On July 17, Fr. James Channan delivered a much-appreciated speech at the Virtual International Conference organized by the US Pakistan Interreligious Coalition (UPIC) together with Just Results (a social enterprise specializing in inclusive economic development, along with Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and Pakistan’s GIFT University).
Fr. Channan served as a prayer leader at the Symphony of Peace Prayers (SOPP) ceremonies held at Fuji Sanctuary in 2010 and 2015, and as a keynote speaker (2007) and guest speaker (2019) at SOPP events. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from a wide array of governmental and interreligious organizations, honoring him for his leading role in promoting interfaith dialogue in Pakistan and around the world.
In his speech at the UPIC event, Fr. Channan provided an overview of organizations making significant contributions to interreligious dialogue. Among these, he drew attention to the work of 14 outstanding organizations and initiatives, including the United Religions Initiative (URI), The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the SOPP, Byakko Shinko Kai, The Goi Peace Foundation, The Fuji Declaration, The Soul of WoMen initiative, and May Peace Prevail on Earth International.
He also paid tribute to Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, Grand Imam of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, describing him as a prominent Muslim religious leader who is promoting interfaith harmony and peace. Fr. Channan went on to say: He (Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad) has organized interreligious conferences at the Badshahi Mosque as well, and always welcomes Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs in the mosque. (As many of our readers may remember, in 2007 Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad shared the stage with Fr. Channan to deliver a groundbreaking keynote speech at the SOPP ceremony, and in 2010 and 2015 he served as a prayer leader at the SOPP.)
Continuing with his online speech, Fr. Channan remarked: As Regional Coordinator of URI and Director of Peace Center, I have organized hundreds of conferences and seminars in Lahore and other cities. We also organize a Symphony of Peace Prayers every year at our Peace Center, as well as several programs of the Soul of WoMen Initiative, the Fuji Declaration, and May Peace Prevail On Earth International. Hundreds of persons from various religions participate in our interfaith programs, and we also received prominent coverage in the electronic and print media.
Most recently, Fr. Channan has been honored with a Certificate of Appreciation from the URI Latin America and The Caribbean, in recognition of his continued commitment and valuable contribution to interfaith efforts for peace, justice and understanding throughout the world.
In praise of Fr. Channan’s dedication to peace, Masami Saionji wrote: Even though he has received countless awards from organizations around the world, Fr. Channan’s mind is always filled with humility and gratitude to God. Everyone who meets him and hears him speak can feel this. It is such a joy and a privilege for us to be able to work with him.
In response, Fr. Channan wrote: I feel very honored to be a part of the many fabulous and remarkable organizations guided by Masami Saionji. My heart overflows with joy to organize programs of the SOPP, Soul of WoMen, Fuji Declaration, Byakko Shinko Kai, and Hand-in-Hand. I cannot express in words how grateful I am—along with thousands of people in Pakistan.
It is indeed a pleasure for us to have this opportunity to report on Fr. Channan’s contributions to peace on earth. On behalf of everyone at Byakko, Thank you Fr. Channan!
May peace prevail on Earth.