On December 9th and 10th, 2014, the Global Peace Foundation-India, in collaboration with the Interfaith Foundation India and Institute of Advanced Studies in Education Deemed University held a two-day Global Peace Leadership Conference at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India. The conference theme was “Peace and Harmony through Interfaith Partnerships.”
According to the GPLC – India, 2014 Coordinator Mr. Druba Prasad Lamichhane who is the national representative of Global Peace Foundation India this year, the conference convened over 330 participants from many of the different regions across India as well as from Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, U.S.A., and Nepal. Faith leaders and scholars were invited to work together around the vision of “One Family Under God” to mitigate identity-based conflict that would to lead to shared agreements, cooperation and lasting peace. This vision is particularly appropriate to India, the home of so many of the world’s wisdom traditions, which has long honored the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or “One world family.”
The Chief Guest of the conference was Dr. Karan Singh, a world-renowned spiritual leader and one of India’s most distinguished political and social leaders, a senior member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha. Dr. Singh spoke on the history of the interfaith movement and the contributions it could make to the world today, if each faith were to move beyond its narrow confines and interests. He quoted the Vedic saying that “truth is one, the wise call it by many names” and suggested that this could be the centerpiece of interfaith dialogue and relations. Noting the many conflicts and challenges the world today, he urged interfaith movement to do more and work more effectively together.
Mr. James Flynn, the International President of the Global Peace Foundation from the United States of America, delivered the Keynote address. Mr. Flynn acknowledged the leading spiritual role that India could play in the world, as the birthplace of so much of the world’s spiritual wisdom. He noted, “India’s rich heritage of philosophy and spirituality, coupled with its growing leadership roles in governance, economics, and technology, make it ideally poised to lead the discussion on a global vision and framework for peace.”
To this end, he suggested the establishment of a working group of organizational and individual partners that would build on the past work of a “global ethic” and create new initiatives to advance its development. He invited those gathered to be a part of re-invigorating these efforts as, “India’s diverse and broad base of religious and spiritual traditions make it ideally suited to be a global model of faith in action. “ Mr. Flynn concluded that the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or One Family Under God could be developed as a lived reality in India through collaborative action.
Over the two day conference, there were six technical sessions covering a variety of topics, including ways to address identity-based conflicts, articulating a global ethical framework and engaging women and youth in the peace-building process. Over 100 multi-sector speakers including the high commission of Canada spoke and engaged in formal and informal discussions on peace-building and the unique perspectives that Indian spirituality and wisdom has to offer the world community. Delegates included academics, scholars, young research students, educational administrators and corporate leaders from around the country.
The conference concluded with the signing of a declaration of “A Vision and Global Framework for One Family Under God”. The declaration called the participants of the conference to “work together to articulate universal ethical principles and values that can form the basis for social cohesion, shared agreements and lasting peace.” The pledge included fourteen points that outlined ways covered over the course of the conference in which faith and beliefs could be expressed and made more effective through collaborative partnerships.
Students from the Ahlcon International School held cultural programs on both days of the conference. The first day Samayee Gupte the granddaughter of the General PK Saighal a world record holder for his work in addressing children’s education in India, offered a song by Ahlcon International School students performed a dance on the first day and the Global Peace Foundation anthem “We are One Family” at the closing.
The 2014 Global Peace Leadership Conference was hosted in New Delhi, India by the Global Peace Foundation India. For more information on the conference, contact Global Peace India at [email protected].