An Interregional URI “Bridge-building”

If you still are doubting whether we need interfaith dialogue today I could assure you that it is needed and important tool for peacebuilding and very strong “weapon” against violence, xenophobia and terrorism.

When I returned from my visit to New York City after several meaningful encounters, plenty of Starbucks coffees, nice talks, lunches, walks in the hearth of Manhattan and transcontinental flights I realized that our URI mission to bring ordinary people from different religious together is of a crucial importance in every single part of the Earth. Personally I feel blessed to be part of a team of visionaries and bridge-builders who wants to make a world a better place for all human beings.


Angelina in NYC



As a URI Europe CC Liaison Officer had a chance to build bridges with one of the active CCs in NYC – Lalitambba CC and more especially with Florence and to have a chance to meet in person with a representative of URI in UN headquarter NYC - Monica Willard. Wonderful encounters and emotional meetings.

Will share a few lines with the most important outcomes which came out.

We met with Florence at the heart of Manhattan – Central Park and spend together about 2 hours walking around the lake and talking.  It was wonderful to share and to talk about our local and regional interfaith work, about our faiths, cultures and traditions. We found out that there are many common challenges in working with people from different faiths in North America and in Europe. Both Lalitamba CC and BRIDGES CC are using art as a tool for interfaith dialogue. Even more - we are happy that a way for collaboration between CCs was found.  Some of the Bulgarian art works made by students during the WIHW 2016 for the interfaith project GIFT of LOVE and presented in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, will be featured in Lalitamba magazine.

Thank you so much, dear Sari (Regional Coordinator for North America) for connecting us!


Angelina and Florence


My favorite place in Manhattan is Bryant Park. There we met first with Monica Willard. For me was very emotional moment and honor to have a chance to be with the person who is always in our presentations for the URI structure and who is involved in URI work for so many years. I was amazed by her unpretentiousness and natural behavior. On a cup of coffee we were talking about WIHW history and events, UN and URI and how we could improve the collaboration among them in Europe. I shared with her some aspects of URI work in our region and some projects that were made during the last months. Monica impressed me with her energy, enthusiasm and readiness to help and to share her wisdom. We agreed that next February (2017) for the WIHW will try to collaborate and organize a joint event in Bonn UN headquarter (together with our dear Karimah who is living there). 


Angelina and Monica



From Bryant Park we moved to the historical place Grand Central where had lunch in a cozy Italian restaurant. Together with the salad Monica did some phone calls and fixed two meeting for me in coming 3 days with Azza Karam, Senior Advisor for Culture in UNFPA and with Lily Valtchanova, Liaison Officer at UNESCO Office. These meetings Monica considered as very important and useful and they were indeed.


Angelina and Monica 1



At my last day we were again with Monica at United Nations Plaza, Room 900 on a meeting with UNESCO Liaison Officer Lily (she is also a Bulgarian girl) together with Deborah Moldow, Representative of the World Peace Prayer Society in UN. The main question for us was how URI could become associate member of UNESCO.


Angelina at UNESCO


After the official meeting together with Debora and Monica we had an informal meeting on tea and coffee with an Italian lady from UNICEF, speaking also Bulgarian language.


Angelina at UN


These were just a few glimpses of my time in NYC.

Thank you dear Monica and Florence!

It is always a joy and blessing when you meet other URI family members and peace-builders from different part of the world!   

With love and gratitude,

Angelina Vladikova, URI Europe CC Liaison Officer