International Symposium on Forgiveness and Reconciliation

forgiveness event at NCA

A very successful Symposium co-sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) and the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace took place on 2nd April in Birmingham, UK. _GNNSJ_ImagesApril2014-0774

Leading thinkers and activists from many peacemaking and reconciliation organisations gathered in Birmingham both for networking and for the preparation of future collaborative activities.  The event was led by Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, spiritual leader and Chairman of the Sikh community GNNSJ and co-convenor of the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project and by Dr. Josef Boehle, Director of the Charter Project. Dr William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace International is also a co-convenor of the Charter project.

The day’s agenda included discussions of some of the key questions and critical issues to be considered in creatingthe Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation. Included were extensive deliberations of forgiveness’ critical role in justice, reconciliation and peacebuilding.

The Symposium served as a springboard to action on establishing the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in 2015. The proposed Charter aims to inspire and engage individuals, groups and communities, in public processes and in private settings, appealing to humanity to practice genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, seeking justice and sustainable peace. The Symposium programme with a list of presenters, chairs and moderators is online at:

30 participants and observers attended the Symposium and their names and organisational affiliations can be found in the notes at the end of this article.

_GNNSJ_ImagesApril2014-0560The proposed Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation will draw upon values, stories and examples from sacred texts and from different spiritual traditions, from religious / spiritual communities, and from the lives of outstanding individuals. With such paradigms, the Charter will direct commitment and activities towards a growing practice of forgiveness and reconciliation which humanity desperately needs in a fractured world.

The draft text for the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation is now being developed. The whole collaborative chartering process is expected to take up to a year, to allow for substantial input from a wide range of worldviews, backgrounds, expertise and insights.

The vision behind the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation is that forgiving is an activity necessary for healing and reconciliation to take place when seeking justice and sustainable peace.

Additional information on the Charter Project can be found at:

The Charter project is co-sponsored by the Fetzer Institute:

To view photos from the event please click here.

Please View Presenters, Chairs and Moderators Below

Dr Josef Boehle  Sharif Horthy  Alexandra Asseily  Marina Cantacuzino  Prof Andrea Bartoli  HE Prof Kamel Abu Jaber    Professor Pal Ahluwalia  Rev. Canon Charles P.  Prof Geraldine Smyth  Prof Martin Stringer  Prof Patrice Brodeurdr-scherto-gill    
prof rasoul
  Dr Anthony Bash  dr jean  Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh  Justine Huxley  Maria Nicoletta Gaida




1. The Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation web page:

2. Fetzer Institute – Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation Building the charter for forgiveness

3. Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace:

4. Nishkam Centre:

5. Presenters, Chairs and Moderators:

a. Prof Pal Ahluwalia, UNESCO Chair in Transnational Diasporas and Reconciliation Studies; Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

b. Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman and Spiritual Leader, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham, UK. Co-convenor, Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project.

c. Alexandra Asseily, Governor and Founder of the Centre for Lebanese Studies, Oxford; Founder member of the Ara Pacis Initiative; Initiator, Garden of Forgiveness, Lebanon.

d. Prof Andrea Bartoli, Dean, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, New Jersey, USA; Advisor, Community Sant’Egidio, Rome, Italy.

e. Dr Anthony Bash, Honorary Fellow, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, Durham, UK.

f. Dr Josef Boehle, Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; Director, Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project.

g.Prof Patrice Brodeur, Canada Research Chair on Islam, Pluralism, and Globalisation, Faculty of Theology and the Sciences of Religions, University of Montreal, Canada.

h. Marina Cantacuzino, Founder and Director, Forgiveness Project, London, UK.

i. Maria Nicoletta Gaida, Founder and President, Ara Pacis Initiative; Board of Directors, Council for Dignity, Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation, Rome, Italy.

j. Rev Charles Gibbs, Founding Executive Director Emeritus (1996-2013), United Religions Initiative, Washington, D.C., USA.

k. Dr Scherto Gill, Executive Secretary, Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace, Brighton, UK.

l. Dr Jean Baptiste Habyalimana, Executive Secretary, National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Kigali, Rwanda.

m. Sharif Horthy, President of the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace (GHFP) and Vice Chairman of the GHFP’s Board of Trustees, Brighton, UK.

n. Dr Justine Huxley, Director, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, London, UK.

o. Prof Kamel Abu Jaber, Professor of Political Science Emeritus (1971-1979, 1980-1985); Minister of Foreign Affairs for Jordan (1991-1993); President, Jordan Institute for Middle East Studies, Jordan.

p.Prof Rasoul Rasoulipour, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Kharazmi University, Teheran, Iran.

q. Peter Riddell, Convenor, Agenda for Reconciliation, Initiatives of Change-UK, Oxford, UK.

r. Prof Geraldine Smyth, Associate Professor in Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies for the Irish School of Ecumenics, Dublin, Ireland.

s. Prof Martin Stringer, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.


a. Neil Deuchar, Student, University of Birmingham

b. Alison Treasure, Student, University of Birmingham

c. Kam Kaur Takhar, GNNSJ

d. Rev John Nightingale, Chair, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Birmingham Group

e. Sukhbir Singh, GNNSJ

f.  Richard Boeke, Chair, British Chapter, IARF

g. Markus Braybrooke, President, World Congress of Faiths

h. Mary Braybrooke

i.  Marius Felderhof, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham

j.  Loretta Abu Jaber

k. Kudakwashe Nyakudya, Founder Director, Kahrmel Wellness


  1. Thanks to the Nishkam Community for beautifully hosting THE CHARTER OF FORGIVENESS. In the months again, I hope we develop not only a CHARTER, but also CHARTS to help guide individuals and communities through the maze of walls and pitfalls that can block our “Pilgrim’s Progress” toward World Community. “It takes a village to raise a child.” It takes many villages to bring peace to a nation. It takes many nations and religions to bring peace to our world.

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