Faith organizations and development institutions can work together to alleviate poverty and combat social injustices. This premise inspired World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn and Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey to launch in 1998 a dialogue aimed at strengthening partnerships and understanding between the worlds of faith and development. Leaders from the world's faith communities and key development organizations, as well as representatives from the worlds of philanthropy, the private sector, and the arts, joined together to explore new ways to meet global challenges.
Four key meetings took place under this dialogue with faith leaders, in 1998, 1999, and 2002 at Lambeth Palace in London and then in 2005 in Dublin. The major themes of this dialogue were the Millennium Development Goals, poverty, HIV/AIDS, gender, social justice, and conflict and the urgency of a shared responsibility in confronting these challenges. References to the ethical dimensions of poverty alleviation as a foundation for equitable and sustainable development were at the heart of those meetings. A core outcome of the dialogue was the creation of the now Washington, D.C.-based World Faiths Development Dialogue, which is a key partner of DDVE for a range of activities. Selected material prepared for these meetings as well as an account of the outcomes of some of the meetings is available under DDVE Study 2003-1 (Millennium Challenges for Development and Faith Institutions) and DDVE Study 2005-2 (Finding Global Balance – Common Ground between the Worlds of Development and Faith).
The last meeting of global faith leaders and development practitioners took place in July 2009 in Accra. Participants worked on issues of faith-based organizations in service delivery, with a focus on education, health, and social programs, including in fragile states. A number of detailed case studies are being prepared as a follow-up to the meeting. For information on the event in Accra, see the July 2009 Meeting.
Beyond such large periodic meetings, DDVE is also engaged in a series of other events promoting dialogue with faith leaders, and the unit advises other World Bank units in the networks and the regions in their contacts with faith leaders. One example of recent dialogue with faith leaders is the November 2007 high level meeting that took place with the Executive Committee of the World Conference of Religions for Peace Latin America in Washington, D.C. His Eminence Cardinal Julio Terrazas of Bolivia moderated the discussion, and Pamela Cox, the World Bank’s Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean delivered opening remarks. A list of recent seminars, workshops and conferences to which DDVE participated is provided at Seminars, Workshops, and Conferences - Since 2008.