For Compassionate Relief

For Compassionate Relief

Diverse Faith-Based Organizations Unite at Tzu Chi Center for the 2022 Multi-Faith Advisory Council (MFAC)

Tzu Chi Center  |  April 22, 2022
Representatives from diverse faith-based organizations (FBO) gather at Tzu Chi Center on April 4, 2022. Photo/Chuyi Chou

Written by Pinhau Chiou & Chuyi Chou 
Translated by Hong (Ariel) Chan
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto

The Multi-faith Advisory Council (MFAC) was established in 2018, serving as a unique outlet for faith-based partners as advisors to the United Nations regarding international human rights, sustainable development, and more through multi-faith collaboration.

The annual Multi-faith Advisory Council under the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development (IATF-Religion) had been paused for two years due to the pandemic. On April 4, 2022, however, the conference was set in motion once again — this time in the heart of the Big Apple, at the Tzu Chi Center for Compassionate Relief in Manhattan. Representatives from over 20 organizations attended the hybrid event, either virtually or in person, to discuss topics from our changing climate, advocating for and strengthening the rights of women and children across communities, and physical and mental health in the post-pandemic era. 

Established in 2010, the UN IATF-R also helps global partners achieve their development goals and aims to promote insightful exchanges between faith-based organizations (FBOs). At present, the council includes more than 20 United Nations agencies. 

In December of 2021, The UN IATF-R selected Tzu Chi USA to serve two terms as one of four co-chairs of MFAC, starting January 1, 2022. The Multi-faith Advisory Council comprises more than 40 religious leaders and heads of faith-based organizations (FBOs) recommended by various United Nations departments. It likewise assists and integrates the direction and beliefs of FBOs in front-line services across the globe to provide crucial guidance and policies for the United Nations.

The Inter Agency Affairs Specialist at the United Nations Population Fund, Caterina Tino (center), briefs those gathered at the conference. Photo/Chuyi Chou
More than 50 representatives from over 20 organizations participate in the hybrid conference. Pictured is Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi, Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. Photo/Chuyi Chou

This year’s conference was held at Tzu Chi Center in Manhattan to allow members of fellow non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from various countries to become more familiar with Tzu Chi’s missions and spirit of service.

This is the first time that we have won such an opportunity and platform to participate in discussions, whether through the cloud system or in-person, on the direction we hope to work towards over the next two years. For Tzu Chi, an international conference such as this is a very important step for the Tzu Chi Center.

Debra Boudreaux, CEO of Tzu Chi USA

More than 20 organizations and over 50 representatives participated in the hybrid conference to discuss far-reaching topics and offer unique insights.

Tzu Chi volunteers offer vegetarian meals to distinguished guests during the two-day conference. Photo/Chuyi Chou
During the two-day meeting, delegates discuss pressing global issues, including that of our climate. Photo/Chuyi Chou

Caterina Tino, the Inter Agency Affairs Specialist at the United Nations Population Fund, expressed how touched she felt to be able to once again meet with so many representatives and work toward a collective goal. Tino also spoke about how far this interfaith collaboration has come in the post-pandemic era. Alice Wairimu Nderitu of Kenya, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, participated in the conference virtually and looked forward to making a difference through this meeting. In this room, stated Nderitu, there will surely be valuable ideas that propel our world to grow and advance with compassion.

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