GIWA at KAICIID’s Second Meeting of the Advisory Forum
High-Level faith leaders from across the world were inspired today towards promoting interfaith reconciliation by joining forces against a “new common enemy.” The meetings, held by the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), under the leadership of Faisal Bin Muaammar, Secretary-General, KAICIID, brought together foremost leaders from the Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, and other faiths under a common banner for the promotion of peace and reconciliation in these trying times.
Featured prominently as a speaker was HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Pujya Swamiji), President, Parmarth Niketan and Founder/Chair, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, India. He also serves as a distinguished Advisory Forum Member for the global KAICIID mission. Said Pujya Swamiji, “It is time that the faiths come together, and work together to conquer a new common enemy. As our planet heats up and our life-giving waters evaporate before our eyes, our world is at serious risk. No longer do we have the luxury of debating small theological differences when the fate of the world rests in the balance. Today is the day to reconcile our differences and pave the way towards a new and hopeful future by fighting the common enemy of water scarcity. For without water, there is no life, no hope, and no tomorrow upon which we can pin our dreams.”
According to the United Nations, Within 13 years, much of the world will have only half the water it needs for survival. This is already leading to failed farms, hunger and masses of people forced to flee their homes as refugees. Just this past summer, over 300 million people in India alone faced serious droughts.
“This is why I founded the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance,” Pujya Swamiji added. “For it is when the faiths come together and work together to conquer this common enemy, it brings us together as allies. It begins with a common cause that unites us. It ends with hope restored.”
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance was launched by UNICEF at UNICEF World Headquarters under sponsorship of the Government of the Netherlands and USAID – US Agency for International Development as the first organization to bring together all faiths to ensure everyone, everywhere has sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
“The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance has focused on bringing together religious leaders and joining hands to preserve and protect our water, our air and our soil,” said Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance. “We are bringing together religious leaders to work together NOT for their own power or politics or prosperity, but to work together for our global humanity.”
Added Pujya Swamiji, “Regardless of our religion, regardless of our language or culture, we breathe the same air, drink the same water, and eat food grown in the same soil. Now is the time, while there still is time, to protect it.”
Other Distinguished Participants: His Excellency Bishop Miguel Ayuso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Chief Rabbi David Rosen, American Jewish Committee, International Director of Interreligious Affairs Dr Saleh Suleman Al-Wohaibi, Secretary General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth Dr. Hamad Al Majed, Faculty Member, Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Rabbi Marc Schneier, Founder and Chairman, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) Swami Agnivesh, President Emeritus of World Council of Arya Samaj Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatii, Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance Acharya Lokesh Muni, President-Founder, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti.