to Sacred Spaces’ participate as we all read the ‘declaration of interfaith peace and friendship’.

The ‘Wall of Declarations’, displayed for the first time, was of special interest to all gathered.

4. Proclamation of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week NEW

City of Halifax and Province of Nova Scotia

The Mayor of Halifax and City Council were invited to proclaim the first week of February as the annual World Interfaith Harmony Week in Halifax. They immediately agreed and offered further support by participating in the Celebration of Interfaith Harmony. In addition, we were delighted that the Province of Nova Scotia also wanted to make this proclamation, and have representatives attend the interfaith celebration.
Report2016-wihw-DRAFT1March16-proclamations
5. Declaration of Interfaith Peace and Friendship NEW

Report2016-wihw-DRAFT1March16-testimonials_html_6d77a7dbInspired by WIHW, the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions, and our own deep desire for peace and harmony in the world, we developed a ’declaration of interfaith peace and friendship’, which we invited organizations to endorse with their own logo and signature.

Over 30 declarations have been received to date from local, regional, national and international organizations representing education, media, government, business, diverse faiths, as well as community groups involved in compassion, peace, interfaith and contemplative work. The Appendix lists participating organizations.
Ongoing: We will continue to gather declarations throughout the year and display them online. This is an excellent way to raise awareness about WIHW, give groups an easy way to participate, and help to expand and strengthen our network.

Testimonials

  • Interfaith Engagement Program and Visits to Sacred Spaces:

    If you were not sure about your beliefs, maybe you will find yourself somewhere. If you had strong faith, it will enrich your spiritual life. And if you were interested in knowing what is different from you, you will surely get this experience. I certainly recommend this program. It just fits everyone that has a big and accepting heart!
    Elsy Makhlouf, Mount St. Vincent University student in Public Relations

  • Interfaith Celebration:

    Special thanks to all those who helped and my greetings of peace to all friends who participated today. It was just wonderful and heart warming.
    Jamal Badawi, former imam, Professor Emeritus, and member, Nova Scotia Imam Council

  • Halifax Proclamation:

    A momentous event for our small but mighty city. Very worthy of this place. Well done all.
    Judy Johnson, Director, Brahma Kumaris Centre, Halifax

  • Declaration of Interfaith Peace & Friendship:

    We at the Parliament of the World’s Religions most definitely want to be publicly included in your observance of UNWIHW in the way you have made possible.
    Larry Greenfield, President, Parliament of the World’s Religions

    We would love to be a part of it!
    Zareen Qureshi, Program Manager, Charter for Compassion Pakistan

Resource Links

With gratitude to our sponsors:

  1. Mount St. Vincent University
  2. Mount St. Vincent University Student Union
  3. Mount Interfaith Peace and Friendship Centre
  4. Touch BASE
  5. Dalhousie Multifaith Centre
  6. Halifax Shambhala Centre
  7. Waves of Compassion
  8. Baha’i Community of Halifax
  9. Lutheran Campus Ministry
  10. Halifax Presbytery of the United Church of Canada
  11. Alba Nuadh Druid Arts of Nova Scotia
  12. Vedanta Ashram Society
Award Winning WIHW Report

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Proclamation of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week NEW

City of Halifax and Province of Nova Scotia

The Mayor of Halifax and City Council were invited to proclaim the first week of February as the annual World Interfaith Harmony Week in Halifax. They immediately agreed and offered further support by participating in the Celebration of Interfaith Harmony. In addition, we were delighted that the Province of Nova Scotia also wanted to make this proclamation, and have representatives attend the interfaith celebration.

Interfaith Harmony Halifax receives Proclamation of  February 1-7 as the annual UN World Interfaith Harmony Week in Halifax from the Mayor and City Council. 24 November 2015.

Interfaith Harmony Halifax receives Proclamation of February 1-7 as the annual UN World Interfaith Harmony Week in Halifax from the Mayor and City Council. 24 November 2015.