Faiths Act Fellows announced
Today, Tony Blair, recently appointed a UN Foundation â€œMalaria Championâ€, announces the selection of 30 young people from the UK, US, Canada and India to join his Faith Foundationâ€™s youth leadership programme, the Faiths Act Fellowship. These young people will be tasked with building understanding between different religious communities by mobilising them around the common cause of eradicating deaths from malaria, which this year alone caused more than 750,000 unnecessary deaths.
The Foundation received almost 700 applications from around the world and has chosen just 30 of the most outstanding young people of faith to be ambassadors for its Faiths Act programme. The Fellows represent a diverse cross section of the faith traditions: 30% are Muslim, 26% Christian, 17% Jewish, 10% Hindu, 7% Buddhist, 3% BahÃ¡â€™Ã, 3% Sikh and 3% Quaker.
â€œFor the first time this generation has the opportunity to do two astonishing things; to work together alongside those of other faiths from all corners of the world and to meet one of the worldâ€™s greatest global health challenges- malariaâ€ said Tony Blair, Founder and Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
This announcement follows the hugely successful Faiths Act for World Malaria Day 2011 campaign which saw over 15,000 people from over 40 countries take part.
Tony Blair continued:
â€œToo often we hear about the negative aspects of faith but the number of applications we received shows the enthusiasm which exists among young people to use their faith as a force for good. Faith can build understanding and provide unity and strength to counter those who see faith as a source of division and discrimination.â€
Eric Farr, a BahÃ¡'Ã from Canada speaks about his motivations to apply for the Fellowship:
â€œReligion, I believe, has a crucial, positive role to play in the spiritual, social and material progress of humanity. I applied to be a Faiths Act Fellow because I want to contribute as much as possible to the process of interfaith collaboration towards a peaceful and just global society, which strives for unity while embracing diversity. I am honoured and humbled by the opportunity.â€
Anthony Silkoff, a Jew from Scotland reflects on the potential of the Fellowship programme:
â€œI consider it a moral outrage that so many people are still denied their basic rights, by poverty, conflict or disease, and my faith inspires and compels me to change this status quo. The Faiths Act Fellowship provides an amazing opportunity to work as part of a hugely diverse group, with the shared goals of combating malaria and pursuing the MDGs. I canâ€™t wait to get started!â€
From July 2011, the Fellows will embark on a year long journey of interfaith service. Working in interfaith pairs, they will reach out to tens of thousands of people of faith and none about the devastating impact of malaria and the opportunities open to faith communities to work together to save millions of lives.