Dear Friends and Partners of Religions for Peace,
Here we are, in the midst of a world teeming with uncertainty over a virus that knows no borders and spreads voraciously, where children and adults still sleep hungry in spite of tons of food going to waste, where communities across the globe are ravaged by ongoing conflict, and where the very air we breathe and the water we drink is threatened.
Nevertheless, it is with a sense of deep gratitude that I am able to commence my responsibilities as Secretary General of Religions for Peace this week.
It took us some months to wait for the green light from United States authorities, and we now have it.
After the privilege of meeting many of you in Lindau, hearing of your amazing work and tireless commitment to this planet and to all who live on it, and meeting some of you again here in New York last year, I feel blessed in many ways.
On our shared journey towards peace, each of you carries the wisdom of ages with dignity and grace. The responsibility you have entrusted to this organization for decades, and your committed leadership to cultivating and sustaining the peace we seek is palpable.
The blessings also come in the form of the International Secretariat team that is dedicated to each of you, in every way, particularly during this time of global uncertainty, when we know that many of you are at the forefront of accompanying those who suffer most. We are here with you and for you.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of our World Council and Executive Committee members who have steered the organization the last 6 months with the able guidance of Reverend Kyoichi Sugino and the wholehearted and tireless backing of all of you. Thank you.
Already, since we last saw each other in Lindau, you gifted Religions for Peace with a consultative process where you shined a bright light on our shared strategic priorities. You have thus identified the milestones for this movement for the next 5 years. We will do our best to honour your aspirations and wisdom, uplift your work and support respective and collective efforts.
Above all, please pray for all of us.
Yes, we are all part of an organization called Religions for Peace. But I believe, strongly, that we are all part of this earth as a movement that is fully dependent on one another, to bend the arc of history towards justice.
With respect and infinite gratitude,
Prof. Azza Karam