Key Areas of Work by the United Nations
At the forefront globalization and the dramatic turn of events worldwide, the focus of states and government is towards economic stability and human development.These goals are also in conjunction with the goals set forth by the United Nations (UN), in particular, priorities on developing nations.More to this, the UN and its subordinate agencies are mandated to extend support and technical services on priority and special cases and at different areas.
These global aspirations are carried out through government collaborations and or at the regional and bilateral level.
However, at various junctures, these initiatives are often hampered by interventions driven by conflicts or disputes among nations and or within its people. Most often than not, these conflicts are either anchored or rooted to religious differences which brought about misunderstanding among interest groups. Hence, giving way to bitter resolution—wars and or violence.
Relative to its functions and mandate, ethnic or religious conflicts have been proven to directly or indirectly affect the efforts of UN for international development, peace, justice, security, cooperation, gender equality, human rights and social justice. The domino effect is very apparent and dreaded in this type of conflict. Hence, an integrated approach in harnessing inter-faith communication among world religions and denominations is seen as a key factor in mitigating and or pacifying on-going international or bilateral conflicts.
Inter-faith communication could be realized in various venues and through different media. In fact, it has itself a long history to stand on its own. This is done usually through inter-faith dialogues. But “inter faith” has always been interpreted in different ways and scope. Many were initiated by a particular group and were limited only to bilateral religions. On a wider range, many international organizations were born out of interfaith dialogues, usually inter-denomination within traditions such as Christianity. An example of which is World Council of Churches, the broadest Christian inter-denomination alliance.
However, this does not include other major religions, not even Islam and the Catholic Church. Hence, a more integrated organization and a broader segment of religion or denomination are needed to establish and institutionalize inter-faith cooperation and understanding. Prior to coming up with this goal, a thorough study of the communication factors, conflict or risk management practices, cooperation and understanding principles as variables used and potentially to be used by different religions or faith is significant to establish the objective set above.
Identifying Communication Factors
This involves the identification of communication factors such as communication gap (language differences, information lapses, assimilation and or misinterpretations. This also allows for a better understanding of the weaknesses of the respective parties in holding dialogues or reaches out initiatives.
Risk or Conflict Management
This variable is a very critical area in dealing with religious conflicts. The assessment of how parties practice conflict or risk management within their line or a counterpart enables possibility of drafting a roadmap for managing conflicts, or employing modifications to existing binding or non-binding policy.
Employing Cooperation and Understanding Principles
This is one of the most important considerations to be looked upon in initiating such critical moves as interfaith communication. Employing acceptable principles for cooperation and understanding enables mutual cooperation from opposing parties (respondents). For this study, denominations/religions in the village level will be the primary target. However, as to the assessment, the key informant will be coming from the hierarchy base or area.
This research will be using a deductive approach in assessing the variables of the research as well as its implementation. The research will also employ a two-way data gathering scheme, including a key informant interview for religious leaders/elders and a survey among their respective followers and believers.
The key informant interviewee will be asked (through guide questions) about their experience and perception of the variables being considered. The rest of the respondents will also be asked (through guided questionnaire) of their perception and affirmation of the variables in consideration and the affirmation of the leaders’/leaders’ information.
The location of the study is proposed to be conducted in war-torn areas, devastated by ethnic or religious conflicts. The government concerned will be tapped for ensuring safe conduct pass and security and the academes in the conduct of the research respectively.
The length of time for the conduct of the study is dependent on the availability of the respondents and financial and logistical provisions.
The researcher and a pool of experts will look into the data and subject it for analysis. After which, the research results will be published including the recommendations for referral to parties (religions, denominations, governments) involved, relative to UN concerns and work and request for actions to carry out the goals reflected in the research.
Indeed, the need for a benevolent initiative as an alternative to resolve conflict is still the most acceptable to way to resolving global religious-related conflicts. War is not an answer to another war. It only derails and inhibits peace efforts. Hence, this research initiative to further understand and establish interfaith communication is filled with hopes in terms of feasibility and acceptability.
Very recently, there was a global uproar in the Moslem world against the pronouncements of the Pope. Although The Vatican has already been in constant efforts to mitigate further disputes, the threats and tensions are still high. Hence, without proper and peaceful venue for communication, worst may come to worst.
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