On May 16, C. Eduardo Vargas, along with UPIC delegates Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis and Rev. Michael Livingston, spoke at a presentation on the US-Pakistan Interreligious Consortium at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. This roundtable discussion—organized by Department of Defense’s Joint Staff Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell, and attended by members of the Office of Secretary of Defense, and the Army International Affairs Division—focused on UPIC’s continued peace-building efforts with Pakistani religious leaders and civil society.
The three delegates highlighted UPIC’s continuous and innovative efforts of bringing various voices to the table in an effort to minimize the suspicion and tension that currently characterize US-Pakistani relations, and UPIC’s goals of bridging the divide between the two societies, with a special emphasis on continuing the conversation and cultural exchanges.
According to US Army Major Joe Evans, “The discussion was very useful. It was encouraging for many of the folks who attended to hear that there are other ongoing efforts. It was also interesting to hear about some of the nuances in the engagement with students, clergy, and other folks. It is important for us [government officials] to hear about aspects of engagement beyond the normal military-to-military dialogue and official government engagements through the embassy.”
Photo: Rev. Michael Livingston, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, MAJ. Joe Evans, and C. Eduardo Vargas after the UPIC briefing at the Pentagon. Washington, DC. 16 MAY 2013