World Interfaith Harmony Week was celebrated in various ways around the world throughout the first week of February 2021.

The initiative was first proposed at the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 by King Abdullah II of Jordan and has been keenly observed by interfaith community groups around the world ever since.

It serves as a focal point where all people of goodwill, across all faiths and no faith, can recognize that the common values they hold far outweigh their differences, and therefore provides a strong sense of peace and harmony in their communities.

In celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week, Whittlesea Interfaith Network hosted an insightful virtual event on Wednesday 10 February titled Women of Faith – Footsteps to Whittlesea.

Prior to the event, women from various faiths, who live or work in the region, were invited to share their stories and journey to Whittlesea, which were captured in a series of videos that were uploaded to their social media platforms.

The Vice President of WIN, Ms Tanja Kubitza explained that, “When the pandemic first started in 2020, one of the things we understood very quickly was that we needed to be able to continue Interfaith engagement in person and, when necessary, virtually aswell.  We are dedicating most of our time this year towards establishing our website and social media platforms and developing interfaith content to be able to connect with our community and the broader community in a way that’s sustainable, whether there’s restrictions or not.”

The interviews conducted, recorded and uploaded by the Whittlesea Interfaith team ere reflective of the journeys of several women in the community, each representing a different faith, culture and background.

Whittlesea council have generously funded the project of establishing online interfaith engagement platforms, as a part of their Cultural Heritage fund.

Having a virtual presence has also ensured WIN are receiving greater expressions of interests from locals, looking to participate and become active members of Whittlesea Interfaith Network.

Moving forward the next project for Interfaith engagement will be to visit the various places of worship in the area, recording and uploading the visits to share with the broader community and form a virtual local interfaith archive.

It’s important to support the establishment of platforms for Interfaith engagement to take place in a way that’s sustainable, in the spirit of driving greater social cohesion, especially when faced with global challenges.