Arigatou International anniversary celebrations

Arigatou International is celebrating 20 years of dedicated work for children’s rights. The celebrative event will take place in Tokyo, Japan on 11 -12 October, 2010 at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Buddhist movement Myochikai. The Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) will at the same occasion celebrate its 10th anniversary. The official launch of the recent World Day of Prayer and Action, will take place at the occasion of these anniversary events.

There will be significant celebrations in Tokyo on 11 and 12 October and the reasons are many. The Buddhist lay movement Myochikai is celebrating its 60th anniversary and there are several achievements to celebrate. First of all, the commitment by the members and the leadership of Myochikai for its longstanding dedication to children’s rights and wellbeing. The commitment to make a change for the children of the world has become a sign of the identity of the movement.

In 1990, Myochikai established the Arigatou Foundation in order to better channel and support children projects run by UNICEF, UNHCR, Save the Children, Defence for Children International and other NGOs working for children’s rights and well-being.

In May 2000, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) was established to provide a platform and common space for faith based NGOs and individuals to advocate and collaborate with UN agencies and others of goodwill for a better world for children. The GNRC network is the only interfaith network especially dedicated to work for child rights. It celebrates its 10th anniversary and is currently active in Africa, the Arab states, Europe, Israel, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in South Asia. The GNRC Youth is actively involved in the network and is prepared to take on more responsibilities in establishing youth groups to work with peers and younger children.

At the UN Special Session on Children in 2002, a special commitment was made to establish an Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children in order to promote ethics and value-based educations to all children. An educational manual Learning to Live Together, an intercultural and interfaith program for ethics education was developed jointly with UNESCO and UNICEF. Learning to Live Together is the first outcome of the worldwide ethics education initiative and it was launched at the GNRC Third Forum in Hiroshima in 2008. The manual is a tool for educators and youth leaders working with children and youth to be used in formal, informal and non-formal settings to build bridges of trust among children and young people of different cultures and beliefs.

A special celebration, a World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, was launched at the GNRC Third Forum. It aims at mobilizing people and communities of various religious traditions committed to improving children’s lives. The World Day of Prayer and Action was celebrated in varoious regions already in 2008 and 2009 and the intiative will be officially launched at the celebrative event in Tokyo in October.

To emphasize the international aspect of the various initiatives that have been launched and are sustained by the Arigatou Foundation, a new name, Arigatou International, and logo were adopted and announced in 2008

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