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Multiregion Quarterly Newsletter

January - March 2017
Volume 1: Issue 1

The Multiregion of the United Religions Initiative is made up of Cooperation Circles who either have members in more than one region or are focused on issues or topics that are global in scope. The Multiregion creates a supportive environment to build relationships, offers opportunities for connection and in-depth dialogue, provides training, and enhances mutual exchange among groups pursuing common themes.                                                                                     

IN THIS NEWSLETTER...
Message from the Regional Coordinator

Greetings of peace to the Multiregion community across the globe! I'm pleased to share with you the first issue of our resurrected newsletter, highlighting news and updates from Cooperation Circles in URI's Multiregion. CCs have been active, organizing events for interfaith harmony week, planning webinars and connecting with one other.

We're thrilled to welcome our newest CC in many months (see story below) and several more prospective CCs are in the pipe. In late January many of us gathered online for a monthly zoom call about building community on Facebook, and again in February, sharing updates, requests and offers of assistance to one another. Our March gathering was a webinar entitled Wisdom from our Elders: Looking backwards to go forwards, organized by Multiregion trustee Audri Scott Williams.  

On the administrative side of things, 2017 has seen the launch of a new website for the Multiregion, the formation of a leadership council (to be introduced soon!) and the creation of a Circle of Elders to advise the leadership council in our work.

The next few months will likewise be full: I partnered with a volunteer from Microsoft's excel office to create a database tailored to the needs of the Multiregion and look forward to systematically connecting with each CC in our network to update our records. Our Leadership Council will begin to meet and strategize together around strengthening and growing our community. 

Some thanks are in order: A big thank you to Rachael Watcher and Greg Harder for assembling this newsletter.  Thank you as always to our dedicated and wise Global Council trustees, Elana Rozenman in Jerusalem, Audri Scott Williams in Alabama, and Suchith Abeyewickreme in Sri Lanka. 

Blessings to you all from Seattle, Washington, where the trees are in full bloom and Spring is underway. 


Frederica Helmiere
Regional Coordinator for URI's Multiregion
frederica@uri.org

 
 
Welcoming our newest CC: Kids4Peace!
Multiregion welcomes Kids4Peace as our newest CC!  Kids4Peace is a grassroots interfaith youth movement dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hope in Jerusalem and other divided societies around the world. To achieve this mission, our programs build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. 

Bringing together Jews, Christians (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox), Muslims (Sunni and Shi’a), Unitarians, Druze, and Bedouins, Kids4Peace operates international summer camps, training seminars and after-school programs for youth age 12-18, as well as workshops for parents and young adults. Programs combine interfaith dialogue, community building, leadership development and social action. They have chapters in Jerusalem, Seattle, Burlington and Boston and are growing chapters in Cincinnati, DC, and Atlanta. 

Kids4Peace facilitates honest dialogue about different historical narratives and current realities. They invite youth to listen to each other, to proudly share their own identities, and to hear painful and unfamiliar stories in a respectful environment. 

In our interview, Kids4Peace expressed an interest in coalition building, linking together to accomplish real change, especially for interfaith youth work in America and the Middle East. "We’re excited to share our successes and steady growth with the rest of the network... We encounter so many cross-cultural and religious practices in the course of our work, and we’ve had to come up with solutions for working together. We can share that with the URI network."
Do you know of an interfaith group that would fit well in URI's Multiregion? Encourage them to contact Frederica at frederica@uri.org
Multiregion Highlights

Newly designed website launched in February:
 www.urimulti.org


 
In February the multiregion launched its new website. The site’s purpose is to feature the work and accomplishments of our Multiregion CCs while also presenting the Multiregion to the general public so that visitors understand our identity, purpose, and relationship to URI.

Visitors to the site will find profiles of all the Cooperation circles in Multiregion and links to their news stories over the past eight years. Newcomers are invited to browse circles, learn more about URI, and join or start a Cooperation Circle of their own. Cooperation circle members can easily locate and contact like-minded CCs, and access resources that support their work such as interfaith curricula and funding opportunities. The site’s design is aligned with the URI brand guidelines so that visitors will recognize it as part of the same “family.” It has been formatted to fit on a computer screen, tablet or phone. Eventually we will translate the whole website first into Spanish and later into several more languages to reflect our global scope.

 In brainstorming around design and content, the Multiregion trustees and I came up with words that described our region: collaboration, global, community, diverse, network, storytelling, virtual, spiritual, evolving. It was a joy and a challenge to try to translate those words and our objectives into a clean, user-friendly, inspiring and welcoming website.  We hope you enjoy!
CCs: please visit your group's profile page on urimulti.org. Do you like what you see? Updates or changes can easily be made. Just email frederica@uri.org
CC News & Updates

Women's Interfaith Network (WIN-URI) mobilizes URI for
International Day of Women
In preparation for International Women's Day, the WIN URI CC held it's first Global Women's Gathering on a March 6 zoom call.  Women gathered from North America, South America, Africa, MENA, and Pakistan representing Christianity, Judaism, Spiritualist, and Islam. Prayers were offered from the different religions, and then women from each region reported on the situation for women in their area.   This CC joins with URI women, and the men who support them, in our worldwide effort to empower women, to end violence against women, and to enable the other 50% of the world's population to lead the way to interfaith harmony. Read the meeting summary here


Global Interfaith Network for the Golden Rule CC
makes statement on Golden Rule Day
"The Golden Rule is one practical action that leads us from war to peace, from killing each other to co-existence, from disrespect to honoring each other, from hate to love, from despair to hope, from darkness to light, from being selfish to living for the sake of others and from holding revenge to forgiveness."  Read the full statement here.
 
 
Global Youth CC revitalized, hosting webinars
Multiregion's Global Youth CC is active once more, hosting online space for young adults from around the world to connect around relevant themes. In March they hosted a webinar on Nuclear Disarmament and are modeling CC to CC collaboration by connecting with another Multiregion CC: Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons. Read the full story here.

 
Tamera & Grace CC in Portugal Dances to Defend the Sacred
In response to a thread from the oil industry to exploit the Portuguese coastline, members from Multiregion CC Tamera and Grace staged a beautiful coordinated dance on the beach "in defense of the sacred." Read more and watch the video

 
Prafull Oorja CC's Interfaith Harmony Week Event: Pranayama in the Park
For interfaith Harmony Week 2017, Prafull Oorja staged a Pranayama in the Park event in Baglalore, India.  "At a time when religion and faith are being questioned half-way across the world, let's sit together to pray for peace."


 CARAVAN latest exhibit "I AM"
I AM is a strategic peacebuilding exhibition organized by CARAVAN that showcases the insights and experiences of Middle Eastern women as they confront issues of culture, religion and social reality in a rapidly changing world both in the Middle East and West. It addresses today’s critical and increasing need of creating respect, developing understanding and encouraging friendship between the Middle East and West. The exhibition will premiere at Jordan’s National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, for a period of two months, in spring 2017 (May 3-June 14, 2017) and will then be showcased in London at St. Martin in the Field’s on Trafalgar Square (opening on July 3-August 20, 2017) and then premiere in North America on September 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C.at the Katzen Arts Center of the American University, before touring to five other North American venues through 2018. Read more
 

 Art camp for prisoners in India hosted by Hope in Life CC
On January 20, 2017, inmates from several prisons of Kolkata, India got together for an all day Art Camp at Mohor Kunj. The project was organized by Directorate of Correctional Services, West Bengal, SHURU Kolkata, sister organization of HOPE IN LIFE FOUNDATION, USA, Rotary Club of Calcutta Millennium and Flight to Harmony Foundation. The projects give inmates the opportunity to interact with civilians, share their creative side (art, poetry etc.), learn social skills, overcome shyness, restore self-confidence and build self-esteem. Catharsis and healing lies at the foundation of these projects. Full story
 
Have a news story to share? Email it to multiregion@uri.org to see it featured on our blog, here in the newsletter and/or in our facebook group. 
Calendar of Events
The CCs of the Multiregion meet together on a video conference call on the last Tuesday of  each  month for 1 hour at  8:00 PST (15:00 GMT) on Zoom. We share updates, offer services, make requests and grow in community. Every other month we participate in a training of some kind. 

April 25 (8:00 PST / 15:00 GMT)
 https://zoom.us/j/607825387
During our April call CCs are invited to offer services to one another. What is something that you can give to another CC in our network? We will also have an opportunity to meet the members of our new leadership council and ask them questions. 
 
May 30 (8:00 PST / 15:00 GMT)
 https://zoom.us/j/607825387

Roll call! Goal is to have as many Multiregion CCs on this call as possible for for each one to give a 1-minute presentation about who they are and what they do. 50 CCs = 50 minutes. Frederuca or one of the other leadership council members will fill in if a CC is unable to attend.   

June 27 (Time TBD)
 https://zoom.us/j/607825387

Proposed theme: Training in cross-cultural competency. 
Copyright © 2017 URI Multiregion, All rights reserved.


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