UK Hosts Interfaith Conference for Social Welfare Professionals

Last week, UK Government officials and leading social welfare professionals working for faith-based organizations in France, Israel and the UK gathered for a landmark conference organized by the JDC International Centre for Community Development (JDC-ICCD). The Lambeth Palace-based event enabled participants to share expertise and program models in the growing area of social welfare development. The conference was sponsored by the Buncher Family Foundation and hosted by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Participants from wide-ranging backgrounds – including, among others, Jews, Muslims, Arab Christians, and Druze – discussed best practices and conveyed expertise on programs targeted at children at risk, the elderly and microfinance. Additionally, they explored a number of multi-faith initiatives and funding models addressing current social welfare challenges.

“It’s great that the city of London is hosting this type of a project where welfare directors from faith-based organisations can learn how to better integrate and work together in this time of global economic downturn,” said Alex Goldberg, Chair of the Faith Forum for London.

Prominent keynote speakers included: Lord Wei (an advisor to the UK Government’s Big Society initiative), Priya Lukka (Senior Officer at the UK Financial Services Authority), Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE (Former UK Government Lead Advisor on Volunteering and Rabbi) and Asim Siddiqui (Banker and Executive Member of CEDAR, the European Muslim Professionals Network).

Institutional Partners for the conference included:
From the UK:

  • CEDAR – European Muslim Professionals Network
  • Three Faiths Forum
  • Church of England/Lambeth Palace
  • Jewish Care
  • Faith Forum for London
  • Committee on Interreligious Consultations (Advisor)

From Israel:

  • JDC-Israel
  • ECHAD Program (Early Childhood Achievement and Development program for Christian and Muslim Arab population in Israel)
  • Beit David (Association for the Aged in EmekHefer)
  • Al-Slam Elderly Care Association (Sakhnin)
  • Shfar-Am Association for the Integration of Muslim, Christian and Druze in the city of Shfar-Am
  • DROR Association (employment preparation program for youth at risk)

From France:

  • Fonds Social Juif Unifié
  • Eclaireuses Eclaireurs Israélites de France (Jewish Boyscouts of France)
  • Scouts Musulmans de France (Muslim Boyscouts of France)
  • Maired’Aubervilliers
  • Café Social pour les personnesâgées à Paris

Here’s more from JDC’s No Passport Required.