The experienced Religions for Peace activist Jehangir Sarosh is taking up the position as General Secretary for ECRL, bringing the secretariat to London. As the Oslo office of ECRL closes down, Stein Villumstad bids farewell.

Norwegian funding has kept the secretariat running in Oslo from the inception of ECRL in 2002.  This situation has changed, and other solutions for its secretariat had to be found.  The Executive Committee therefore appointed Jehangir Sarosh to its new interim General Secretary as from January 2015, bringing the secretariat to London.

His life story has significantly been influenced by his family’s move from India to UK, and his integration into the British community and business world.  His open-mindedness has also been a trademark of his interfaith efforts.  In 1990 he managed to get Zoroastrianism a membership into the Interfaith Network of the UK.  He has tirelessly worked with RfP UK, and was the President of Religions for Peace Europe for a decade.  When asked about his major achievement as promoter of interfaith cooperation, Jehangir declares: “I’m proud of the fact that I invited five of the most prominent religious leaders from different faiths for a meeting, and with them as the founding members we started a process leading to the inauguration of European Council of Religious Leaders”.  Jehangir has also been instrumental in facilitating the initiation of inter-religious councils in different European countries in addition to the European Women of Faith and European Interfaith Youth networks.

With this background ECRL can welcome a seasoned interfaith dialogue operator.  He can be reached on sarosh@rfp-europe.eu .

With the ECRL secretariat transition from Oslo to London Stein Villumstad bids farewell to ECRL.  He served the organisation for four years, after having been the Deputy Secretary General of Religions for Peace International for five years.

Stein Villumstad brought his international experiences in interreligious partnership and dialogue in his work for ECRL. He was an excellent global and European networker for the vision and presence of Religions for Peace and ECRL.

The Council Members and the Executive Committee are grateful for the outstanding skills Stein offered to ECRL. We thank him for his loyal and devoted service to Religions for Peace while working for the common good of all.

The new appointed General Secretary stated: “Stein has been a good friend and a joy to work with and he leaves a legacy that will be hard to follow, we wish him all that is good for his future adventure”.

Stein Villumstad will now be heading for Malawi in Southern Africa to take up the post as Country Representative for Norwegian Church Aid.  He can be reached through stein.villumstad@nca.no.

As Moderator of ECRL I very much hope that our Council Members and the many friends who believe in our vision and work will engage even more in our common challenges.  Without you all we will not be able to do what Europe needs and what interreligious cooperation can offer in creating an inclusive and welcoming society.

The European Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace (ECRL) brings together senior religious leaders from Europe’s historical religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam together with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians.ECRL has participatory status with the Council of Europe. ECRL is one of five regional Interreligious Councils with the Religions for Peace network. Religions for Peace – accredited to the United Nations – is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace since 1970.