Background

The Interfaith Cooperation Forum is a program of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs. It was born in 2003 out of the realization of the importance of interreligious understanding and unity in the Asian region. It was conceived to be a venue for study and appreciation of the different perspective of religions on peace, and discern the role of religion in peacebuilding. Is religion a source of peace? Or, is it a source of conflict? Yet, in these times, with the onslaught of neoliberal economic globalization, more people experience poverty more than ever, communities are destroyed and residents are displaced, native wisdom and core values are overrun by Western and consumerist outlooks, and climate change is fast coming at the heels of the destruction of the Planet Earth seems unabated. There is no peace on earth!

We agree that religion in itself is not the cause of conflict and violence. However, we must face the sad reality that religious identity and emotions are too often manipulated to further the self-centred goals of vested interests.

– From the final report based on the 2003 meeting in Indonesia.

Peace is celebrated as a gift from the Divine, yet, the earthlings have the responsibility to make peace a reality. In this vein, and although its contribution may just be a drop of water into the lake, ICF seeks to equip young people of different religious traditions, especially from the marginalized communities of Asia and Pacific, for peacebuilding.