Humanity Matters, with the support of Temasek Foundation, today presented the second edition of the Temasek Foundation – Humanity Matters “Faithfully ASEAN: An Interfaith Exchange” Programme. Consisting of forums, dialogues, and learning journeys, the programme is a ground-up initiative which seeks to foster deeper interfaith and intercultural understanding, and inculcate shared values such as harmony and diversity. It brings together interfaith leaders and practitioners from across the region to entrench ties and trust, and inspire and catalyse collaborations to further develop social resilience.

President of the Republic of Singapore, Madam Halimah Yacob officially opened the programme and delivered the keynote address at the Opening Ceremony and Seminar held at Furama Riverfront Hotel. President Halimah also launched a digital public exhibition on the Temasek Foundation – Humanity Matters “Faiths @ Work” Interfaith Humanitarian Programme. Supported by Temasek Foundation, “Faiths @ Work” was organically developed for the first time in 2019 to give participants of “Faithfully ASEAN” an opportunity to move beyond the sharing of experiences and dialogue to more collaborative action to benefit the larger community through humanitarian service.

30 regional delegates from the ASEAN countries are participating in-person in this year’s programme, along with forty others who are joining virtually from their respective countries. Slightly more than half of the in-person participants are under 35 years old, who contributed young and millennial perspectives which enhanced intergenerational understanding on faith-based responses to issues.

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Chairman of Humanity Matters, and the former Secretary-General of ASEAN, hosted participants and guests at the opening event, which saw the attendance from leaders from the faith, youth, community and corporate sectors, and dignitaries from 23 embassies. Through the moderated seminar at the opening event, they examined the occurrence of natural disasters and the prevailing pandemic and the role of faith in a humanist response towards building social resilience.

In his welcome address, Ambassador Ong, said, “Over the next three days, the “Faithfully ASEAN” participants will be discussing salient issues that affect us all, particularly from the faith and spiritual lens. Given the multifaceted challenges facing the world today, especially the disruption and harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgency for us to cooperate in a concerted manner and deliver practical and positive results for our respective communities.”

Chief Executive of Temasek Foundation Connects, Mr Benedict Cheong shared, “We hope that the sharing this year will inspire and catalyse more intercultural and interfaith collaborations. We also hope that participants will, through a spirit of openness and generosity, acquire a deeper understanding of the different faiths and cultures and the common threads that bind us together. This common understanding will be a key factor in the promotion of harmony and prosperity in the region. Temasek Foundation is happy to support and join you in this endeavour.”

“Faithfully ASEAN” was officially launched in December 2018 by President Halimah. It adopts a practical and constructive approach – focusing on prevailing issues and areas which could help better connect peoples within their local and regional neighbourhoods, in line with the ASEAN spirit for the promotion of regional peace.

“Faithfully ASEAN” is also supported by the following institutions, including the Association of Muslim Lawyers; Canossian Daughters of Charity; Di Zang Lin; Fu Mei Gong; International Multi Cultural Organisation; Kheng Chiu Tin Hou Kong; and Si Ma Lu Jiu Tian Xuan Nu Gong.

Below is an overview of the “Faithfully ASEAN” 2020 programme. More information about the three-day programme is available at www.faithfullyasean.sg.

Annex: Faithfully ASEAN Programme