Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Blog

  • Global Religious Leaders Issue Joint Call for Eradication of Modern Slavery

    On December 2, the campaign to end human trafficking took a big step forward. Religious leaders from across the globe assembled at the Vatican on that day to sign a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery. This is the first time that leaders of the Christian Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths have come together to jointly declare their intention to end modern-day slavery. Along with other government officials from around the world, we were honored to be there to witness this historic event.

    Shortly after his election, Pope Francis sent Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, a handwritten note saying, “it would be good to examine human trafficking.” That was the spark that led to the formation of the Global Freedom Network (GFN), an initiative spearheaded by Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Mr. Andrew Forrest, Chair and Founder of the Walk Free Foundation, with the mission of eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020. The GFN organized the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery, and it has now invited religious leaders of all faiths and nations to add their names to it.  The Declaration reads in part:

    We pledge ourselves here today to do all in our power, within our faith communities and beyond, to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored. Today we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative.

    President Obama and his Administration share a commitment to this imperative. We have been working across the Federal government and with partners in Congress, local, state, and foreign governments and civil society to deliver on an ambitious agenda to combat modern-day slavery, which afflicts far too many communities, both here at home and around the globe. The President spoke forcefully about this issue in his landmark call to action at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2012. 

  • Uniting to End Anti-Semitism

    Members of the Presidential Delegation to the 2014 OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism (from left to right): Abraham Foxman, Ambassador John Emerson, Ambassador Samantha Power, Melissa Rogers, Ambassador Daniel Baer, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt and Ira Forman.

    On November 12 and 13, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) hosted a conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism and the accompanying Berlin Declaration. We were honored to serve as part of President Obama’s official delegation .

    As President Obama has emphasized, anti-Semitism is a threat not only to the Jewish community but to the ideals we advance through our support for human rights and democratic governance around the world. The recent rise of anti-Semitism added to the importance and urgency of the gathering.

  • President Obama Extends Warmest Wishes for Diwali

    Today, President Obama wished a Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate the festival of lights.

    Watch on YouTube

    In 2009, President Obama became the first U.S. president to celebrate the festival of lights, a time of rejoicing for many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and across the world.

  • Kicking Off the Fourth Annual Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

    Acting on a recommendation by the first Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, President Obama established the Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge to build bridges of understanding across our differences, especially among rising leaders, and to serve our neighbors. Interfaith service involves people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds tackling community challenges together – for example, Protestants and Catholics, Hindus and Jews, and Muslims and non-believers – building a Habitat for Humanity house together. Interfaith service impacts specific community challenges, while building social capital and civility.

    This week, the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Department of Education, and Corporation for National and Community Service hosted a gathering to kick off the President’s Fourth Annual Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. More than 500 college students, chaplains, faculty, and administrators – including over 50 college presidents – participated in the two-day event.

    The Challenge has grown by leaps and bounds since 2011 when President Obama first encouraged college presidents to establish or expand programs in interfaith and community service. Currently, more than 400 institutions of higher education participate in the Challenge.

  • Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps and Our Country’s Commitment to Public Service

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Commerce's blog. See the original post here.

    Our country is built on a deeply held commitment to service and community. From our women and men in uniform to our educators to those who administer important government programs, each day millions of Americans give of themselves to ensure the safety, hope and livelihood of their neighbor. Without a doubt, one of the great things about the United States is the way in which the success of each of us is tied to the success of all of us.

    The AmeriCorps national service program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary today, is a fantastic representation of this. AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.

  • World Day Against Trafficking in Persons: Continuing the Fight

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's blog. See the original post here.

    Today, the United Nations will mark the first ever World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness around the global issue of human trafficking and to encourage the international community to take action against this heinous crime.

    Established four years ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign coordinates the Department’s ongoing efforts to work across our many missions to combat human trafficking. Fighting the hidden crime of human trafficking requires a collaborative effort, and the Blue Campaign works with DHS components to increase awareness, protect and support victims, investigate trafficking cases, and assist in the prosecution of traffickers.

    DHS continues to focus an unprecedented level of resources and engagement to combat human trafficking through a victim-centered approach. The Blue Campaign offers training and educational resources, raises public awareness through a multi-format media campaign, and enters into diverse partnerships to carry the message forward, improve reporting of human trafficking, and assist our efforts to protect victims and bring traffickers to justice.

    To date, more than 150,000 individuals – including government employees, law enforcement personnel, medical services providers, transportation workers, private sector employees, and many others – have been trained on the key indicators of human trafficking.