Symposium    On Religions and International Institutions


Today there is a great need for a comprehensive study of inter-religious issues in their specific relevance to international relations and international institutions.
Such an enquiry will have to address amongst other issues the complex relationships between religions, politics and economics.

The aim of the Symposium is to increase understanding and cooperation between religious communities/organisations and international institutions.
It wants to raise awareness in the mainstream of academic work and public policy for the related issues and to contribute to improved relations between international institutions, religious communities/organisations, inter-religious organisations and indigenous communities.
It wants to strengthen the engagement with the UN System as a partner for inter-cultural and inter-religious encounters and projects.

The Symposium is organised by the Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, UK and co-sponsored by: the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (Birmingham, UK), the Temple of Understanding (New York), and the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace.





Date:        9th July 2004
Location:  AC Barcelona Hotel, Room 22@

9.15- 10.45

Historical Overview and Introduction into the Issues

Chair: Dr Martin Stringer

Religions and International Institutions: An Overview
- Dr Josef Boehle

The Interfaith Movement: Changing Priorities
- Rev Marcus Braybrooke
Methodologies of International Inter-religious Activities:
the WCRP Approach
- Rev Kyoichi Sugino


Panel on Religions and International Institutions

Chair: Dr Josef Boehle

- Dr Felix Marti

- Dr Azza Karam


- Sister Joan Kirby


Questions and Answers (30 minutes)


Lunch Break


2.00- 3.30

Religions, Civil Society and International Institutions

Chair: Rev Marcus Braybrooke


 Critical Issues in Working with International Institutions
 - Dr John Taylor

Religions and the World Bank
 - Olivia Donelly ( for Katherine Marshall )

 Religious Communities, Transnational NGOs and the
 Development of a Global Civil Society
 - Prof Patrice Brodeur


3.45 - 5.00

Concluding Panel and Examples
of Organisations, Initiatives and Research

Chair: Prof Pal Ahluwalia


 Temple of Understanding
 -Sister Joan Kirby and Diane Williams

United Religions Initiative
 - Rev Charles Gibbs

 Project Towards a Spiritual Forum at the UN
  - Dr Gerardo Gonzales

An Interfaith Perspective on Globalisation
 - Dr Kamran Mofid

 The UNESCO Chair for Interfaith Studies,
 University of Birmingham, UK
 - Dr Martin Stringer



For updated information and additional resources please visit:

  Symposium Presenters and Panel  Chairs:

Dr Pal Ahluwalia is Professor of Politics at Goldsmith College, University of London.

Dr Josef Boehle is Research Fellow in Globalisation, Religion and Politics at the University of Birmingham, UK and Moderator of the Symposium.

Revd Marcus Braybrooke, Anglican vicar near Oxford, is President of the World Congress of Faiths, a Peace Councillor and author of over thirty books.

Dr Patrice Brodeur is Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Connecticut College, New London, USA.

Olivia Donelly is Junior Professional Associate at the World Bank and works with its

                        Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics.


Rev Charles Gibbs is the Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative.

Dr Gerardo Gonzales is Doctor in Social Psychology (Sorbonne), worked for 27 years as UN international officer in the field of P&SD. At present he is Trustee of URI and Director of a project aimed at creating a permanent Spiritual Forum within the UN.


Dr Azza Karam is President of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN and works for the World Conference on Religion and Peace as Director of the Women's Program and Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Arab and Islamic Affairs.


Sister Joan Kirby is the UN representative of the Temple of Understanding and a member of the Sacred Heart Order.


Katherine Marshall is Director and Counselor to the President of the World Bank on the Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics.


Dr Felix Marti is President of the Institute Linguapax and Former Director of the Centre UNESCO de Catalunya.


Dr Kamran Mofid, an Economist, is the Founder/Convenor of the ‘An Interfaith Perspective on Globalisation’conference series.


Dr Martin Stringer is the Head of the Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, UK.


Rev Kyoichi Sugino is Director of Worldwide Services of the World Conference on Religion and Peace.


Dr John Taylor studied & taught Islamics at Cambridge, Punjab, McGill, Birmingham & Harvard. He has worked with the WCC, WCRP, and CEC and now serves as UN (Geneva) representative of IARF ( International Association for Religious Freedom).

Diane Williams is Special Projects Coordinator & UN Representative, Temple of Understanding and Chair, NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns at the UN.



For more information about the 2004 Parliament of theWorld’s Religions in Barcelona please visit the following web site:


2004 Parliament of the World's Religions