This year marks 20 years since the inauguration of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC). In May 2000, Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto invited close to 300 faith leaders and grassroots child-rights organizations and individuals from the world’s major religious communities and spiritual traditions to Tokyo to launch the GNRC. Today, we celebrate 20 years of interfaith cooperation for children. This is a special moment for appreciating the extraordinary work of the GNRC members, led by 55 coordinators in 55 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are filled with gratitude as we commemorate this important milestone. You, the GNRC members, have devoted yourselves and your time to the service of children. You have touched the lives of millions of children in the last 20 years. I pay tribute to all of you, including all our friends and partners tirelessly at work to build a better world for children.
The 20th Anniversary of the GNRC comes at a time when children are facing more challenges than ever, and compounded by new ones, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is reported that about 1 billion of the 2.2 billion children around the world endure some form of psychological, physical and sexual violence every year. Sadly, this number is likely to rise if we don’t do more to build a peaceful world.
Yet I am filled with hope, when I see how the GNRC has transformed the lives of many children around the world especially with the concrete work at the grassroots level. This kind of interfaith cooperation is a powerful answer to the challenges children face. From the bottom of my heart, I thank the many remarkable men, women and children who have made this journey possible. May of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) continue to grow and make a difference in children’s lives!
Thank you very much.
Rev. Keishi Miyamoto,
President, Arigatou International, and
Convenor, Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC).