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The Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Religions Initiative (URI) – Africa

The agreement was signed by Ambassador Eng. Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD, and Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director of United Religions Initiative for Africa and Representative of URI to African Union, Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Office in Africa and UNEP.

Under this MoU, the two organizations identified areas of cooperation to work together in partnership; some of which are:

• To collaborate and maintain close and continuing working partnership to enhance the effort of promoting peaceful co-existence among followers of different religions and cultures in the IGAD region

• To establish an Interfaith Forum in the IGAD region to harness peaceful co-existence among different religions and to work together to resist religiously motivated violence and radicalization

• To facilitate people-to-people relationships in the IGAD region and promote a culture of peace, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, harmony and cooperation in the region

• To counter violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism in the region and to combat hatred, prejudice, intolerance and stereotyping on the basis of religion and culture

• To promote trust, understanding, respect and harmony among followers of different religions, cultures and ethnic groups in the IGAD region through the teaching of the Golden Rule, which says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”

• To promote peace education in the region

• To work together in addressing the issues of environmental protection and climate change

• To jointly organize workshops, meetings, and seminars, and to develop and implement projects in the region on the topics of interfaith, intercultural, empowerment of youth, environmental protection and cultures of peace

It is to be recalled that URI Africa presented its Peace Award of the Year to IGAD in 2014 in recognition of IGAD outstanding contribution in promoting peace, security and reconciliation in the region.

IGAD is an eight-country intergovernmental organization. Its member states are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. The mission of IGAD is to assist and complement the efforts of the Member States to achieve, through increased cooperation: food security and environmental protection, promotion and maintenance of peace and security and humanitarian affairs, and economic cooperation and integration in the IGAD region.

URI is a global interfaith organization with Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and it is working to promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, healing and justice for the Earth and all living beings. Through its over 700 member organizations in over 89 countries, URI is cultivating peaceful co-existence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. In Africa, URI has 164 member organizations in 28 African countries. URI Africa also signed a MoU with the African Union Commission.

The vision of URI-Africa is to see a united, prosperous, and peaceful Africa where there is no religious strife and where followers of different religions live together in harmony and respect with each other based on the teaching of the Golden Rule, which says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

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