The Words of the Kaufmann Family
Formal Statement of the IIFWP On Statements Coming From the Assembly 2001 Conference Global Violence: Crisis and Hope
October 22, 2001
The Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) co-sponsored the conference Global Violence: Crisis and Hope, from October 19 - 22, 2001, in the New York Hilton, New York City.
450 participants attended from over 100 nations, and from all major religions. Approximately 60 speakers enjoyed a formal platform for remarks and positions pertinent to the conference theme and sub-themes. Additionally most participants expressed opinions and views at roundtable sessions, and other conference venues.
At this conference, the IIFWP remained faithful to an essential trademark characterizing an over 25 year foundation pursuing peace. The IIFWP does not pre-judge, censor or give advantage to its speakers and participants. Any speaker at an IIFWP conference claiming to speak for the sake of peace and justice is free to present.
The IIFWP does not shy away from controversy, nor tilt its program in one direction or another. In this Assembly (as in all IIFWP conferences) speakers represented about as broad a range on both the political and the religious spectrum as possible.
It should be noted formally and for the record, that positions and statements presented by speakers at this conference, as with all IIFWP conferences, may directly contradict positions of the organizers and even the founder. This fact, however, does not bear on IIFWP's policy of respect, nor its commitment to pursue what might be labeled "hard dialogue," namely dialogue and encounter among people who differ fundamentally and passionately.
If people of differing positions are unwilling to even speak or be present to one another, there can be no hope for understanding, and genuine peace and reconciliation.
Assembly 2001 was a conference for peace in a time of war. A time when passions run high, and opinions are strong. It is just such a time in which all parts of the spectrum need to be heard, and brought into each others' presence creating an opportunity for dialogue face to face.
Assembly 2001 hosted a number of speakers many of whom would be considered controversial or "unacceptable" by one side or another. While individuals in the IIFWP may themselves lean to one position or another, the IIFWP is not in the business of pitching one side over another. It is in the business of dialogue for the sake of peace. It is in the business of giving all perspectives a voice, if they claim to be for peace and justice, and it is in the business of urging leaders to listen to one another without prejudice, and to engage ideological opponents civilly and respectfully, thus creating the possibility of understanding, and eventually harmony and reconciliation.
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