Preeminent religious leaders from around the globe will meet in Indonesia this November for the first “spiritual summit” ever held in conjunction with the G20 Meeting, the annual gathering of the world’s most economically powerful nations. The purpose of the summit, officially known as the G20 Religion Forum, or “R20,” is to ensure that “religion functions as a genuine and dynamic source of solutions rather than problems in the 21st Century,” said Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, the founding Chairman of the R20 and General Chairman of Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama.
The G20 Religion Forum was initiated by Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, and is fully supported by the Government of Indonesia. To jointly host the first-ever R20 Summit, NU has selected the Muslim World League, headquartered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Shaykh Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, will thus serve as the R20 co-chair. Commenting on the significance of their partnership, Dr. Al-Issa observed: “Working alongside Nahdlatul Ulama, which has approximately 120 million members and shares the ideals supported by the Muslim World League, will strengthen our mission. This partnership with Nahdlatul Ulama will serve as an excellent platform for dialogue that will amplify and extend the Muslim World League’s noble mission.”
In order to fulfill its vision, the R20 will gather and mobilize diverse religious and political leaders from G20 Member States and elsewhere throughout the world. The Center for Shared Civilizational Values (CSCV) serves as the R20’s Permanent Secretariat.
The R20 Summit will conclude with a joint communiqué outlining next steps in the development of the G20 Religion Forum, which will convene in India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024. From 2022 through 2024, Indonesia, India, and Brazil — home to the largest Muslim, Hindu, and Catholic populations in the world, respectively — will successively hold the G20 presidency and thus host the R20. The R20 organizers are currently coordinating with Indian religious and civil society leaders to lay the foundations for a successful R20 Summit in India.
This year’s R20 Summit in Indonesia will be held in Nusa Dua, Bali, on November 2-3, 2022. His Excellency Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, is scheduled to address the opening session on November 2. Other confirmed speakers are Kyai Haji A. Mustofa Bisri, former Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council; Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance; and Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law (Emerita) at Harvard Law School and former US Ambassador to the Holy See. More than 200 prominent religious and political leaders from Indonesia and around the world have confirmed their participation.
Key themes and issues to be addressed at the R20 Summit include: Historical Grievances, Truth-telling, Reconciliation and Forgiveness; Identifying and Embracing Values Shared by the World’s Major Religions and Civilizations; Recontextualizing Obsolete and Problematic Teachings of Religion; Identifying Values We Need to Develop to Ensure Peaceful Co-existence; and Spiritual Ecology.