The World Evangelical Alliance in partnership with the Swiss Evangelical Alliance (l'Alliance
évangélique suisse) opened a new office in Geneva, Switzerland this week, as part of its long-term efforts to strengthen the voice of the Persecuted Church and to influence world leaders in the neighboring United Nations.
"In a day of growing global complexities it is critical that WEA increases its impact on the global stage," said Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).
"Opening an office in Geneva will provide another resource to more effectively influence world and thought leaders."
Tunnicliffe also expressed gratitude to the Swiss Evangelical Alliance for their contribution. “The WEA community is deeply grateful to the Swiss brothers and sisters who generously provided the office space in demonstration of their support for the work of the WEA.”
According to Janet Epp Buckingham, Director of Law and Public Policy at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the new office is strategically located to make the greatest impact on human rights advocacy.
"With the new Human Rights Council meeting three times a year, Geneva is clearly the meeting place for dealing with issues of human rights," said Buckingham. "This office will be the focal point for WEA’s advocacy for religious freedom around the world."
Johan Candelin, executive director of the WEA Religious Freedom Commission, agreed that the office is critical to sharpening Evangelical participation in the United Nations.
"As WEA is taking its work to a higher level at the United Nations in New York and in Geneva with the Human Rights Council, the new WEA UN office will play an important part in the work as a base for the Evangelical UN work," said Candelin.
Meanwhile, Hansjörg Leutwyler, General Secretary of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, applauded the new opening as a "testimony to all."
"The new office will give the persecuted church not only a voice at the United Nations but will also give the Evangelical Alliance a more visible face and profile in our nation," said Leutwyler. "This is a great opportunity to share offices, resources and knowledge, and to thereby become a testimony to all: "one face, one voice, one message".
Jean-Paul Zürcher, General Secretary of Réseau évangélique - a branch of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance - also rejoiced at the news of the office's opening.
"It is of utmost importance that the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) reinforces its presence in Geneva in order for the UN Human Rights Council to hear the voice of those who suffer because of their faith," Zürcher said. "The evangelicals sometimes have been overly cautious of international organizations. However, I personally think it is a blessing to be able to assist those who are weak and speak out for those who are voiceless in this world. For this reason, I greatly rejoice at the increased collaboration and exchange of competences that will be brought about from the sharing of our offices. I also see in it a chance for the Christians of Geneva and for the French-speaking region of Switzerland to better understand the role they play in this international city where people from 184 of the world’s192 nations live."
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)
World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 127 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.
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