The Role of Interreligious Initiatives in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding
February 2, 2023 – 11:00am – 12:30pm EST

The Journalists and Writers Foundation and its Global Interfaith Partners are organizing a series of events during the World Interfaith Harmony Week, an annual event observed during the first week of February each year (1-7 February), after the UN General Assembly designation in 2010. Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, this initiative entails hosting interfaith harmony events over the period of 7 days. The main purpose is to build bridges across the globe and spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill among the different faiths around the world.

The Journalists and Writers Foundation, in partnership with Peace Islands Institute New York, co-organize a virtual panel discussion to discuss the Role of Interreligious Initiatives in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding on February 2, 2023, at 11:00am EST.
Around the world, interfaith initiatives carried out by various civil society organizations, sometimes also promoted by governments or international organizations, help to establish networks of reconciliation and containment in contexts of conflict and often establish the necessary dialogues for peace building. This panel seeks to shed light on the work that various interfaith leaders are doing on the ground to create communities and environments of peace.

Date/Time: February 2, 2023 – 11:00am – 12:30pm EST
Organizers: Journalists and Writers Foundation, in partnership with Peace Islands Institute NY

Rabbi David Shlomo Goodman (Israel)
Fellow at KAICIID, Rabbinical Seminar of Beit Midrash Harel in Jerusalem
Dr. Mduduzi Xakaza (South Africa)
Chair, Nazarene Scripture Research Institute
Emre Celik (USA)
Executive Director, Peace Islands Institute NY
Dr. Amarbir Singh (India)
Representative of Akaal Purkh Ki Fauj (APKF)
Tsering Youdon Lama (Nepal)
Student, Pokhara University

Dr. Rajendran Govender, Social Cohesion Advocate (JWF)
Nancy Falcon, Interfaith Dialogue Expert (JWF)

Format: 90 minutes. 5-10 minutes each speaker. 5 minutes more for closing remarks.


Rabbi David Shlomo Goodman (Israel)
Rabbi David S. Goodman is a fellow at KAICIID. Rabbi Goodman got his ordination from the Rabbinical seminar of Beit Midrash Harel in Jerusalem. He studied in a variety of higher Jewish studies programs, including Yeshivat Otniel (2003-2009) and the Shalom Hartman Institute (2012-2016). Besides his Jewish training, David is a research student in the department of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research is dedicated to the role of aesthetics in twentieth-century philosophy.

Dr. Mduduzi Xakaza (South Africa)
Mduduzi Xakaza is a priest within the Nazarite Church of God (NCG) and Chair of a recently founded Nazarene Scripture Research Institute (NaSRI). He holds a PhD in History (UWC) and his research interests are a bit diverse, including hidden Hebrew identities and geopolitical implications within contemporary global human society. His PhD thesis looks into questions around cultural and socio-political significance of representing landscape by photographic means during apartheid and post-apartheid eras of the South Africa. He also works as Director of the Durban Art Gallery and practices as a part-time visual artist. His main theme is landscape as a lived human experience and its social relevance as a medium of social critique in this most unequal society. He has participated in various selected group and solo exhibitions since 1993. His work is represented in various public, private and corporate collections in South Africa and abroad, including the Carnegie Art Gallery, Newcastle; Pretoria Art Museum; Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg; Durban Art Gallery, Reserve Bank of South Africa; Modern Museum of Art, New York; United Nations Office, Geneva; Renault South Africa, Sandton; and MTN Arts Foundation, Johannesburg.

Emre Celik, Executive Director, Peace Islands Institute New York (USA)
Emre Celik is the Executive Director of Peace Islands New York based in Manhattan. Previously he was president of Rumi Forum in Washington DC (2009-2019). Since 2016 he has been the Chairman of the International Festival of Language and Culture- IFLC USA. He is also currently an advisor to North East Islamic Community Center and sits on the Scholars Council at Braver Angels. In 2021-2022 he was project coordinator for the first ever Holocaust Education Project for Muslim students.

In March 2020 the Interfaith Center of New York selected Emre as a Leadership Fellow. In 2016 and 2020 he received alumni awards from his alma mater UTS & CDU. In April 2018 Emre was part of a historic Baptist-Muslim dialogue retreat in Wisconsin. In October 2014 he organized the first ever Whitehouse Eid-ul Adha Event. He was instrumental in establishing the academic Chair for Catholic-Muslim Understanding at Australian Catholic University.

Dr. Amarbir Singh (India)
Dr. Amarbir Singh is the Representative of Akaal Purkh Ki Fauj (APKF) “ as a Medical Supervisor. Dr. Singh is the CEO of KYB Blood Bank and Diagnostic Laboratory and Administrator in Josan Multispecialty Hospital in Sri Amritsar. Since 1999, the APKF (Akaal Purkh Ki Fauj) has organized numerous projects such as APKF Public School that provide free education for 300+ economically disadvantaged children near Goindwal Sahib, Tarn Taran. Dr. Singh organized the World’s largest blood donation camp in a Single day collected around 18k + units. Some of the projects include Free Turban Clinics for Youth; adopted 3 villages during floods in Punjab around Ferozepur; Regular Medical Aid to around 200+ patients throughout a year.

Tsering Youdon Lama, Student, Pokhara University (Nepal)
Tsering Youdon Lama, 23, is a public health undergraduate student from Pokhara University, Nepal. She is highly inspired by this quote; Ms. Lama believes in the power of hard work to turn vision into reality. She is a light-hearted person, who is equally responsible when it comes to work. Always open to new ideas, she likes to spend time learning and exploring different places and people. Apart from her studies, she is engaged in different organizations and is actively working in the field of health promotion and education.

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