United Religions Initiative
|Headquarters||The Presidio in San Francisco, California, USA|
|Membership||+1 million people|
|-||Global Council Chair||Yoland Trevino|
|-||President||The Rt. William E. Swing|
|-||Executive Director||Charles P. Gibbs|
|-||United Religions Initiative Charter||26 June 2000|
The United Religions Initiative (URI) is an international, grassroots, interfaith bridge-building organization modeled after the United Nations. It aims to create social change by promoting "enduring, daily interfaith cooperation," ending "religiously motivated violence", and promoting "cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings."
Guided by the vision of founder The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing the URI Charter was developed through a series of international conferences and consultation with transformative organizational design practitioners David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney. The URI Charter was signed by more than two-hundred people present, and hundreds more joining over the Internet, at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on June 26, 2000.
The URI is composed of 426 Cooperation Circles (CCs) in 72 countries worldwide as of November 2009. CCs are groups of 7 or more individuals representing 3 or more different faiths or spiritual expressions. CC members are all located in one of eight regions or span across multiple regions:
- Latin America & the Caribbean
- Middle East & North Africa
- North America
- Southeast Asia & the Pacific
Before the formal charter signing in 2000, URI supporters around the world participated together in a project called "72 Hours for Peace", in which more than 250 local organizations united in projects promoting peace and justice during the turn of the millennium.
Examples of global and member initiatives documented in the public record:
- The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative has played a key role in promoting peace in war-torn northern Uganda. The Ugandan groups are also participants in the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund supported by the World Bank.
- Members united in early support of U.S. action to prevent continued atrocies in Darfur through the proposed Darfur Accountability Act of 2005.
- The Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI) "is a peace organization which has been working actively since 2003 to promote interfaith cooperation, a culture of peace, harmony, constructive dialogue and the Golden Rule. It is a nongovernmental peace organization legally registered with the Ministry of Justice in Ethiopia. IPI was established by concerned citizens from different religions here in Ethiopia that strongly believe that religions should play an important role in building trust and promoting a culture of peace, healing and reconciliation."
- "United Religions Initiative Charter".
- Cooperrider, David L. and Diana Kaplin Whitney, Appreciative inquiry: a positive revolution in change, page 31, Berret-Koehler Publishers Inc., 2005
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette, June 28, 2000, Ervin Dyer, Charter Signed for Religious Coalitions "Google archive".
- Cooperation Circles, United Religions Initiative
- Talcott, Sarah, Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action, p78, ed. by Eboo Patel and Patrice Brodeur, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006
- Religion News Service, January 8, 2008, Jason Kane, Ugandan Religious Leaders Set Aside Rivalries in Pursuit of Peace "Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life".
- Marshall, Katherine and Lucy Keough, Mind, Heart, and Soul in the Fight Against Poverty, The World Bank, 2004 pp232-233
- Christian Today, April 12, 2005, Interfaith Group Backs Call to End Darfur Genocide, "christiantoday.com archive".
- Interfaith Peace-building Initiative
- United Religions Initiative URI's Homepage
- "William Swing advises graduates to follow their passions, not someone else’s" Rt. Rev. William E. Swing speech from Stanford Report, June 20, 2007 Stanford University