Welcome to ThinkThursday, the OICD’s brand new feature, encouraging our followers to engage with us, and consider issues related to the work of the organization. We hope that, over the coming weeks and months, ThinkThursday will become a hive of discussion and activity as we bring you features in a range of styles and media, including audio and video, lectures and interviews. ThinkThursday is all about you – our followers – and we need your voices! We’re extremely excited about this feature, and what’s to come, and are looking forward to hearing your comments and opinions.

This week, for our introductory feature, we’ve decided to focus on the Official UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, an annual event established in 2010, in order to promote harmony between all people, regardless of their faith. World Interfaith Harmony Week, which takes place throughout the first week of February, is a celebration of the diversity of global religions, and aims to ‘provide a focal point from which all people of goodwill can recognize that the common values they hold far outweigh the differences they have, and thus provide a strong dosage of peace and harmony to their communities’.

In aid of World Interfaith Harmony Week, Breakfasts are held around the world, in locations from Nigeria to China, where people are invited to host public meals within their communities, bringing together those of different faiths, along with those who are of no religion. The program endeavours to create greater understanding and cooperation between such individuals. This year, the theme has been: “We are all connected by compassion”. (For more information about the Interfaith Breakfast program, please click here).

Other initiatives include an essay competition conducted by the Religious Youth Service (RYS), in Pakistan, among students of different institutions on the topic of ‘Interfaith Harmony and Global Peace’, an Interfaith Tree Planting Event for Co-existence and Peace at the Cheng Ek Killing Field Museum in Cambodia, and an Evening with the Pontanima Choir: “Musica sacra Bosnae”, held by International Forum Bosnia’s Centre for Interfaith Dialogue.

The United Nations General Assembly believes that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace – what do you think? The OICD would love to hear your ideas, opinions and experiences on the topic of interfaith harmony and ways to promote it. If you have been involved in any community initiatives on promotion of interreligious dialogue or would like to organize one, please share it with us.

To find out more about the Official UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, please visit the following links: