On 6-7 April 2009, the second Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) was held in Istanbul, Turkey. The Forum is the world’s premier event aimed at advancing intercultural understanding. Michael Slaby, Program Coordinator at the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human...

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More than 1.000 people attended the Uppsalla Interfaith Climate Conference that was held in Uppsala, Sweden, on 28 - 29 November, 2008. Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp was among a selected group of 30 internationally recognized policy makers invited to sign the inspiring manifesto which was done at an...

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ec_logoThe Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It was drafted in an unprecedented international consultation process involving thousands of experts and citizens from all walks of life.

Rabbi Awraham...

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logoRabbi Soetendorp joined the world famous scholar and TED-price winner Karen Armstrong in an international effort of crafting the Charter for Compassion. Drafts of the Charter are currently being reviewed by a council of religious leaders and thinkers from diverse traditions. The final version is to...

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The Elijah Interfaith Institute
The Elijah Interfaith Institute is a multinational organization dedicated to fostering peace between the world's diverse faith communities through interfaith dialogue, education, research and dissemination. Our unique programming generates interfaith dialogue at the...

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jordan2009_closing_king_schwabSince its inauguration in 2001, Rabbi Soetendorp has participated in the World Economic Forum's Community for West-Islam dialogue, a dynamic community of business, political, religious, media and opinion leaders engaged in dialogue to promote understanding across different segments of...

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a._soetendorp_nov_07On 1st of November, 2007, the International Council of Christians and Jews awarded Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp with the prestigious Interfaith Gold Medallion “Peace Trough Dialogue”. The award was presented to him by the Dutch Minister of Justice, Dr. Ernst Hirsch Ballin. Around 50 national and...

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Interfaith Dialogue

Community of West and Islam Dialogue (C-100)
Heightened tension between the West and the Islamic world stands in the way of true collaboration and mutual understanding. The C-100 is a community of business, political, religious, media and opinion leaders that promotes dialogue and...

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The Day of Respect is a project co-developed by Rabbi Soetendorp to give young people an awareness of the meaning of respect. In 2006, the first Day of Respect was organised, which focused particularly on 11 and 12 years-old, in grades 7 and 8. As part of the Day of Respect program...

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www.faithinhumanrights.orgOn this year's International Human Right's Day - 10 December 2008 - the International Interreligious Conference "Faith in Human Rights" was held in the Peace Palace in The Hague. Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp was among the ten invited supreme authorities of the different world religions...

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Interfaith Climate Summit

In December 2008, the Interfaith Climate Summit was held in Uppsala, Sweden that brought together climate experts, politicians, environmentalists, and leaders of diverse religious and spiritual traditions to explore the connection between religious traditions and...

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Unpublished OneVoice Movement
The OneVoice Movement is an international mainstream grassroots movement which aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and work...

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Over the past years, the Soetendorp Institute has gained an international leadership role in engaging religious leaders and their communities on important global themes and processes on sustainable development. An important framework for this work is the Earth Charter, an international declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, peaceful and sustainable global society. Rabbi Soetendorp served on the Earth Charter Commission, which oversaw the decade-long, world-wide drafting process of the Earth Charter, which is described by many as the most open and participatory drafting process ever conducted in history.

The Soetendorp Institute helps coordinate the Earth Charter Task Force on Religion, Spirituality, and Ethics. This international group is being co-chaired by Rabbi Soetendorp and Prof. Mary Evelyn Tucker, founder of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. The Task Force reaches out to religious and spiritual communities to make use of the Earth Charter in their activities for justice, peace and sustainability.

As part of his efforts as Co-Chair of this international Task Force, Rabbi Soetendorp has drafted the interreligious statement "Towards Rio + 20 and Beyond – A Turning Point in Earth History". The statement formulates a strong and unified message of the world's religions to the major UN Rio + 20 Conference that took place from June 20 – 22, 2012.

A one-page summary of the statement was drafted and adopted at the "Wings for Rio + 20" Exclusive Leadership Forum in the Hague on May 22 and 23 and was then endorsed by over 200 religious and spiritual leaders including His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Rabbi Soetendorp and Michael Slaby then presented this statement at the major UN Rio + 20 Conference in Brazil.

Please find more info about these activities below.


To deepen the understanding and collaboration between the world's spiritual traditions is a core mission of Rabbi Soetendorp's life. For over 40 years he is untiringly active on the local, national and international level to strengthen the bonds of trust and friendship between the different faiths.

This way, he was co-chair of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survivial, which brought together leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa and Al Gore in the early 1990ies, he helped to create the "C100" - the Council of 100 Leaders in Islam-West Dialogue of the World Economic Forum and supported the three World Congresses of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, which took place between 2005 and 2008.

Among others, his current affiliations include: 

The Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, facilitated by the Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem where Rabbi Soetendorp serves on the steering committee. The Board brings together some of the world's most prominent religious figures from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and the Religions of India. It provides a platform for sharing ideas and wisdom and addressing today's global problems.

The Safe the Jordan International Adovacy Campaign initiated by EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East to engage Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities in support of the ongoing advocacy efforts to rehabilitate the lower Jordan River. 

The European Council of Religious Leaders which is led by Religions for Peace, one of the largest international coalitions of representatives of the different faith traditions. 

The European Gathering of Jewish and Muslim Leaders, brought together by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the World Jewish Congress, bringing together more than 50 leaders of Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe.

The "Prinsjesdagviering" - Each year, since 2000, the opening of the Dutch Parliament is preceded by a festive ceremony that includes the blessings and prayers of the key religious and humanistic traditions in the Netherlands. It has proven to be a very successful and inspiring event that provides a gravity and spiritual background to the beginning of the parliamentary sessions and serves as a vital sign of the magnificent cultural and religious diversity in Dutch society.

 Buidling on the expertise Rabbi Soetendorp has gained over the years, the Soetendorp Institute developed a "Faith and Leadership" Training Course for young adults where the participants are provided with skills necessary for responsible leadership and constructive dialogue both within their faith community and between communities of different faiths.

RespectRabbi Soetendorp believes that intercultural learning is essential for creating an open society where differences are respected.

Therefore he initiated the Day of Respect, which is being organized by the Day of Respect Foundation. The Soetendorp Institute helps to organize the Day of Respect that is being celebrated as an annual programme in over 3.000 primary schools all over the Netherlands. It is the aim of the Day of Respect to make young people, and through them their parents, aware of the fact that Dutch society is made up by people from many different backgrounds, with different cultures, and with different ideas, customs and religious traditions. The programme specifically targets the grades 7 and 8 and thus the 10 – 12 years-old.


feather projectWhat does it take to create a better future for the human family and all life on this planet? We need to combine the visions of the young, the wisdom of the elders, and practical actions to tackle the major world problems humanity is facing. We believe that in this combination lies a key to unlock the boundless sources of compassion, imagination, and creativity that are so much needed in our troubled times.

The Feather Project brings these elements together. It is based on the Native American ceremony of the "talking feather" where an Eagle's feather is passed from speaker to speaker, while the person holding the feather is requested to share his deepest thoughts and speak from the heart. The Feather Project is building on this ceremony and seeks to perform it with spiritual leaders and young people as a beautiful way of enhancing intergenerational dialogue by sharing authentic stories, life lessons, and visions for the future – at conferences, in classrooms and over the internet.

For its multimedia component the Soetendorp Institute partnered with the talented cinematographer Ashley Young and her SomeDayFire Productions who has, since June 2010, created over 100 short and inspiring video clips on the visions for the future, spiritual wisdom, and important international processes such as the lead-up to the major UN Rio + 20 Summit on Sustainable Development. Please find these videos here.

Join the Feather Project! Please draw inspiration from our video clips, follow us on facebook and use the feather methodology in your conference, classroom or workshop! Please contact Feather Project Manager Michael Slaby for assistance and more information (mslaby AT

Please watch the Feather Project Trailer here:

The Soetendorp Institute


Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
Van Wijngaerdenstraat 21
2596 TW The Hague
The Netherlands