Fifth GNRC Forum

9-11 May 2017

Panama City, Panama

Four-hundred religious leaders, members of diverse faith communities, leaders of faith-based organizations, United Nations officials, and representatives of international and grassroots organizations from around the world attended the Forum. A pre-forum brought together 64 children on 6-8 May.

The GNRC 5th Forum built on work from GNRC members from diverse faith traditions have been doing since the year 2000, working for and with children, to build a better world for children. Working locally, nationally, and globally. The 5th Forum focused specifically on the role of faith communities in addressing challenges presented by various forms of violence against children in three sub-themes:

  • “Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime”
  • “Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing”
  • “Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children.”

JLI announced a new Learning Hub on Ending Violence Against Children at the forum. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, Arigatou International (shown below) and Christo Greyling, World Vision International announced plans during sessions at the forum. To apply to be a member please register at evac.jliflc.com

Press release from GNRC Fifth Forum

Panama Declaration

Day 1
First Plenary

Chaired by Rt. Rev. Julio E. Murray, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Panama, President of the Ecumenical Committee, Chair, Interreligious Committee in Panama, Chair, GNRC 5th Forum

  • Remarks by Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President, Arigatou International, Convenor, Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and Rev. Mons. Sidney Fones, Chair, GNRC 5th Forum International Organizing Committee
  • Messages from H.E Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Holy See; H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches
  • Opening Address from Panama’s President: Juan Carlos Varela

 

Second Plenary

Co-Chaired by: Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, Professor and Chair, Religion Department, Saint Olaf College, Council Member, Prayer and Action for Children, and Rabbi Diana Gerson; Program Director, New York Board of Rabbis

Keynote Addresses:

  • Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, United Nations, discussed state of Violence Against Children. Referenced report on
  • Children’s Representatives:
  • H.E. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras

 

Third Plenary

Session Moderator: Mr. Kul Gautam, Chair, Prayer and Action for Children, Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations

  • Introductory Remarks: Dr. Susan Bissell, Executive Director, Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children

PANELISTS:

  • Ms. Marita Perceval, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, Lead, Faith-Based Initiative, World Bank Group
  • Dr. Kezevino Aram, Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace International, President,
  • Shanti Ashram, India, President, Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children
  • Rev. Hidehito Okochi, Chief Priest, Kenji-in Temple and Juko-in Temple, Japan, Board Member, Arigatou International
  • Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting)

Attendees then attended breakout working sessions by region (Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East)

 

Day 2
Fourth Plenary

Session Co-Chairs: Prof. Abdulghafur El Busaidy, Chairman, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, and Ms. Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International

THEME 1: Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime: The Role of Faith Communities

Keynote Address by Fr. Juan Luis Carbajal Tejeda, Executive Secretary, Pastoral de Movilidad Humana, Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, followed by a children’s representative’s remarks

THEME 2: Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing: The Role of Faith Communities

Keynote Address by H.G. Dr. Barry C. Morgan, former Archbishop of Wales

THEME 3: Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children: The Role of Faith Communities

Keynote Address by Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High-level Commissioner on Health, Employment and Economic Growth, followed by a children’s representative’s remarks

 

Parallel Sessions by Theme

Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime: The Role of Faith Communities

  • Moderators: Dr. Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, Commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Imam Dr. Rashied Omar, Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peace Building, University of Notre Dame, Coordinating Imam, Claremont Main Road Mosque, Cape Town, South Africa
  • PANELISTS: Mr. Antti Pentikäinen, Executive Director, Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (NRTP), Dr. Amr Abdalla, Senior Advisor on the Reform of Education in Muslim Societies Project, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Washington, D.C. Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace International Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Director, Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (NRTP) Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting) Ms. Janet Arach, GNRC Member, Uganda, Youth Representative

Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing: The Role of Faith Communities

  • Moderators: Dr. Nelson Arns Neumann, Coordinator, Pastoral da Criança, and Rev. Dr. Nicta Lubaale, General Secretary, Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC)
  • PANELISTS: Ms. Georgina de Villalta, Global Movement for Children in Latin America and the Caribbean Prof. Harold Segura, Regional Director of Church Relations and Christian Identity for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Vision International Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez, President of CONAVIGUA, Member, Continental Network of Indigenous Women of Americas, Guatemala Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting) Mrs. Sheran Harper, Worldwide Trustee, Mothers Union, Trainer, Worldwide Parenting Programme

Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children: The Role of Faith Communities

  • Moderators: Ms. Silvia Mazzarelli, Regional Head of Policy and Programming, Plan International, and Ms. Bani Dugal, Representative to the United Nations, Baha’i International Community, United States
  • PANELISTS: Ms. Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director, ECPAT International Sr. Denisse Pichardo, O.P, Dominican Order of the Altagracia Children’s Representative (from the Children’s Pre-Forum Meeting) Ms. Corina Villacorta, Regional Director, Plan International Americas Mr. Christo Greyling, Senior Director, Faith – Advocacy and External Engagement, World Vision International

 

Fifth Plenary

ALL FOR CHILDREN: Working with Faith Communities and Partners to End Violence Against Children through Arigatou International’s Initiatives

Panelists:

  • Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC): Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General, GNRC, Director, Arigatou International – Nairobi, and Dr. Dorcas Kiplagat, GNRC Network and Programs Coordinator Ethics Education for Children: Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Secretary General, Ethics Education for Children, Director, Arigatou International – Geneva Prayer and Action for Children: Ms. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, Director, Prayer and Action for Children, Director, Arigatou International – New York Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty): Rev. Fredrick O. Nyabera, Director, End Child Poverty, Arigatou International – Nairobi

 

Day 3
Parallel Sessions by Theme

“The Nexus Between Child Poverty and Violence Against Children”

Facilitators: Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, Lead, Faith-Based Initiative, World Bank Group, and Rev. Fredrick O. Nyabera, Director, End Child Poverty, Arigatou International – Nairobi

“The Role of Ethics Education in Strengthening Families and Nurturing Spirituality in Children”

Facilitators: Dr. Kezevino Aram, Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace International, President, Shanti Ashram, India, President, Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, and Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Secretary General, Ethics Education for Children, Director, Arigatou International – Geneva

“Combatting Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children”

Facilitators: Rabbi Diana Gerson, Program Director, New York Board of Rabbis, and Ms. Rebeca Rios-Kohn, Director, Prayer and Action for Children, Director, Arigatou International – New York

The Sixth Plenary included reading the consensus statement of GNRC Network, commitment from GNRC to see the statement through and a call to action for others to join.

 

Seventh Plenary: Closing Ceremony

Session Co-Chairs: H. L. Bishop Dr. Method Kilaini, Bishop of Bukoba Diocese, Bukoba, Tanzania, and Ms. Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez, President of CONAVIGUA, Member, Continental Network of Indigenous Women of Americas, Guatemala

  • Sheikh Mohamed Sohaib Al-Chami, the Grand Imam of Aleppo, Syria
  • Dr. Agnes Abuom, Moderator, Central Committee, World Council of Churches
  • Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High-level Commissioner on Health, Employment and Economic Growth
  • Children’s Presentation
  • Reading of GNRC 5th Forum Declaration, Rev. Mons. Sidney Fones
  • H.G. Archbishop Felix Machado, Archbishop of Vasai, India

The conference ended with an interfaith prayer celebrating all the faith traditions in attendance.

 

 

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