As the World Food Programme co-hosts the interfaith event Breaking Bread during the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week, we ask what sharing this symbolic food means to you.
Across cultures, countries and religions, bread has been eaten and shared for thousands of years. Such is the central role of bread in many communities that in Egyptian Arabic the word for bread, aish, is the same as the word for life.
Bread is also at the centre of an interfaith event, Breaking Bread, co-hosted by the World Food Programme during the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week. The term breaking bread refers to the act of tearing bread in order to share it, but also more commonly refers to coming together to share food and spread peace.
Forging a faith-inspired path to Zero Hunger
The simple tenet of sharing food with others who have none runs through all religions. At the Breaking Bread event, on Wednesday 21 September in New York at 6pm EST, the World Food Programme will be forging a faith-inspired path to the Global Goal of Zero Hunger, with partners including Islamic Relief, Caritas, FAO and others.
Faith groups and the UN will come together to celebrate the work of many faith communities in alleviating hunger, and to commit to a strong inter-faith partnership to accelerate progress towards Zero Hunger.
With 795 million hungry people in the world today, ending hunger by the Global Goals’ deadline of 2030 is possible only with stronger partnerships with governments, civil society including religious communities, the UN, non-government groups and the private sector.
The Breaking Bread event comes after WFP convened discussions with a broad range of religious leaders in June 2016 in Rome which provided a rich set of exchanged ideas. Inspired by that session, Breaking Bread brings partners together in an affirming celebration of the spirit of interfaith partnership to reach Zero Hunger.
A joyous event
The Master of Ceremonies for the event is Joshua DuBois, who worked on faith-based partnerships for US President Barack Obama, and is author of a book of devotionals based on the daily uplifting messages he still sends to the President.
Remarks will be given by Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Joseph Donnelly from Caritas Internationalis and Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Remarks and reflections will also be shared by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Anwar Khan from Islamic Relief USA, Ramaswamy Mohan from the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky from the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue, Ven. Chung Ohun Lee from Won Buddhism International, and Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO of World Vision.
Musical performances will feature American musician and singer Cody Chesnutt, and the NY Andalus Ensemble, as well as a spoken word performance by Trace DePass and Talia Wray, accompanied by musician Nkosi Nkululeko.
A highlight of the event will be an exchange of Zero Hunger ribbons where guests will be invited to tie a ribbon around their wrist as a sign of their commitment to our collective work to end hunger.
What does #BreakingBread mean to you?
The collective call to action is for everyone, whether at the event in New York or following the #BreakingBread conversation on Facebook and Twitter, to echo the message that Zero Hunger can be achieved through working together. United, we have the power to reach zero hunger.
One way that you can take part is to share your thoughts on what breaking bread means to you. Share a message, a photo or a video with the hashtag #BreakingBread.
Breaking Bread interfaith event
Church Centre for the United Nations, 77 United Nations Plaza
Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 1800 – 1930 EST
If you’re in New York and attending #UNGA, you can RSVP to the Breaking Bread event here: wfp.org/breakingbread