The International Association of Liberal Religious Women (IALRW) is one of the oldest international women’s organizations in the world. It was convened in Berlin in 1910 and since that time has provided a link between liberal religious women throughout the world.
It serves to promote friendship and cooperation between like-minded women and is a channel of communication for those striving for a liberal religious life. Members accept that each may belong to a different faith group, yet all share common values of striving for peace, justice and harmony, in the heart of the family, the community and the world.
THE KERALA DECLARATION FOR PEACE
The following Kerala Declaration For Peace was signed by IALRW members at our 2010 IALRW Conference held in Kochi, Kerala, India, which celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the IALRW:
THE KERALA DECLARATION FOR PEACE
On September 4, 2010 the International Association of Liberal Religious Women (IALRW) proclaimed the Kerala Declaration For Peace, the full text of which appears below. The IALRW called upon all members to implement and practice the principles expressed in the Kerala Declaration in their respective communities and countries.
We are a group of liberal religious women who want to change the world. It is critical to sensitize ourselves to the voiceless and vulnerable women, children and elders in our communities, our countries and the world. We pledge to work together to create a global society that respects the human dignity of all people. At the Kerala conference we focused on four areas for thought and action critical to achieving such a society:
(1) Support for groups seeking to ensure freedom of religious beliefs and for those suffering persecution for their religion.
(2) Education— promoting education equity for boys and girls and programs to redress discrimination by bringing literacy to older women. Education for peace?including not only basic literacy but teaching non-violent conflict resolution and critical thinking.
(3) Support for sustainable livelihoods for all (as the basis for prevention of conflict).
(4) Interlocked with livelihoods and prevention of violence is support for the prevention of environmental degradation. We--like-minded women with the same vision, the same dreams--gathered together in Kerala and intend to walk the same path toward world peace through interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
WE PROCLAIM that we must find new and better ways to care about our spiritual sisters around the world, to share both our inner resources and our financial support, to grow and improve our networking skills, and to reach out to one another, especially those in impoverished and difficult circumstances.
WE ARE INSPIRED by the U.N. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW defines discrimination against women as any distinction or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights. Article 2 mandates nations to condemn discrimination in all its forms and to ensure that national legal frameworks embody the principles of equality between men and women.
WE ARE ALSO INSPIRED by the U.N. Security Council, Resolution 1325, that protects human dignity and mutuality in decision-making. The resolution states the importance of equal participation of women in decision-making for the advancement of solutions for the world’s crises.
WE CALL on all governments, including both regional and local authorities, to replicate CEDAW toward the eradication of all forms of discrimination against women. The convention values equal partnership with men.
WE COMMIT ourselves to promote religious cooperation and understanding.
WE COMMIT ourselves to resolve conflict nonviolently.
WE WILL EXERT influence for nations to reconsider producing/storing nuclear weapons.
WE VALUE nurturing empowerment for people to contribute to the greater good, rather than seeking control over others.
WE RECOGNIZE that it is important--for the well-being of all people--to respect and not destroy the earth’s ecosystem. Good global citizenship requires living according to values that enhance the common good of all people, plants and animals, including the land, air and water--the entire living earth itself.
WE COMMIT ourselves to education and to educate each generation to work for the changes we are seeking. We declare that education is important for learning both facts and critical thinking, in order to engage in honest, direct egalitarian discourse. Education prepares us to create social change and practice non-violence.
WE CALL on people in all countries to promote the multi-cultural dialogue found at our Kerala conference in which people from 12 countries* and 14 religions** participated.
FINALLY, WE CALL on all governments, intergovernmental and civil society organizations, educators, and peoples of the world to replace the law of force with the force of law.
*Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, the U.K., the U.S.A.
**Baha’i, Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jain, Judaism, Protestantism, Secular Humanism ,Shinto, Sihkism, and Unitarian Universalism.
Questionnaire/Evaluation on our 100th Anniversary/Centennial Jubilee in 2010
Dear friends and members of IALRW,
My name is Esther R. Suter. I live in Switzerland, I am pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church, and I work as a free lance journalist. Like some of you, I had a chance to participate in the IALRW Congress in Kochi, India, 2010, at its Centennial Jubilee. I was lucky to be elected into the IALRW-board as 3rd Secretary, for Europe.
Last Updated (Monday, 12 November 2012 08:06)
Gladys McNatt, Past President, now 95!!!
Dear IALRW friends,
You may recall that about a year ago, I wrote an article about all of us helping our past President Gladys McNatt celebrate her 94th birthday in April. Well, it's April again, and I just called and talked to her, the day after her 95th BIRTHDAY! Gladys is as lively as ever, and said she's going stop counting after her 95th....because she doesn't want to grow old. She's in such good health that she and her sister are planning to join some of their UU friends in Louisville, KY, so if you're going, you just might see her there.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 16 April 2013 09:47)
Peggy Kanada’s March, 2012 Visit to IALRW Sisters in Malaysia
On the way back from Delhi, India, I arrived at Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, 2012. I then enjoyed breakfast at the comfortable Prince Hotel, set amidst the skyscrapers of the central city, including Petras towers.
I experienced warm and humid weather (it rained three out of my four days) in Kuala Lumpur, but I loved the soft air, extensive greenery all around in the city, and the warm welcome from IALRW friends and acquaintances.
A big lunch at a local restaurant was organized by Kamar-sensei, (Professor Kamar Oniah Kamaruzaman, whom I call “sensei,” which means honored teacher in Japanese) for our IALRW members and others.
It was lovely to meet again Prof. Embong, who had visited IALRW members in Tokyo, where I live, in 2011--and a contingent of sisters who came up from Singapore (many whom I had met in Kochi, Kerala, India, in 2010). About 15 of us got together.
Last Updated (Saturday, 10 November 2012 09:13)
IARF-U.S. Meeting at Hilton Head, SC - a great success!
Take a look at the most recent IARF-U.S. Newsletter (Click on "Resources" - IARF-U.S. International Association for Religious Freedom) and it will take you to their website.
I attended their recent meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and had a wonderful time meeting old and new friends, and learning more about this parent group of the IALRW. It was also fun to once again tip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean...the weather was warm and sunny...and it was a nice change from the winter (though unusually mild) we are experiencing in the midwestern U.S.
The IARF-U.S. Newsletter also notes that a group from the U.S. is going to Japan for a visit in October, 2012....and that at a meeting in Japan in April, the LOCATION of our NEXT (2014) IALRW Meeting will be determined! I'm looking forward to finding out WHERE and WHEN we will all be able to meet again!
Here's a poem from their Newsletter, which makes me think of the coming spring:
“You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest,
"Think Spring!" And I hope to see you all at the 2014 IALRW meeting, WHEREVER it will be held. And we will put that info on this website as soon as it is available. Namaste and Blessed Be to you all.
Judy Highfill, IALRW website & Newsletter Editor