15 July 2019
Rissho Kosei-kai has been following the Lotus Sutra’s One Buddha Vehicle spirit, engaging in dialogue that transcends the walls between different religious faiths, working together with other religious organizations and, in our desire to bring peace to the minds of people everywhere, advancing inter-religious cooperation for over fifty years. In order to realistically address such global issues as poverty, discrimination, and climate change, not only have we launched our own programs, but through our active participation in the World Conference of Religions for Peace (RfP) and KAICIID, we are developing partner programs with the United Nations and the governments of many nations.
KAICIID, one of our valued partners, was established in 2012 upon the initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. KAICIID presents us with a new challenge, because it has a unique feature that to date, no other organization has had: it was established by the government of Austria, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, with the Vatican in the role of founding observer, in order to promote dialogue between different faith and cultures and to contribute to world peace, but at the same time, it is a faith-based organization whose board of directors consist of representatives of the world’s religious faiths.
KAICIID, with its headquarters in the Austrian capital of Vienna, is at present working with the UN, RfP, and other international organizations to actively address conflict resolution and promote peace education from the perspective of dialogue in many parts of the world, including Myanmar, Lebanon, Central Africa, Spain, and Austria.
Rissho Kosei-kai actively supports KAICIID’s dialogue-based programs. In fact, Rev. Kosho Niwano, President-designate of Rissho Kosei-kai, has served as one of the nine directors of KAICIID since its foundation and from the perspective of a woman and a Buddhist, has been actively involved in its programming and operations.
However, since June of this year, the issue of human rights in Saudi Arabia has led to the status of KAICIID’s facility in Austria being placed in a precarious situation, which concerns us deeply. KAICIID is not an organ of the Saudi government. It is an international organization of political and religious leaders that values the diversity of cultures and religious faiths, fosters mutual understanding through dialogue, and puts into practice programs designed to resolve conflict and division and bring people together in solidarity.
Rissho Kosei-kai supports KAICIID’s ideals and its programs, which are fostering peace and the public good, and we have great expectations for KAICIID’s ongoing efforts to bring about more dialogue in our world in the years to come. Therefore, we are praying that misunderstanding of KAICIID will be quickly and thoroughly dispelled.