Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on June 26 hosted the launch of a British government initiative called “faith partnership principles” that will guide the Department for International Development’s relations with religious organizations.
The department said it will work with faith groups to identify three priority countries for collaborative learning and action; facilitate an inter-faith forum and keep faith groups informed about funding opportunities, according to the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS).
Williams noted “the distinctive contribution of faith-based organizations and faith communities in the humanitarian and development arena,” adding that “there is great potential in promoting mutual understanding, critical engagement and collaborative action between governments, civil society and faith communities in promoting global justice and sustainable development.”
The document outlining the principles was produced in consultation with a working group from faith-based development organizations across the faith spectrum, ACNS said.
“Faith makes such an important contribution to development … Faith groups are doing excellent work in providing not only humanitarian relief, but delivering health, education and other services in some of the most troubled parts of the world … I look forward to the closer partnership with people of faith who play a unique role in fighting poverty,” wrote Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell in the foreword.
“What we share with each other as faith communities is a vision of humanity that speaks not just of rights but of the honor due to human beings, an honor that informs and drives our commitment to international development,” Williams said.
The launch event also included a panel discussion and debate on the subject “Faith, Poverty and Justice” that included Williams; Gurharpal Singh, Professor in Inter-Religious Relations and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies; Severine Deneulin, Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath and Fuad Nahdi, Executive Director of Radical Middle Way.