Magazine article UN Chronicle

World Peace Summit

Magazine article UN Chronicle

World Peace Summit

Article excerpt

The first-ever World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, organized by an international coalition within the inter-faith movement, was held in New York on 28 and 29 August. More than 1,000 participants gathered to identify ways that the world's religious leaders could work together to support the United Nations. In his opening address, Peace Summit Secretary-General Bawa Jain noted the Organization's strong spiritual underpinnings since its inception. Speaking on behalf of General Assembly President Theo-Ben Gurirab of Namibia, Ambassador Arthur Mbanefo of Nigeria remarked that the forum was timely in that it sought to counter the rise of religious, cultural and ethnic intolerance, as well as racism, xenophobia and other forms of bigotry. "Serious dialogue among religions and civilizations" could help build "bridges across cultural, ethnic and religious divides", he said. The Summit attracted a diverse array of religious leaders, even though the marked absence of the Dalai Lama (the Nobel Peace Prize laureate had not been invited) sparked considerable controversy. The main document to emerge from the Summit was a statement, "Commitment to Global Peace," in which spiritual leaders pledged to work together with the United Nations for world peace. …

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