A REPORT ON A PREPARATORY MEETING HELD IN GLASGOW,
23-25 FEBRUARY 2008
of Faith from Belgium, France, Scotland, Spain and Sweden
convened in Glasgow, Scotland from the 23-25 of February
2008 to prepare for the launch of the European Women of
Faith Network. This was a follow-up meeting of another
meeting that was held in Italy in May 2007 with representatives
from Hungary, Belgium, France, Scotland, Spain, Sweden,
Bosnia Herzegovina and Italy in which the Religions for
Peace European Women’s Coordinating Committee was
formed. The meeting was co-hosted by the Interfaith Council
of Scotland and the University of Glasgow Chaplaincy Center
, and moderated by the Coordinators of Religions for Peace
European Women’s Coordinating Committee, Mrs. Ravinder
Kaur Nijjar and Mrs. Yolande Iliano. The Director of the
Women’s Program of Religions for Peace International,
Ms Jacqueline Ogega based in New York, was also present
in the meeting to share experiences, strategies and lessons
in building the Religions for Peace Global Women of Faith
Network that could be replicated in Europe. Mrs. Carin
Gardbring and Mrs. Cristina Monteys were the rappourtours
of the sessions.
of Religions for Peace European Women of Faith Network
Enhance inter-faith networking among women of faith
Strengthen the capacities of women of faith to build
peace,, promote just and harmonious societies and transform
conflict through congregations and religious women’s
organizations in Europe.
gender equality and women’s empowerment in multi-religious
collaboration for peace.
strategic relevant multi-stakeholder partnerships and
Promote the establishment and development of faith-based
and inter-faith based women’s networks in Europe.
Rules for the Religions for Peace European Women of Faith
women of faith agreed on the Standing Rules for the European
Women of Faith Network, and affirmed the need to create
linkages with the Religions for Peace Women of Faith Networks
in other continents. Please refer to the appended document
on the Standing Rules for the European Women of Faith
In addition to the
functions outlined in the standing rules, the women of
faith agreed that Religions for Peace European Women’s
Coordinating Committee would:
- Provide leadership
in the preparation of annual implementation plans based
on priorities adopted from Religions for Peace Global
Plan of Action – 2007-2011, in consultation with
the local and national networks.
- Support the mainstreaming
of women of faith not only in the programs but also
in the structures of Religions for Peace-Europe and
the European Council of Religious Leaders. Without imposing
any quota, the women of faith stressed that it was important
to guarantee a minimum of women’s presence in
all Religions for Peace structures (no less than 35%).
There was an emphasis on ensuring inclusiveness of women
of faith in the composition of the Governing Board.
- Ensure that national
women of faith networks were represented at the RfP-European
Women’s Coordinating Committee, even if the networks
existed prior to the creation of the Religions for Peace
European Women of Faith Network.
- Identify the existing
women of faith initiatives (both local and national)
and create linkages and cooperation.
- Promote the creation
of new interfaith initiatives of women where they don’t
exist and yet there is a need.
- Explore ways to
create partnerships with non religious organizations
and institutions (such as the Council of Europe).
- Explore the possibility
of having patrons that will promote the network and
provide fund raising opportunities.
the Religions for Peace European Women of Faith Network
The Women of Faith agreed on three organs that would support
the coordination and operation of Religions for Peace
European Women of Faith Network: The European Women’s
Coordinating Committee, Advisory Group, and the Consultants.
The corresponding functions are outlined in the Standing
Rules that is appended.
An important question
arose in regard to fundraising. It was a requirement that
for any organization to receive funding, it had to be
formally registered. A question arose as to whether Religions
for Peace European Women of Faith Network needed to be
registered formally. It was shared that other regional
networks operate within existing regional or national
inter-religious councils, and that would be a good way
to leverage resources and encourage cooperation The women
of faith networks keep separate financial accounts from
inter-religious councils that they affiliate with, to
ease management and reporting.
The women of faith
continued the process of co-opting members to serve in
these capacities and co-opted more members.
Please see appended
list on the representatives co-opted to serve in different
The Rovereto Inter-Religious Encounter May 22-25
The Coordinator of Religions for Peace European Women’s
Coordinating Committee reported that the Rovereto Inter-Religious
Encounter was scheduled to begin in the evening at 18.00
Thursday 22 May. On Friday 23 May at 15.00 the first workshop
session would take place, six projects/workshops are to
be prepared and Religions for Peace European Women of
Faith Network was responsible for the project 4 titled
“The dignity of Difference in our cities…
European identity”. The concept note and agenda
for the Rovereto encounter was reviewed and accepted by
the women of faith as appropriate.
The other objective
of the Revoreto Inter-Religious Encounter would be to
launch the Religions for Peace European Women of Faith
Network. There was need to share responsibilities among
the European Women of Faith in order to make the Encounter
a success. The women of faith reviewed the agenda and
recommended persons to participate in various sessions.
A decision was reached to convene a one-day pre-Encounter
meeting for women of faith to launch the Religions for
Peace European Women of Faith Network. It was recommended
that all women of faith arrive on the evening on Wednesday
21 May to have a gathering in the morning/early afternoon
on Thursday 22 May. Invitations would be sent out to a
minimum of 30 women of faith, including all the advisors
and newly co-opted members of the European Women’s
Coordinating Committee, as well as consultants.
- The Coordinators of Religions
for Peace European Women’s Coordinating Committee,
Yolande and Ravinder, would prepare the agenda for the
one-day pre-Encounter meeting for women of faith.
- RfP- EWFN is responsible
together with the youth lead the opening meditation.
This has to be short. Ravinder had prepared a proposal
with Lightening of the Candles and short readings from
each faith. Brigitte and Cristina would coordinate with
the youth and present a proposal on how to carry that
forward by the end of March.
- Introduction and greetings from
Religions for peace EWFN would be done both by Ravinder
in English and Yolande in French.
More details were
available on the program.
Field Experience and learning :
St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art:
The women of faith visited the St. Mungo Museum of Religious
Life and Art in Glasgow, Scotland. This unique museum
explores the importance of religion in people's lives
across the world and across time. It is aimed at promoting
understanding and respect between people of different
faiths. The Museum explores the world's six main religions:
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.
The Women of Faith listened to people speak about their
faith and viewed different religious symbols, artifacts
of Glasgow Interfaith Centre for University Students:
At the University of Glasgow in the Chaplaincy Centre,
the women of faith visited and learned about University’s
Inter-Faith centre for youth. The meeting was hosted by
Rev Stuart Mc Quarrie, the University Chaplain. The interfaith
centre is the very first in Scotland and it is developed
in cooperation with the students. The activities are value
based and contributing to the leadership training of the
students into their different careers. Among other things
they are working with new techniques to respond to the
different traditions in practicing each faith. The centre
is as a model for promoting inter-religious cooperation
among young people.
Inter-Faith Council and Glasgow City Council:
Chief Executive Officer, Ms Pramila Kaur, introduced the
women of faith to the work of the Scottish Inter-Faith
Council (SIFC) which was established in 1999. Today they
have 36 member organizations and some observers. The council
works closely with the city council of Glasgow and with
the Scottish government and parliament. The council works
in the areas among others, of Inter-faith, religion, belief
and spirituality, multiculturalism, good relations, integration
and community cohesion, national research, national strategy,
intellectual capital, media and conflict resolution. Ms.
Carrie Varjavandi, Education and Development officer introduced
the women of faith to the SIFC work with women, young
people and religious leaders and work with local inter-faith
groups. In support to the development of inter-faith work,
the government of Scotland has developed inter-faith week
every year for dialogue and mutual understanding among
The Women of faith
also shared a meal and held discussions with Cllr. Irfan
Rabbani and Mr. Tom Harrigam of Glasgow City council,
and Sister Isabel Smyth, who was a key person in setting
up the Scottish Interfaith Council
of the draft agenda for the pre-Encounter meeting to launch
• Planning process for Rovereto Encounter, including
finalization of invitations, responsibilities for sessions
and sharing of final ..documents.
• Continuation with the mapping of religious women’s
organizations towards the building of the Religions for
Peace European Women ..of
• A fundraising strategy be developed to support
concrete projects for Religions for Peace European Women
of Faith Network.
• RfP- EWCC coordinators highlighted the need for
an administrative person to help them with the managing
of the committee and the ..network.
• Collaboration with Religions for Peace Europe
Governing Board and the European Council of Religious