Ganoune Diop speaks at the G20 Interfaith Summit in Beijing.

A Seventh-day Adventist leader addressed the challenges of human rights and peace at an interfaith conference held on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in China.

Ganoune Diop, public affairs and religious liberty director for the Adventist world church, was invited to address the group of some 40 scholars and religious leaders at the G20 Interfaith Summit in Beijing as global political leaders gathered for a Sept. 4-5 summit in Hangzhou, China.

The international group of religious scholars met to consider how religion can help foster international dialogue and problem-solving.

Diop told the group that before talking about differences, people must first recognize shared human values. His paper, titled “Exploring Intersections of Values: A Pathway to Peace and Solidarity Among Nations and Civilizations,” highlighted a number of universal human values that bind people together no matter their culture or religion.

“The principle of human dignity is a plinth upon which human rights and human responsibilities are based,” Diop said. “This principle along with the values of unity in diversity, justice, righteousness, and honor are core to all major world religions and moral philosophies. In international treaties and covenants, and in nearly every national constitution, human dignity is foundational.”

For the past 11 years, the G20 interfaith summits have taken place on the sidelines of every G7, G8, and G20 summit. Their purpose is to consider the role of religion and faith in current global issues, and to highlight concrete contributions made by religion. This is the second time Diop has been invited to give a plenary address at this event. The first was at the 2015 G20 Interfaith Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

This year’s gathering was hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and was jointly sponsored by the Institute of World Religions and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University in the U.S. state of Utah. Longtime religious liberty advocate and scholar Cole Durham was a key organizer of the event. 

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