The Fuji Declaration at the United Nations in honor of World Interfaith Harmony Week
February 3, 2016
Mrs. Saionji joined other distinguished government and U.N. speakers, religious, and heads of international organizations to discuss the importance of interfaith solidarity in ensuring the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The event was organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in partnership with the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations.
The heart of her speech was the introduction of the Fuji Declaration, launched in May 2015. She encouraged people in all fields to be part of the Fuji Declaration, to bring forth the divine spark that links all people in unity while encouraging our diversity to shine through.
As one of the organizers of the event, The High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, invited Mrs. Saionji to join other distinguished speakers to offer innovative approaches to developing a spirit of partnerships among religious communities and the United Nations.
The first of two panels addressed interfaith harmony as key to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Remarks were offered by representatives from the Permanent Mission of Jordan, the Observer Mission of the Holy See, UNESCO, American Jewish World Service, and the Ifa Heritage Institute in Nigeria. These speakers offered diverse cultural perspectives, setting the stage for Mrs. Saionji, introduced as the Chairperson of three organizations: The World Peace Prayer Society, Byakko Shinko Kai and The Goi Peace Foundation.
To open her remarks, Mrs. Saionji called the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “a roadmap to a new civilization.” The slides accompanying her presentation showed activities at Fuji Sanctuary in Japan and the planting of Peace Poles around the world. She spoke about the annual Symphony of Peace Prayers organized at Fuji Sanctuary since 2005 which hosted the launch program for the Fuji Declaration in 2015.
The highlight of her talk focused on the Fuji Declaration encouraging people in all fields to recognize and awaken to the ‘divine spark’ which exists within the human heart for a more sustainable world community. She asked, “What would relationships between religions or governments look like if we all understood that every individual has this divine spark? Could this understanding open the door to a new era of unity in diversity that empowers the work of the United Nations?”
Mrs. Saionji also took this occasion to introduce the new Soul of WoMen Global Network campaign to mark the first anniversary of the Fuji Declaration. Soul of Women is a project of the Fuji Declaration inviting both women and men to work in healing the balance between the masculine and the feminine, love and power, to further ignite the divine spark in everyone. It promotes the UN Sustainable Development Goal#5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
She concluded with these powerful words, “Let all the networks join hands with one another and with the United Nations to support the Sustainable Development agenda and to co-create a new global civilization – a culture of peace. We cannot wait any longer. May peace prevail on Earth.”
The event continued with a musical presentation and a second panel of excellent speakers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the U.N. Population Fund, the World Bank, and different faiths. Victor Kazanjian, Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative, closed his speech with that very prayer, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”
The conference room was filled with a new light of hope and promise as the spirit of caring cooperation among people of all faiths and walks of life pervaded the hearts of all attendants at the close of the program.
The Fuji Declaration has taken its place on the world stage. It is now time for women and men to realize the power we have when our divine sparks unite for a world at peace. In the words of Masami Saionji, “We cannot wait any longer.”