Initiative News

Reflections on Arigatou and its four initiatives

Rev. Dr Hans Ucko shared some reflections on Arigatou and its four initiatives at the recent International Seminar on Ethics Education as well as at the Council Meeting of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

Arigatou International has launched and continues to sustain four initiatives that all aim at promoting children's rights and wellbeing through interfaith collaboration. The four initiatives each has its own particular character. The Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) is a network for interfaith collaboration for children's rights and wellbeing, the Ethics Education for Children is a program to enhance quality education, nurture values and provide space for children's innate potential for spirituality, DPAC is a movement to combine prayer and sustainlable action to enhance the situation for children. The Poverty Initiative will mobilise faith communities to contribute to ending poverty affecting children.

All four initiatives are interrelated and they are promoted through interaction by networking with each other in order to help build a world fit for children. At the occasion of the International Seminar on Ethics Education at the end of April, Rev. Dr Hans Ucko was asked to share his reflections on Arigatou and its four initiatives. Dr Ucko has been involved in the design and inception of all four Arigatou initiatives and he is currently serving as Co-Chair of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.

The uniqueness of the Arigatou initiatives lies, says Dr Ucko, in the intentional emphasis on the core of religious resources towards interreligious cooperation. The overall thrust of Arigatou is Prayer and Practice and this thrust teases out of people their religious commitment for the betterment of the world we together share and live in. Spirituality is intrinsic to being human, but is so often silenced from early childhood on. Through the Arigatou initiatives spirituality as a contribution is sought and nurtured.

Rev. Dr Hans Ucko is an ordained minister of the Church of Sweden and has throughout his ministry been involved in Jewish-Christian and interreligious dialogue. He received his doctorate in theology at the Senate of Serampore College, Calcutta, India, where he wrote his thesis on the concepts of "people" and "people of God" as integral to the Jewish tradition and Asian contextual theologies.

In the 1980’s he served as the Executive Secretary of the Church of Sweden for Jewish-Christian Relations, interreligious dialogue and East Asian Relations. Subsequently he was the Director for the Office of Interreligious Relations and Dialogue of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland (1989-2008).  He is the former President of Religions for Peace, Europe. He is the recipient of the Maja Koene Peace Award for the Promotion of Inter-religious Harmony and he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary, CT, USA.

Dr Ucko lives today in France and Sweden and is lecturing and writing as well as involved in various projects on interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Please click here to read his Reflections on Arigatou and its four initiatives.