GNRC First Forum
The First Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) took place from 16th to 18th May 2000 in Tokyo, Japan. The forum’s 297 participants came from thirty-three countries bringing together Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Shintoists, Zoroastrians and members of other religious traditions.
The uniting force behind the forum was the shared commitment by participants to work at leadership and grassroots levels to alleviate the suffering of children across the world. The theme was “Prayer and Practice for the Future of Children”.
The forum opened with an official declaration of the establishment of the GNRC by Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto, President of the Arigatou Foundation, which organized the conference. This was followed by addresses from distinguished guests including Mr. Yohei Kono, the then Foreign Minister of Japan, and a congratulatory message from the then Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms. Carol Bellamy.
In the plenary session on day 1, two keynote lectures were delivered under the theme of “Present Conditions of Child Rights and What Should Be Expected of Religious People,” and at the second day’s plenary session, two keynote lectures were delivered under the theme of“The Mission of Religious People to Create a Brighter Future for Children.”
The forum was also unique in that it invited six children to present their views, inspiring and challenging the participants to address the deplorable conditions faced by children worldwide.