Time Has Come To Reclaim The Heart of Humanity

By Acharya Shrinath Dwivedi

The Parliament of the World’s Religions called its fifth global conference to bring people of faiths, belief systems, religions and spiritual traditions, from October15-19, at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA for creating just, peaceful and sustainable world.

More than 9000 participants came from 80 countries representing 50 major religious and spiritual traditions. The Program Committee received about 2000 proposals for presentation and with great review only 630 were accepted.  People traveled many miles to Salt Lake City to inter into respectful, appreciative and cooperative relationship.”To organize such a huge successful global conference, the members of different committees really worked hard”, were the words of chair of the Program Committee- Dr. Mohammad A. Siddiqi.

The PWR seeks to promote inter religious harmony  and works religiously to attain  this   highly attainable and desirable goal. It was for the first time the Women’s Assembly was inaugurated and  a sacred space was allotted throughout the Parliament for women  to gather in ceremony, rites, services, meditations and reflections that are interfaith, intrafaith and personal. Apart from this it provided an important opportunity for women to discuss and address two areas of vital interest: “the responsibility of the world’s religions to affirm women dignity and human rights, and religious and spiritual inspiration for women’s empowerment.”

Global Women leaders such as Mother Maya Tiwari, Jean Shinoda Bolen and Diana Butler Bass delivered powerful speeches  in which they exhorted the audience and focused on equal opportunities,  rights and privileges for women.

The slogan was – “NO MORE TALKS BUT  ACTIONS NOW”.

There were tremendous variety of themes-environment, mental and social  health, war, violence, poverty, peace, non-violence, human rights, religions, spirituality, mother earth, climate change,  indigenous people, youths, social justice and  child labor etc. The sessions started at 7.00AM and continued till 5.00PM. Special religious and  cultural events were organized by different groups up to 9.00PM. Participants attended the plenary, shared and group  sessions based upon their choices. Most of the activities were held in a largest place- Salt Palace in Salt Lake.

Sacred Music Night was arranged at Mormon Tabernacle Temple on 18th October from 6.30-8.30 PM that included dance, music, poetry,  youth choir , prayers and devotionals to uplifting and entertaining  and  that touched the hearts of all 3000 Conference attendees.

The local, national and international members of the  Sikh community served Langar every day free for thousands people  during lunch time  to all regardless of religion, caste, color, creed, age, gender or social status. The Langar expresses the foundation ethics of Sikh religion of equality, oneness and inclusiveness of all humankind and  people were  over overwhelmed with their  hospitality, care  and love.

More than 100 booths /stalls were put up by various faith, art, music and spiritual groups to promote their activities  in two Exhibition Halls. Another important thing that happened in the Conference was large youth and indigenous participation and presentation.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Council of PWR -Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid said, “If we want peace on earth then we have to train and educate our youths peace, compassion and love”. More importantly,  the Conference provided  tremendous opportunity for people who  came together to share, learn, network and celebrate diverse religious and  spiritual traditions.

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