Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Executive Summary, October 2016
– In 2011, the question of developing a Charter for Forgiveness was first raised by Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha. In a series of conversations between Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh and Dr Josef Boehle (University of Birmingham) the initial idea, vision, concept and project proposal for a Charter for Forgiveness were developed.
– After gaining the support of the Fetzer Institute (USA) for the initial project development phase in 2012, additional organisations were approached to seek their support, most prominently the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace (UK) and Religions for Peace International.
In the early Charter development phase, Forgiveness and Reconciliation were identified as being closely related values and both being necessary to achieve sustainable peace between individuals and communities.
Dr William Vendley, Secretary-General of Religions for Peace International, enthusiastically embraced the Charter idea, vision and project, and joined Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh as co-convenor of the Charter project.
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh and Dr William Vendley as Co-convenors, and Dr Josef Boehle as Director, have since formed the core leadership team.
– A very successful International Symposium on Forgiveness and Reconciliation was held in Birmingham in April 2014, bringing together 30 international experts, leaders and practitioners.
– A Statement of Vision and Purpose was developed by a working team and aided by contributions from the participants in the 2014 Symposium. This Statement summarises succinctly the core aims, principles, values and objectives of the proposed Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation. This Statement of Vision and Purpose can form the basis for a Preamble of the Charter.
The two opening paragraphs state:
“The vision of the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation is that the activity of forgiving is vital if healing and reconciliation is to take place, as part of our collective efforts to seek restorative justice and sustainable peace.
Fostering and practicing forgiveness has the power to transform deep-seated responses to memories and legacies of injustice, conflict and war. It can liberate people from being imprisoned in their pasts and long ingrained mental and emotional conditions created by such legacies. Faith and spiritual traditions have long guided us and inspired us to awaken the best of our human potential, to practice love, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation, and to reshape our destinies.”
– An Editorial Panel with currently 13 members has been formed to jointly develop the Charter text and to safeguard co-ownership, inclusiveness and high-quality of the Charter from the beginning. After the development of a basic architecture and blueprint for the Charter text, each chapter of the Charter will then be developed subsequently. Each chapter will address specific subject areas, for example diverse constituencies (religious, secular, political, humanitarian) and specific issues (peacebuilding, restorative justice, mercy).
– A Plan of Action and Development Stages have been outlined in the Charter brochure, which include the Charter drafting process, the outreach to like-minded organisations and the wider public, the development of Charter related activities, and the engagement with public bodies and institutions.
At present, the further development of the governance and organisational structure of the Charter, of a business plan and the associated fundraising are crucial for enabling the Charter project to succeed and for the Charter to become the founding document of a collaborative global movement for forgiveness, reconciliation and sustainable peacebuilding.
Current priorities in 2016:
– the drafting of the Charter text together with the Editorial Panel
– the development of a Charter working team to move the organisational development, the business plan and the fundraising forward.
October 2016, Dr Josef Boehle, Director, Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation
For further information or to connect:
Web Site: www.charterforforgiveness.org