This past August, Chicago hosted 8,254 attendees from over 95 countries representing more than 210 faith traditions for the return of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Arigatou International was featured in the program. Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, Chair of the Board of Arigatou International New York, andAlibe V. Hamacher, Chief P. & D. Officer – Liaison to the United Nations, presented during the Parallel Session 90: Protecting the Rights of Children through Interfaith Collaboration.
The presentation focused on Arigatou International’s 30-plus years of experience in child protection and advocacy of their rights and the many tools the organization has developed to tackle the challenges.
With our headquarters in Tokyo and offices in Geneva, Nairobi, and New York City, Arigatou International develops and sustains multi-stakeholder initiatives designed to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and that their rights are respected and protected. By engaging diverse religious leaders and faith communities, international agencies, civil society organizations, governments, children, and young people in more than 80 countries and employing an interfaith and intercultural approach, Arigatou International aims to bring positive change for children from the grassroots to a global level.
We are an international NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and we are recently affiliated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UNDGC). For more information, please visit our website: https://arigatouinternational.org/
Our four key initiatives are:
1) The Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) – Global Network of Religions for Children. Established in 2000, it operates in nearly 70 countries and brings together more than 1,700 organizations with members from all faiths and spiritual traditions. They include a committee of volunteers in the U.S. and Canada and 14 committees in Latin America and the Caribbean.
2) Ethics Education for Children – https://ethicseducationforchildren.org/
3) Prayer and Action for Children – https://prayerandactionforchildren.org/
4) Ending Child Poverty – https://endingchildpoverty.org/
All initiatives are guided by the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 2017 Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children, and we are committed to contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, especially the targets related to children.
In 2019, partnering with UNICEF, World Vision, Religions for Peace, the New York Board of Rabbis, and other groups, Arigatou International produced “Faith and Children’s Rights: A Multi-religious Study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child” (https://arigatouinternational.org/all-with-children/faith-child-rights/faith-childrens-rights-multi-religious-study/). This unique study was the first to collect diverse faith perspectives on this children’s rights treaty from leaders of the seven principal world faiths. The study is an important reference to guide religious communities, policymakers, child rights advocates, academics, and children/youth groups. It includes reflections on the common values among the seven religions and the principles of the Convention. It shows how faith communities improve children’s well-being and strengthen families and communities. The study also incorporated perspectives of children and youth from focus groups.
In 2022, in partnership with the Inter-American Institute for Children’s Rights of the Organization of American States, Arigatou International developed an online course in Spanish based on the 2019 Faith and Children’s Rights Multi-Religious Study. The 8-week course was offered to Latin American government officials, faith leaders, and faith-based organizations in the region. There are plans to broaden the scope of the course by creating an English version and reaching a larger audience.
At the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the presentation also featured a screening of the short documentary film “A Million Feet From Home,” produced in partnership with Arigatou International and Filmmaker Jeff Oppenheim. The trailer showcased how faith leaders and communities worldwide unite to raise awareness and call for action to protect the unprecedented number of “children on the move” worldwide. Click here to watch the trailer.