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Cooperation Circles (CCs) are transcending religious and cultural divisions all around the world to create inclusive, on-the-ground solutions to critical issues facing their communities and regions.

CC activities range from facilitating interfaith dialogue to organizing tours to religious sites, and from doing charity work to sports workshops.

Key areas of work in the MENA region include:
Peacebuilding
: The quest for peace among people of different faiths is at the heart of URI’s mission. URI CCs are active in 22 of 30 regions where there are ongoing religiously motivated conflicts. In 2009, to support the critical work of these CCs and meet a growing demand for conflict mediation training, URI launched the Traveling Peace Academy. This unique program teaches grassroots leaders to build multi-stakeholder partnerships for peace and community development.

Youth: In response to an increasing number of youth-led and youth-oriented CCs—many coming from Asian and African countries where youth populations are growing dramatically—URI developed a Young Leaders Program to provide training and connectivity for this next generation of leaders. Since its launch in 2008, it has grown from 100 to 500 members who are doing innovative work all over the world.

Environment: Many of our CCs are organized around environmental issues, including pollution, resource depletion and global warming, which cut across religious, cultural and geographic boundaries and underlie many of the social and economic issues they face. In 2008, URI launched its Environmental Satellite, a network of environmental experts and environment-oriented CCs, and developed a collection of on-line resources to support them. URI’s Global Council also issued a Climate Change Call to Action in 2010.

Women: Women and girls still experience gender discrimination and inequality in many parts of the world and are especially susceptible to violence and poverty. Many Cooperation Circles are focused on empowering and mobilizing women through activities like providing domestic violence counselling in Angola and offering job and skills training in Mozambique, Pakistan and Panama. A group of eleven CCs has recently joined together to form the URI Women’s Coalition, a Multiple CC that will advocate for women and girls across URI’s geographic regions.

Click on one of the Action Area’s on the left to learn more about activities and initiatives from CCs in the MENA region.

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