World peace summit criticized as vague

Published October 1, 2000

New York

-Prominent ecumenists have declared that the Millennium World Peace Summit of about 1,000 religious leaders, held in New York, may well have a good result. But they also said the event was too cumbersome and too vague.

The unwieldiness of the Aug. 28 to 31 meeting held at the United Nations headquarters, was criticized by several high-profile participants, including Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, for an overall lack of focus and depth.

The religious leaders signed a Commitment to Global Peace, pledging to respect other religious traditions, condemn religious violence and work for more equality between women and men.

Left unsettled was how the religious community would continue working with the UN, which did not formally sponsor the summit. Though the faith leaders resolved to create a religious advisory council for the UN, it was not clear how the group would work or be formed.

Dr. Raiser mentioned existing “interfaith networks focusing on the issues of justice and peace,” including the World Conference on Religion and Peace and the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, which, like the WCC, have formal links with the UN.

“I’m not convinced forming another body will take us much further,” Dr Raiser said.


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