The 2017 G20 Interfaith Forum, Religion, Sustainable Development, and the Refugee Crisis, was held at the University of Potsdam, Germany, 15-17 June 2017. This highly successful event brought together experts on economy, law and politics, as well as global leaders from various religious, professional, and humanitarian backgrounds to highlight the key role that religion plays in promoting aspects of achievement of the United Nation’s post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that Germany chose to highlight during this year’s G20 Summit, held in Hamburg 7-8 July. Special attention was paid to issues surrounding the refugee crisis, addressing concerns such as religious extremism and the other issues, including the environment, where religious voices have much to contribute.
The annual G20 Interfaith Forums invite opinion leaders – including scholars, lawyers, and political leaders – to join with faith and interfaith leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue as a substantial contribution to the G20 Economic Summits. Such gatherings showcase the scholarly and societal contributions of faith traditions and philosophies from around the world, creating opportunities for communication and relationship building and raising the profile of participating communities, groups, and organizations. Summary videos and programs of previous Summits can be viewed here. Similar material will be available for this year’s summit soon.
Religion plays a major role in global events today, but its role is complex and can easily be misunderstood or even overlooked as a factor on the global stage. The objective of the G20 Interfaith Forums is to facilitate peace and harmony between people of all religious and philosophical traditions while exploring ways to work together to strengthen human development understood in the broadest sense. By focusing on a series of concrete issues that are much in the public eye, summit organizers hope to suggest a variety of ways that religion can contribute to enhanced responses to crucial social challenges.