The Assembly of the UN of religions


It is the largest Religion in this year. In Lindau on lake Constance, representatives from 100 countries come together for Religion. The symbolism is great. The expectations are perhaps even greater.

Inter-religious peace symbol wood designer Gisbert Baarmann – 36 woods from all over the world

The sculpture is obvious. Seven and a half meters high, the wooden Ring is. He is swallowed up within himself, without beginning, without end, without on the Outside and the Inside. Since a few days, the “Ring for Peace is” in the Luitpold Park, in the lake Constance town Lindau.

“He is representative of the idea, the Vision and the Mission of Religions for Peace,” says Ulrich Schneider. The 46-Year-old is in charge as managing Director of the “Foundation for peace dialogue between the world religions and civil society”, the implementation of the tenth world Assembly of Religions for Peace, the Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday opened.

Global network meets in the heart of Europe

Religions for Peace is a global network of religious communities. In fact, says Schneider, are moved in all the religions of the world, in any Form, in the 1970-founded group.

Ulrich Schneider of the Foundation for peace dialogue between the world religions and civil society

There are connoisseurs who compare the approximately five-yearly world meetings of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Now this large civil society Alliance in a small town far from the political centres that is only accessible with some effort. But Lindau is located in the heart of Europe. And the city shows for many years with the international Meeting of Nobel prize winners, and the atmosphere provides for intense Reflection and exchange across borders.

Wolfgang Schürer has committed long years for the Nobel laureate Meeting. Now the Economist as the Chairman of the “Foundation of peace dialogue of the world religions and civil society'” of the Motor behind the Religion. “We hope that we give with the world Assembly ideas that can be sustainable, and that we are not just another of the so-called summit that today there are in Excess of the world,” says Schürer, the German wave.

The expectations of the policy and the Religion

This is in line with the expectations or hopes of the policy, not only of the Federal foreign office in Berlin, the Lindau with several million Euro. For years, there are regions of the world, in which political institutions are unable to and only civil society forces, often from the religious sphere – Distressed help: villages in the Central African Republic, for example, in Parts of Iraq or in refugee camps in various States. “Religious communities are the largest civil society institutions in our world,” says Andreas Görgen: “Beyond all questions of faith, it is their responsibility, within and between societies.”

Görgen directs the culture and communication Department at the Federal foreign office. Since 2018, there are in its jurisdiction, a unit on “Religion and foreign policy”. In Lindau, Görgen and his staff also diplomats can be colleagues from a number of European countries welcome to observe the Meeting. Because the world – whether in Europe, in Asia or in the USA – look policy on the role of religions and reminds them of their responsibility for the peace.

“Angel of cultures” in the pavement of Lindau: The symbols for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are an angel

That is to say: policy, sees the Potential of the religious communities, she wants to take but also as forces for peace in the obligation. Part of it is in Lindau, there is also a hot iron. Behind closed doors, delegates speak, for example, from North and South Korea, Myanmar and Bangladesh, from Sudan and South Sudan together.

People with courage

How this looks in real terms, showing some of the more prominent names of participants in Lindau. As Jose Ramos Horta, an important politician in his home country of East Timor, winner of the Nobel peace prize comes. Or Layla Alkahafaji: The Muslim Irakerin sat under Saddam Hussein ten years in prison, was then deported to Canada and is today, in your home country one of the leading voices in the fight against violence against women. Or cardinal John Onaiyekan: The Nigerian is one of those forces in Nigeria, which occur despite all the terror of the Islamist Boko Haram movement for a Coexistence of religions.

A total of 900 religion, take good representatives from 100 countries at this year’s conference (20. – 23. August) part. The original objective that one-third of the Participants are female, missed the organizers, according to Ulrich Schneider, managing Director of the Foundation. Also, Schneider emphasizes the importance of Religion in the world. About 80 percent of the world’s population identified themselves as religious: “This sure is different than here in Germany. And it shows what an important role Religion plays today.”

Pray and eat

The diversity of countries and religions will shape Lindau, the German city of the “Swabian sea”, as lake Constance is called.

In the centre of the island of Lindau: the Protestant and the Catholic Church in the city

So, the Catholic and the Protestant Church of the city, on the island of the same side by side, religious representatives and the local population to invite to the market to eat at a common table. And there – as a permanent, enduring Symbol – the Ring.

The German side hopes that Lindau and its atmosphere to boost the encounters and conversations. It is not only a joint Declaration, but also to very concrete decisions. It is planned a global Initiative for the protection of religious sites and a shared commitment in the scientific field, to be able to sexual violence against women in situations of armed conflict better than today, to enlighten.

“Our hope is,” says Schneider, “that Lindau is to the permanent place of inter-religious Dialogue and peace-pulse”. Then the religion could be representative for five years at the lake of Constance.