The first World Humanitarian Summit, convening in Istanbul, May 2016, aims to set a new agenda for global humanitarian action.

The Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities has actively supported religious engagement in the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) since Fall 2015.

Preparatory Meeting of Religious Leaders & FBO Representatives
May 22, 6:00pm – 8:30pm

The FBO Advisory Group has also advised the UN IATF-hosted Preparatory Meeting of religious leaders and faith-based organizations attending WHS. The Preparatory Meeting will convene on May 22, 2016, the day before the World Humanitarian Summit main program. Attendance is by invitation by the UN IATF only.

JLIF&LC Side Event at the World Humanitarian Summit:
“One Humanity, Shared Responsibilities: Evidence for Religious Groups’ Contributions to Humanitarian Response”
May 23, 8:30am – 10:00am, Rumeli Hall 6, Lufti Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Center

JLIF&LC will host a Side Event on the evidence base for religious activity and contributions to humanitarian response. Co-organizers include: Soka Gakkai International, Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, Islamic Relief, Malteser International, Religions for Peace, World Evangelical Alliance, and World Vision.

The Side Event will feature five Evidence Briefs, produced by JLIF&LC, as well as case studies from local faith leaders to provide on-the-ground illustrations of the evidence presented. The Peace & Conflict Learning Hub Scoping Paper will also be launched at the Side Event. The Side Event is supported by an Online Information Platform hosted on the JLIF&LC website:

Agenda & More Information: View Side Event Agenda

WHS Special Session on Religious Engagement
May 23, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Istanbul Congress Centre

As a member of an FBO Advisory Group, JLIF&LC has advised the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion & Development on the development of the WHS Special Session on Religious Engagement in Humanitarian Response.

Evidence Briefs on the Contributions of Religious Actors to Humanitarian Response

In preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit, JLIF&LC, led by Resilience Learning Hub Co-Chairs Alastair Ager (Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and Columbia University) and Helen Stawski (Islamic Relief), has produced five evidence briefs linked to the five Core Responsibilities outlined in the Secretary General’s Report One Humanity, Shared Responsibility. JLIF&LC and the Henry R Luce Foundation has provided funding in support of the five Evidence Briefs. Key messages, the five evidence briefs and links to more in-depth resources are available here:

The evidence base includes seven regional meeting reports on religious engagement in humanitarian response and over 30 resources submitted to the WHS by religious leaders and FBOs during the WHS Secretariat’s call for public submissions.

Learn more about the World Humanitarian Summit at:


The upcoming World Humanitarian Summit convening in Istanbul, May 2016 will be featuring as part of its main program a Special Event on Religious Engagement & Humanitarian Response.

In preparation for faith engagement at the World Humanitarian Summit, civil society organizations around the world organized regional working meetings to provide local perspectives on faith engagement in humanitarian response. The regional working meetings provided feedback on the content and framing of the Special Event on Religion at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Regional working meetings were held in Mexico City, Berlin, Colombo, Nairobi, Jakarta, Tel-Aviv, London, and DC. Reports capturing the range of discussion at the meetings have been compiled here:

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Working Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, hosted by World Vision, Muslim Aid, and Sarvodaya
February 2016

Coptic bishop from Middle East diaspora reflects on how churches can help refugees

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos has a ring of authority when he talks about refugees and Middle East Christians.

News Post:

Born in Cairo, he is part of the Middle East and African diaspora and now serves as General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

He spoke at the World Council of Churches/United Nations (UN) high level conference on the refugee crisis in Europe on 18 January.

“We are not speaking of people leaving one less-than-affluent suburb to go to a more affluent one because they seek a better quality of life; these are people leaving war-torn, poverty-stricken and conflict-filled near-anarchic states to find protection and safety for themselves and for their families.”

Bishop Angaelos noted, “This is a problem that is broader and more complex than any single individual, church, nation or organization, and so the least we can and should do is work to collaborate.”

The 18-19 January conference was hosted by WCC and co-sponsored by UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund; UNFPA, the UN Population Fund; and UNHCR, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

As a child, Angaelos emigrated with his family to Australia, spending his childhood and early life there.

After studies, he returned to Egypt in 1990 to join the Monastery of Saint Bishoy in Wadi-El-Natroun, where he was subsequently consecrated a monk by Pope Shenouda III.

Now he heads his church in the UK and also serves as moderator of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).

“At CTBI we are focusing over the next 3 years on the issue of refugees,” said the bishop.

He highlighted the importance of the role of the church in aiding refugees.

“We as a church are the largest NGO in the world, although we are much more than just that — we are the body of Christ.

“What holds us together is not social convention or international decree. This is a Scriptural directive; a commandment that we live as the body of Christ, one body with one head, and when one part suffers we all suffer, when one part is captive we are all captive,” said Angaelo.

He proposed a solution. “We, as the World Council of Churches, represent these churches on the ground in the Middle East, and having spoken to many people over the last months and years, and in visiting Irbil, the Greek Macedonian Border, and soon to be visiting camps in Jordan, it has become apparent that Christians are not registered,” said Bishop Angaelos.

“We must use our church networks on the ground to aid in the registration process.

“The churches on the ground have a pastoral knowledge, experience, respect and integrity, and are trusted by their communities. If people are not registered, they become doubly disadvantaged: persecuted for their religion, Christian or otherwise, and then also by not having equal access to international schemes.”

The bishop touched on the decline of Christians in the Middle East.

“Where there was once a 25 percent Christian population in the Middle East it is now around 5 percent, and tragically 4 percent of those 5 percent are in Egypt.

“Our silence as churches, nations, and as a world community, has been a contributing factor to this. We have lowered the threshold of human dignity; if people are not dying then it has become acceptable…yet it is up to us to defend those whose God-given rights and freedoms are violated.”

The Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain and Sustainable Society, University of Groningen and the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development, Oikos will be hosting a two-day workshop in The Hague, 25-26 June, 2015. The event “The spiritual is political: Exploring transformations in religion and development,” will explore questions how and why do religion and spirituality matter in development, with policymakers, practitioners and researchers working for a range of different institutions and organisations related to and interested in development attending.

To read the full program, click here.


unnamedTeologi Bencana. Pergumulan Iman dalam Konteks Bencana Alam dan Bencana Sosial. (Free translation: Theology of Disaster.  Wrestling with God when Natural and Social Disasters happen.) Published in 2006, edited by Dr Zakaria Ngelow et al.

After the tsunami of December 2004 many if not all believers in Indonesia struggled with questions like “Where was God?”, “Why did this happen?”. The question “How did religious communities respond to the disaster?” was raised too. In June 2005 a group of christian theologians organized a consultation onTheology of Disaster.  Scholars, but also victims of disasters (especially the tsunami and the violent conflicts between christians and muslims 1999-2002) were invited to share experiences and reflections.  As a result a book was published with stories and critical theological reflections, but also practical guidelines for pastors who deal with (the threat of) disaster.

Although it was a consultation on christian theology, Muslims from the disaster areas actively participated and contributed to the book too.

The painting on the cover of the book can be used as a starting point for discussions in local faith communities. The title of the painting is ‘Thy Will Be Done”. Which, according to the artist Ni Ketut Ayu Sri Wardani, does not reflect passivity, but a sincere search for the strength of God, with two open hands.  For a clean copy of the painting, see:, under Lukisan Sampul “Jadilah KehendakMu”. If you like to use this painting, the artist will happily give permission via [email protected].

See also the website with more information, such as songs, methods, etc.:


Click here  to view Islamic Relief‘s report, The Rights of Forced Migrants in Islam. Islam has a strong heritage of protection of forced migrants. It is a tradition which provides a robust and generous framework for the protection of and Rights-of-Forced-Migrantsprovision for forced migrants, enshrining rights such as the rights to dignity, non-refoulement, equal treatment, shelter, health care, family reunification and protection of property. This paper provides an overview of the Islamic teachings related to the rights of forced migrants, and is a resource for any agency dealing with Muslim forced migrant or host communities.

Click here to view the World Council of Churches call to action on forced displacement, refugees, and IDPs in the Middle East. This call to action relays the urgent need for faith leaders to act on the unprecedented forced displacement crisis in the Middle East, and outlines policy recommendations for governments, religious leaders, and NGOs. The statement makes reference to the Dec ember 2012 UNHCR Dialogue on “Faith and Protection,” the “Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders” document, as well as statelessness among the refugee populations.


November 18, 2014

Forced Migration Review has released their 48th issue on faith and responses to displacement. The full report, available here, includes 36 articles on faith plus seven “general” articles. JLI Member Organization Islamic Relief’s piece on “The role of religion in the formation of cross-community relationships” is featured on page 10 of the issue, and Resilience Co-Chair Alastair Ager’s article “Faith and the secular: tensions in realising humanitarian principles” can be viewed on page 16. A full list of featured articles may be viewed at FMR 48’s Contents page here.

A four-sided expanded contents Listing of all articles in the issue is also available here. Both the Issue and Listing will be available online in English in pdf, html and audio formats, and in French, Spanish and Arabic in html and pdf formats. It will also be available in print in all four languages.

For more information and further resources, please visit the Forced Migration Review issue 48 site at



The upcoming book Faith, Secularism and Humanitarian Engagement: finding the place of religion in the support of displaced communities by Alastair Ager and Joey Ager is scheduled for publication in 2015. The authors will “seek to identify the basis for humanitarian response with displaced communities that is strengthened, not weakened, through its engagement with religion.”  The focus of the book is on contemporary forced migration, though the authors will also be drawing upon relevant analysis of refugee resettlement in high income settings as well. Finally, the book articulates and advocates “the need for, and terms of, more active dialogue on issues of religion between humanitarian actors, religious institutions and forced migrant communities for which faith frequently serves as a vital dynamic in their experience.”

A flyer summarizing the topics covered and questions asked in Faith, Secularism and Humanitarian Engagement may be viewed here.