Under the banner of the Global Week of Faith in Action for Children, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) convened a 2-hour virtual meeting on Wednesday 18th November 2020, to mark and celebrate 20 years of GNRC’s interfaith collaboration for children. Participants from more than 30 countries attended this session that had active child participation. During the event, members of the Arigatou International Advisory Group, Directors of Arigatou International’s four initiatives, representatives from international organizations, and GNRC Coordinators, contact persons and members graced the session.
The extraordinary work of the GNRC members — commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of children — was appreciated during the special occasion. The event provided the platform for children, youth and GNRC grassroots partners to share their activities and progress in working with and for children to make a better and peaceful world for all. Participants similarly reflected on GNRC’s actions in attaining the Panama Commitments on Ending Violence Against Children adopted in May 2017 at the GNRC 5th Forum.
In his message, the President, Arigatou International and Convenor, GNRC, Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, highlighted the important milestones Arigatou International had made. He personally commended the GNRC members active in 55 countries who have devoted themselves to the service of children, touching the lives of millions of in the last 20 years.
Mr. Kul Gautum, Chair of the Advisory Group, Arigatou International, noted that the launch of the GNRC in May 2000, was a response to the invitation of religious leaders and grassroots workers from around the world by the Japanese Buddhist leader and Founder of Arigatou International, Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto, who believed that people of every faith, and good will, must join together to build a just and peaceful world for children. Mr. Gautum was gratified by the commitment of the world’s communities to join together for this ethical responsibility – to ensure that every child grows and thrives in a just and peaceful world.
The Secretary General, GNRC, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, appreciated the efforts of all members across the world including children and youth who have worked to secure their rights and well-being of children. He specifically thanked former coordinators including Ms. Marta Palma, GNRC– Europe; Ms. Dorit Shippin, GNRC– Israel; Ms. Evi Guggenheim, GNRC– Israel; Mrs. Mercedes Roman, GNRC– Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); Mr. Fady Yarak, GNRC– Middle East; Rev. Prof. Dr. Qais Sadiq, GNRC– Middle East; Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, GNRC– South and South East Asia; and Ms. Razia Ismail Abasi, GNRC Central Asia and Caucasus, who worked hard to build the GNRC to what it is today.
Dr. Ali paid special tribute to the departed souls including the late: Mr. Shozo Fujita, Former Secretary General, Arigatou International; Sr. Jean Pruitt, Former Coordinator, GNRC – Africa; and Rev. Adita Torres Lescano, Committee Member, GNRC– Peru, who were instrumental in GNRC’s work and in promoting children’s rights.
Special thanks to the children and youth of the GNRC who took part in the session and have been ambassadors of peace and sustainable development for the GNRC for 20 years. We are grateful to the efforts, commitment and passion of our members and partners and we look forward to working together with you even more to secure the rights and well-being of children worldwide.