United Religions Initiative

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The United Religions Initiative (URI) is an international, grassroots, interfaith bridge-building organization modeled after the United Nations. It aims to create social change by promoting "enduring, daily interfaith cooperation," ending "religiously motivated violence", and promoting "cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings."[1]

Guided by the vision of founder The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing the URI Charter was developed through a series of international conferences and consultation with transformative organizational design practitioners David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney.[2] The URI Charter was signed by more than two-hundred people present, and hundreds more joining over the Internet, at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on June 26, 2000.[3]


Organizational structure

The URI is composed of 426 Cooperation Circles (CCs) in 72 countries worldwide as of November 2009. CCs are groups of 7 or more individuals representing 3 or more different faiths or spiritual expressions. CC members are all located in one of eight regions or span across multiple regions. :[4]

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Latin America & the Caribbean
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Multi-regional
  • North America
  • Southeast Asia & the Pacific


Before the formal charter signing in 2000, URI supporters around the world participated together in a project called "72 Hours for Peace", in which more than 250 local organizations united in projects promoting peace and justice during the turn of the millennium.[5]

Examples of global and member initiatives documented in the public record:

  • The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative has played a key role in promoting peace in war-torn northern Uganda. [6]. The Ugandan groups are also participants in the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund supported by the World Bank.[7]
  • California Interfaith Power & Light, beginning in 2000, has brought together religious groups to support more sustainable communities and promote legislation around sustainability issues. [8][relevant? ]
  • Members united in early support of U.S. action to prevent continued atrocies in Darfur through the proposed Darfur Accountability Act of 2005. [9]


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