In April 2016. Anthony Power and Kim MacAulay, representatives from Interfaith Harmony Halifax (IHH), along with two representatives from Uniharmony Partners Manila, Philippines, and the international Euclid University were at the award ceremony in Jordan’s Royal Court to receive the King Abdullah II World Interfaith Harmony Week Prizes.
Canada received international recognition for interfaith harmony two years in a row: Interfaith Harmony Halifax in 2016 and Interfaith Harmony Toronto in 2015. We celebrate this award with the rest of Canada and appreciate the growing interfaith movement in our city, country and around the world.
In judging, the judges took into consideration efforts made despite scantiness of resources, but also took into consideration the excellence of efforts, collaboration, and impact of events. They further took into consideration whether events were consistent with the text of the U.N. Resolution establishing the Prize. Accordingly, judges rewarded events which respected each religion as it is; in accordance with the terms of the Prize, judges rewarded events specifically celebrating the World Interfaith Harmony Week rather than good interfaith work in general.
Why did we win the award?
- Showed excellent effort, collaboration and impact with little resources
- Respected each religion as it is
- Specifically celebrated WIHW, rather than good interfaith work in general
The judges were impressed with our widening annual impact, and Proclamations from the Province of Nova Scotia and the City of Halifax, as well as local, regional, national and global ‘Declarations of Interfaith Peace and Friendship’.
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Who are we?
Interfaith Harmony Halifax is a collaborative representing diverse community partners, cultures, ages, skills and abilities, along with diverse faiths and people of good will. Our purpose is to promote the vision of World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW).
What is WIHW?
The World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/65/PV.34 for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony. It was proposed in 2010 by HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. The World Interfaith Harmony Week will fall on the first week of February of every year and aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week seeks to spread the message of harmony and tolerance among the followers of all the world’s religions, faiths, and beliefs. It seeks to do this by promoting their common basis of “Love of God and Love of the Neighbor, or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor”. Its message invites everyone, excludes no one, and is purely voluntary.
How did the interfaith movement begin in Halifax?
The Halifax Interfaith Council was born as a result of the Swiss Air disaster in 1998 when an interfaith memorial service was required to honour those who died in the crash. Since then, relationships of friendship and respect have grown between members of diverse faiths in the Halifax region, with an understanding of how precious and valuable life is. We don’t have time or luxury for conflict due to differences. The Council spent years holding meetings in diverse sacred spaces, bringing us into each other’s communities and hearts.
Between 2004-2010, the annual celebration of World Religion Day was hosted by the Baha’i community of Halifax, and later grew into a collaboration with Mount St. Vincent University for the final three years, ending in 2013, when the Baha’i community suggested that efforts shift to the WIHW initiative. Immediately, things expanded in two significant ways: a growing leadership team and the annual afternoon celebration changed to a weeklong series of events, including Sacred Spaces: Meeting our Neighbours, Interfaith Engagement Program, and the Celebration. The evolution of WIHW over the past three years is a shining example of interfaith harmony, collaboration and shared vision among people of diverse faiths and good will.
Other collaborations have developed over the years, resulting in the Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, and the Mount’s Interfaith Peace and Friendship Centre, as well as three Spiritual Diversity Conferences, and focus groups in areas such as the environment and poverty; death and dying, meditation and prayer, as well as ongoing relationship-building opportunities.
Canada’s two WIHW prizewinners have already started collaborating, and are enthusiastic about Canada’s leadership opportunity. We, at IHH and Interfaith Toronto, are eager to join together in an online presence to
- Further promote the vision of WIHW
- Garner support for a petition to Parliament to proclaim WIHW in Canada
- Shine the light on WIHW events across the country, and
- Encourage everyone to declare commitment to interfaith peace and friendship
This is the way for Canadians to ‘walk our talk’. WIHW encourages us to learn about and get to know each other; appreciate and enjoy our diversity; and embrace this spirit of working together as Canadians. Given the turmoil in the world, we cannot afford to do otherwise.
We are proud of our country receiving this international recognition two years in a row, and appreciate our leadership in fostering interfaith peace and harmony in the world. May we always be seen, at home and abroad, as a people of compassion.
So, enjoy the award everyone!
Share it with your communities, spread the good news, and let’s join together to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony.