11 & 19 April 2023 | New York

The Journalists and Writers Foundation held the annual Ramadan Iftar Dinners to share the traditions of fasting, sharing and caring in different religions and cultures around the world on April 11 and April 19, 2023 in New York. 

Ramadan is a special time when the principles of generosity and hospitality become especially important. Ramadan is the month of fasting, developing self-control and kindness, and a time of comprehensive thanksgiving and charity. In this regard, the JWF invited a group high-level representatives from the UN Ambassadors, diplomats, journalists, academics, experts, NGOs, religious and community members to build peace and lasting friendships, appreciate diversity and inclusion, and celebrate the culture of peace globally. 

The Ramadan Iftar dinner is a casual event that contributes to the culture of peace and sustainable development with the aim of helping the United Nations achieve the sustainable development goals. Ramadan Iftar dinner gathers journalists, writers, academics, experts, and UN diplomats to share the traditions of fasting in different religious or cultural traditions. 

From March 23 to April 20, 2023, the holy month of Ramadan has been an important time for millions of Muslims around the world, as people were fasted, developed self-control, boosted kindness, thanksgiving, and charity. Ramadan is a unique opportunity for individuals and members of all faith traditions to create intercultural and interfaith dialogue to build friendships, protect peace and harmony and promote a culture of peace globally.

Civil society gatherings, breaking bread together and humanitarian organizations elevating their charity programs and extending nutritional assistance to individuals in need is an impactful way contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1: Eradicating Poverty, 10: Reducing Inequalities, and 17: Partnerships for the Goals. 

The World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023, which took place from 1-7 February 2023, recognized the role of dialogue among different faiths and communities to foster sustainable positive peace. In this perspective, following JWF`s event on “The Role of Interreligious Initiatives in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding”, Ramadan Interfaith Iftar Dinners aimed to build bridges between the UN diplomatic community and JWF`s network of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, community leaders and educators. 

Some of the notable dignities who participated in JWF’s Ramadan Iftar Dinner included by H.E. Paula Narváez, Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN, H.E. Andrejs Pildegovičs, Permanent Representative of Latvia to the UN, H.E. Carlos Amorín, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the UN, H.E. Markova Concepción Jaramillo, Permanent Representative of Panama to the UN; Dr. Swadesh Rana, Former UN Diplomat, Taj Tariq, UN Representative of Islamic Relief, Gulnoza Said, Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator of Committee to Protect Journalists, Reem Ebid, Programme Coordinator of UNITAR, Madeleine Sinclair and Maithili Pai of International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Mirka Martel, Selma Talha-Jebril, and Janice D’souza of Institute for International Education, Ali Mustafa, Representative of AFS to the UN, Victor A. Mirontschuk, vice President of FBINYCAA, and Dr. Brian Kerr, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Osman Oztoprak, Managing Director of Alliance for Shared Values talked about the long-term role of boosting empathy and increasing humanitarian assistance towards the ones combatting extreme levels of hunger and food insecurity. Imam Shamsi Ali, Director of the Jamaica Muslim Center and Emre Celik from Peace Islands Institute NY delivered an inspirational speech about the meaning of Ramadan and significance of fasting, dialogue, and community.

Mehmet Kilic, the President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation said: “We are observing Easter for Christian (April 9), Passover for Jews (April 5-13), Ramadan for Muslim (March 23-April 21), which is an amazing time to build relationships. The world is built on relationships among people, organizations, and nations. Ramadan Iftar Dinner is an amazing occasion to build relationships, lasting friendships, and building peaceful and inclusive societies where no one is left behind.” 

During the Reflection Time, following the iftar dinner, distinguished guests were invited to share their personal experiences about Ramadan, fasting in different religious and cultural traditions. In his reflection remarks, H.E. Andrejs Pildegovičs, Permanent Representative of Latvia to the UN indicated that it is very rewarding to meet with courageous human rights defenders as the guests exchanged their views on escalating conflicts in different parts of the world, inclusive responses to humanitarian challenges and the role of solidarity in building cohesive societies. 

H.E. Markova Concepción Jaramillo, Permanent Representative of Panama to the UN, underlined that peace, harmony and friendship remain as the important pillars of sustainable and peaceful societies. H.E. Carlos Amorín, Permanent representative of Uruguay to the UN, underlined the importance of commonalities between the people of different nations, traditions, beliefs and cherishing our differences. 

H.E. Paula Narváez, Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN, emphasized that communicating through spirituality is a strong mechanism to increase diversity in cohesion across the world to enhance mutual understanding.