Every five minutes a child somewhere dies a violent death. Speaker after speaker cited this and other horrifying figures relentlessly during a three day event organized by the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) in Panama City last week. The sobering realities of violence take many forms: child marriage, child soldiers, bullying, abuse, gang pressures, female genital cutting (FGM/C), sexual exploitation and trafficking, and on and on. Even listening to the litany is painful.
A family member asked in some bewilderment why on earth I posted a photo on Facebook showing an officer of the Fairfax County Police Department looking intently at a figure holding a Hindu holy book. The answer? I was fascinated by an event where I was speaking earlier this week: the 11th Annual Inter-Agency Chaplains Conference at Fort McNair in Washington DC. It brought together a mix of military chaplains from each of the military branches as well as public safety chaplains (police, fire, EMS) and other civilian chaplains from around the National Capital Region and beyond. My photo showed an opening Hindu prayer.
John Key resigned last December as New Zealand’s well respected prime minister from 2008-16. He is now exploring new roles, outside of politics. Among his post politics activities, he serves as a patron of the many philanthropic activities of the estimable Dr. Haruhisa Handa. In that capacity Key spent three days in Cambodia in late April, visiting various projects in the cities of Phnom Penh and Battambang. We spoke there about his impressions and how he sees his new roles and priorities.