Building Bridges Panel


by Marcina Zaccaria  


With members of the Iroquois Nation, attendees at Building Bridges Across Boundaries engaged in debate and even a moment of song yesterday, while observing World Interfaith Harmony Week at the United Nations.

Kevin Ka’nahsohon Deer addres

Kevin Ka’nahsohon Deer – Address

Kevin Ka’nahsohon Deer, a Ceremonial Ritualist from Mohawk Trail Longhouse, Mohawk Nation (Iroquois), asked the entire audience to stand on their feet and dance to their own sacred song. He reinforced a message of respect for the earth. Engaging in performance on the debate floor, attendees were reminded that goals for a peaceful, sustainable future can begin with an awareness of the earth below. Participants chanted with the drum, recognizing that we are all connected.   Remarks came from MC Gordon Tapper, Founder and Chairman of the Give Them a Hand Foundation and H.E. Mr. Muhammad Anshor, Chargé d’affaires, Mission of Indonesia to the UN. Keynote Speaker, H.E. Dr. Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary-General Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, DESA, stressed that interconnectivity is important when charting a plot for a “shared vision of humanity for transforming our society and protecting our planet and natural resources.” Spiritual leaders at the event included Reverend Dionne P. Boisierre, Chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations, Venerable Youwang, Buddhist Light International Association (BLIA), and others. Participants shared their message of faith across boundaries as a “tool for positive change.” Spiritual leaders maintained that sustainable bridges could be built after sharing their vision. Looking beyond divergent worlds, speakers inspired attendees with discussion of a common good. Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass, Chief Chaplain of the New York Police Department said, “Let us cling to those hopes, because they give us life.” Interfaith leaders welcomed diversity as a source of strength, and reiterated that – with shared vision -we could change the world.



*Photos Marcina Zaccaria