Third Meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders

Sharing Wisdom: The Case of Love and Forgiveness

26th-30th, November 2007
Amritsar, India

album14Sharing Wisdom – 3rd Meeting of Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders
Amritsar, India, November 2007

The Third Meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders took place in India, November 26-30, 2007. Following the tradition of previous meetings, it was hosted by local religious leaders in Amritsar, India.  Delegates were welcomed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Birmingham based Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha in collaboration with Guru Nanak Dev University.

The theme for the meeting is: Sharing Wisdom: The Case of Love and Forgiveness. With seminars led by scholars of the Elijah Interfaith Academy, the meeting looked at how religious traditions should, or should not, learn from one another, and consider appropriate boundaries, mechanisms and ways of sharing wisdom. The scholars prepared appropriate texts, based on the wisdom teachings of the different religions, along with academic position papers, which served as background for the meeting’s discussions. Working collaboratively as a team, as has been demonstrated from the Board’s previous meetings, set the stage for a high level of discussion by suggesting in advance points of commonalities and areas of collaboration amongst the different religions and their leaders. Specific focus was given to the theme of “Love and Forgiveness”, a core concern of all religions and an urgent need for today’s world.

The meeting brought together about 50 world religious leaders and scholars from around the world and will include representatives from each of the major religions, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and the Religions of India. It also served the scholarly and student community at Amritsar, through involvement of the local university, Guru Nanak Dev University. In order for such an impressive gallery of personalities to work effectively in delivering a common message to the world on the world’s pressing needs, they need to strengthen their bonds and working patterns. Strengthening interpersonal relations and planning common future activities, in particular the ongoing work of the Response Process, is thus vital for strengthening the symbolic and practical import of this august body of religious leaders.

The discussion program for the meeting was prepared by an inter-religious “think tank”, consisting of scholars of religion and education and brought together under the auspices of the Institute’s Elijah Interfaith Academy. The think tank met in the United States for a week-long planning session at the beginning of June (2007). Following this preparation session, scholars prepared educational materials, which were disseminated to participants in advance of the meeting. Past experience has taught that the high level of discussion and depth of genuine engagement that characterize the Elijah Board meetings are a function of the unique, collaborative way in which they have been prepared by the inter-religious think tank.

To read the Amritsar Declaration, issued at the end of the meeting, click here.

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