GNRC Third Forum
The GNRC Third Forum was held in Hiroshima, Japan from 24th to 26th May 2008. The forum brought together 353 religious leaders and others committed to children’s well-being from around the globe, including forty-two young people aged thirteen to eighteen. Participants came from sixty-three countries and eight world regions, representing the Baha’i faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and many other religious and spiritual traditions.
As always, the young people made a major impact throughout the forum program. They met in a special pre-meeting from May 22nd to 23rd to prepare for various presentations, speeches, and other forms of participation.
The main theme was “Learning to Share: Values, Action, Hope”. Participants were first divided into groups to hear three thematic keynote speeches and discuss three ethical imperatives – to end violence against children, to ensure that no child lives in poverty, and to protect the earth — developing shared convictions and recommendations for action.
The program of the Third Forum was intended to give participants an opportunity to revisit the original spirit of the GNRC, inspire one another to a renewed commitment to children’s rights and peace, and engage in planning for another four years of interfaith cooperation to build a better world for children.
The Third Forum featured the launch of a new original resource for global use, Learning to Live Together: An Intercultural and Interfaith Program for Ethics Education endorsed by UNICEF and UNESCO. It was developed in the years between the second and third forums, and thoroughly tested in the diverse cultural settings of the seven GNRC regions by the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children which Late Rev. Miyamoto established in 2000, true to the pledge he made when he spoke on behalf of the GNRC to the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Children.
The forum also featured a report on the ongoing GNRC-UNICEF joint study on “Children in World Religions.”
Another new and significant outcome of the forum was the proposal, adopted by all in attendance, for a Day of Prayer and Action for Children by the World’s Religions to take place every year on November 20 on the International Day of the Child, which is also the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.