Religious communicators are influential leaders in determining how individuals and communities come to understand, conceptualize and practice religion. Religious communities frequently release statements and declarations based on authentic theology to support peaceful and inclusive societies. Religion communicators play a key role ensuring these religious declarations are integrated into the daily practices and programming of religious institutions to promote cohesive societies.
On 20 March 2020, representatives from four faith traditions will explore implications of such statements on religious freedom next March in metro Washington. Rev. Susan Hayward, Senior Advisor for Religion & Inclusive Societies of the United States Institute for Peace; Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union of Reform Judaism; and Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, will discuss the importance of communicating and promoting religious declarations during a plenary panel session at the Religion Communication Congress 2020. More than 100 faith-based organizations are sponsoring the once-a-decade international gathering and over 500 religion communicators are expected to attend.
The focus of the panel is to showcase religiously-based declarations, such as the Marrakesh Declaration and others, that aim to advance interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence. Issued in January 2016 by more than 300 leaders gathered in Morocco to promote the rights of religious minorities in Muslim majority communities, the document has received international recognition from the UN and many western nations. It was recognized by the Obama administration and is still promoted by Ambassador Brownback under the current administration, in addition to having been referenced by Pope Francis during a recent visit to Morocco.
The Marrakesh Declaration was issued in response to the growing crisis pertaining to religious minorities who face detrimental human rights violations and violence. Over 300 religious actors, government leaders, academics and civil society actors gathered in Morocco to sign the historic Marrakesh Declaration to affirm the rights of religious minorities living in Muslim majority countries. This Declaration and legal framework draw upon Islamic traditions and texts. While the Marrakesh Declaration has received international recognition, it still faces the challenge of being effectively organized and implemented at a local level. It demonstrates the need, and proposes the challenge, for religious communicators to effectively communicate and connect with audiences to promote and implement religious declarations.
Religion Communication Congress 2020 is a once-a-decade historic gathering of professional religion communicators from a wide range of faith traditions. This conference is anticipated to have over 500 religious communicators from around the world gather to learn innovative communication strategies, broaden perspectives and learn across different faith traditions to foster greater cooperation and collaboration in our local and global communities.
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