PRESS RELEASE: Oslo Peace Conference, South Asia

15 04 2008

CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIAN CONFLICTS UNDERLINES SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE AS THE WAYS FORWARD

Look at Guruji’s Interview to the Norwegin TV network


Oslo, Norway. April 12, 2008: Bringing together top leaders, senior diplomats and experts from diverse backgrounds, a historic Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia concluded in the “peace capital” of the world today, calling for peaceful resolution of the unsettled issues and highlighting “spirituality” as a way forward.

The two-day Conference, which focused on the internal armed conflicts in South Asian nations of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, was organized by ‘The Art of Living Foundation’ of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and discussed possible solutions and ways and means to achieve them. Another aim of the initiative was to highlight the need to promote dialogue and evolve a consensus among the stakeholders to deal with the problems, which have together taken millions of lives in the last few decades.
Norway’s Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Sri Lanka Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Members of European Parliament Erika Mann and Nirj Deva and Aud Kvalbein, Deputy Mayor of Oslo were some of the prominent European speakers in the conference.

From Asia, Ramvichar Nitam, Home Minister of the Naxal insurgency-affected state of of Chhattisgarh and MDMK chief Vaiko represented India, while Sri Lankan perspective was presented by Arumugham Thondaman, Minister for Youth Empowerment and Socio-Economic Development ,Jayalath Jayawardhne, MP,Dr Rajiv Wijesinghe( Gen Secy. of the Peace Secretariat) and prominent Buddhist Monks Dr. Brahmanawatte Seevali Nayaka Thero, Deputy Secretary General, Sri Lanka Amarapura Mahanikaya and Dr Maduluvave Sobitha Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of Nagavihara Kotte,. Besides, renowned experts, academics and members of The Art of Living Foundation from various nations also participated in the unique initiative.

“It is a humongous task to find harmony in diversity. We must continue to pursue the path of peace. Conflicts are bound to come and we have to make them a stepping stone to achieve the ultimate goal of global peace,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the main motivation behind the initiative, said.

”Whether it is inter-religious conflict, or intra-religious conflict, or it is a conflict between communist or capitalist ideology, it all starts in the minds of people, in the hearts of people. When such conflict begins, they shut themselves for reasoning, prejudice overtakes, and communication goes haywire. It’s here we need to build the trust among the communities. Spiritual leaders, religious leaders, can play a bigger role in this” Sri Sri added.

“Through this conference, we appeal to Sri Lankan government, Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE), Buddhist monks in China, Chinese government, Myanmar regime…everyone for peace and restraint, and to have a preference for coming to the table for resolution of issues,” the globally known Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in his concluding remarks.

During the course of the conference, a host of subjects such as ‘the role of civil society and the governments in conflict resolution’,’role of media in the conflict resolution’ and ‘Peace building in South Asia’ were discussed in detail. Separately, workshops on the Naxal insurgency problem in India, ethic Tamil strife in Sri Lanka and Burma were also conducted.

Deliberating upon the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka, top Norwegian peace negotiator Jon Hanssen-Bauer said: “The common understanding between the government and the LTTE has been that talks are aimed at finding a political solution that are acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka. For Norway, any solution endorsed by the Sri Lankan people is of course acceptable to us.”
Participants also expressed concern at the existing situation in Sri Lanka . Mr Thondaman, minister from Sri Lanka said,”I am strongly of the opinion that there is no military solution. His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been preaching the attainment of inner peace for years, through yoga, meditation and stress relief. An individual at peace, within himself, he obviously influences the inner peace of other individuals around him.”

Buddhist Master Seevali Nayaka Thero said that today there is so much conflict happening and this is the time to think for both the Government and LTTE about how many lives are being lost because of this war. “In any place, in any country, only by war you cannot solve the problems. Only peace talks, and reconciliation, can solve the problem,” he added.

MDMK leader Vaiko speaking about Sri Lanka said,”a whole ancient race is about to be wiped out. I would appeal to the European Union to put pressure on the Sinhalese government to end its military offensive on the LTTE, ” ”Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has done a commendable job by convening this conference of this scale” he added.

Meanwhile, the conference also zeroed down on the problem of ‘Naxalism’, which has been identified as “the single largest threat to the internal security of the country” by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the past. The ultra-Left Naxal movement, which started in late 60s, today affects one-third of the total districts of India and has been responsible for killings of thousands of people in states battling the menace.

Explaining the government’s perspective, Home Minister of Chhattisgarh Ramvichar Nitam said that the problem also had a serious socio-economic aspect to it. He outlined various steps taken by the state government to bring the Naxal youth into the mainstream and counter the insurgency militarily.

On its part, the Art of Living Foundation has also taken a lot of initiative in educating youth in the affected districts about the importance of spirituality. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has also persuaded the Naxalites for dialogue, and called upon them to give up violent means. Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament, who conducted the workshop on Naxalism, said that he would take up the issue with fellow Parliamentarians and work towards increasing awareness and action in this regard.

Among other prominent participants were Khin Maung Win, Deputy Executive Director, Democratic Voice of Burma, Francois Gautier, Editor-in-chief, La Revue de I’lnde, Brahma Chellaney, Centre for Policy Research, India, Wasim Zaman, Director, CST for South and West Asia, United Nations Populations Fund and Sashi Raj Pandey from Nepal.
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Human Rights Day in Bombay : Support TIBETAN cause

6 12 2007

Human Rights Day in Bombay
(December 10, 2007)

On the occasion of World Human Rights Day and the 18th anniversary ofawarding the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, rightsgroups will come together on December 10, 2007 to organise various programmes in Bombay city. A function at Sharda Mangal Karyalaya at Dadar organised by the Tibetan Residents Association in association with DharmaRain Centre and Friends of Tibet will be addressed by Venerable GesheLhakdor, former official translator of the Dalai Lama who will be on aweek-long lecture series on Buddhism, in connection with “Buddha DharmaWeek”.

The function will be held at the Sharda Mangal Karyalaya, ShardaTalkies, Lane adjacent to Dadar Fire Brigade Station, Dadar from 9amonwards.In the evening, Dharma Rain Centre, Indian Committee for Cultural Freedomand Friends of Tibet will jointly organise a Panel Discussion on “HumanRights: Tibet, Burma and India” at the MC Ghia Hall, Rampart Row, K DubashMarg, Kalaghoda, Bombay at 6.30 pm. The speakers are Venerable GesheLhakdor (Official translator of HH the Dalai Lama), Dr Ramu Manivannan(Burma Expert), Yogesh Kamdar (National Vice President, People’s Union forCivil Liberties) and other panelists include Vijay Crishna (Industrialistand Theatre Personality), and CA Kallianpur (National Coordinator,Friends of Tibet). The panel discussion will be moderated by Aspi Mistryof Dharma Rain Centre.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About Speakers & Panelists:

* Venerable Geshe Lhakdor has served His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama ashis official translator and religious assistant since 1989. He hastranslated numerous books by His Holiness from English to Tibetan and fromTibetan to English. He is also the Director of the Library of TibetanWorks and Archives, Dharamshala.

* Yogesh Kamdar is a Bombay-based writer and the National Vice President
*Dr Ramu Manivannan is reader in political science at the Chennai
University, Dr Ramu is also the founder of Buddha Smiles, a program oneducation, peace and development of children in India and the Burmese refugee community living in India. He is a peace researcher and an activist.

* Vijay Crishna is an industrialist, theatre personality and an avid mountaineer – a person of many facets has done many exploratory trips to the Chinese-occupied Tibet. He is the Managing Director of Godrej Upstream and has been active in theater since 1965, taking occasional bit role in films.

* CA Kallianpur is a researcher on Tibet issue and the National Coordinator of Friends of Tibet.

About Organisations:

The Dharma Rain Centre is contemplated as a resource centre that offers supportive environment to all those who are interested in exploring Buddhist thought and practice. Presenting all the major Buddhist schools and traditions, in a non-sectarian and non-denominational manner, its vision includes dialogue and understanding between different schools of Buddhism and interaction with other religious and scientific traditions. Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom (ICCF) was founded in 1951 as a non-party organisation of scholars, writers, artists and scientists to defend intellectual liberty, to cultivate a spirit of free enquiry and an appreciation of the arts. Among its founding members were Jayaprakash
Narayan, Minoo Masani, Khushwant Singh, Tarkateerth Laxmanshastri Joshi and Asoka Mehta.

Friends of Tibet,
PO Box: 16674,
Bombay 400050,

India of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).* Dr Ramu Manivannan is reader in political science at the ChennaiUniversity, Dr Ramu is also the founder of Buddha Smiles, a program oneducation, peace and development of children in India and the Burmeserefugee community living in India. He is a peace researcher and anactivist.*

Vijay Crishna is an industrialist, theatre personality and an avid mountaineer – a person of many facets has done many exploratory trips tothe Chinese-occupied Tibet. He is the Managing Director of Godrej Upstreamand has been active in theater since 1965, taking occasional bit role infilms.* CA Kallianpur is a researcher on Tibet issue and the NationalCoordinator of Friends of Tibet
.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About Organisations:* The Dharma Rain Centre is contemplated as a resource centre that offersa supportive environment to all those who are interested in exploringBuddhist thought and practice. Presenting all the major Buddhist schoolsand traditions, in a non-sectarian and non-denominational manner, itsvision includes dialogue and understanding between different schools ofBuddhism and interaction with other religious and scientific traditions.* Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom (ICCF) was founded in 1951 as anon-party organisation of scholars, writers, artists and scientists todefend intellectual liberty, to cultivate a spirit of free enquiry and anappreciation of the arts. Among its founding members were JayaprakashNarayan, Minoo Masani, Khushwant Singh, Tarkateerth Laxmanshastri Joshiand Asoka Mehta.. . . .Friends of Tibet, PO Box: 16674, Bombay 400050, India. . . . .

Friends of Tibet is a people\’s movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China’s occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for independence. To know more, visit: http://www.friendsoftibet.org/

Friends of Tibet is a people’s movement to keep alive the issue of Tibetthrough direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China’soccupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends ofTibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people forindependence.

To know more, visit: http://www.friendsoftibet.org/. . . .

From The wikipedia article on HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Listen to this article (info/dl)

This audio file was created from an article revision dated 200512-10, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles





Human Rights Day in Bombay : Support TIBETAN cause

6 12 2007

Human Rights Day in Bombay
(December 10, 2007)

On the occasion of World Human Rights Day and the 18th anniversary ofawarding the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, rightsgroups will come together on December 10, 2007 to organise various programmes in Bombay city. A function at Sharda Mangal Karyalaya at Dadar organised by the Tibetan Residents Association in association with DharmaRain Centre and Friends of Tibet will be addressed by Venerable GesheLhakdor, former official translator of the Dalai Lama who will be on aweek-long lecture series on Buddhism, in connection with “Buddha DharmaWeek”.

The function will be held at the Sharda Mangal Karyalaya, ShardaTalkies, Lane adjacent to Dadar Fire Brigade Station, Dadar from 9amonwards.In the evening, Dharma Rain Centre, Indian Committee for Cultural Freedomand Friends of Tibet will jointly organise a Panel Discussion on “HumanRights: Tibet, Burma and India” at the MC Ghia Hall, Rampart Row, K DubashMarg, Kalaghoda, Bombay at 6.30 pm. The speakers are Venerable GesheLhakdor (Official translator of HH the Dalai Lama), Dr Ramu Manivannan(Burma Expert), Yogesh Kamdar (National Vice President, People’s Union forCivil Liberties) and other panelists include Vijay Crishna (Industrialistand Theatre Personality), and CA Kallianpur (National Coordinator,Friends of Tibet). The panel discussion will be moderated by Aspi Mistryof Dharma Rain Centre.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About Speakers & Panelists:

* Venerable Geshe Lhakdor has served His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama ashis official translator and religious assistant since 1989. He hastranslated numerous books by His Holiness from English to Tibetan and fromTibetan to English. He is also the Director of the Library of TibetanWorks and Archives, Dharamshala.

* Yogesh Kamdar is a Bombay-based writer and the National Vice President
*Dr Ramu Manivannan is reader in political science at the Chennai
University, Dr Ramu is also the founder of Buddha Smiles, a program oneducation, peace and development of children in India and the Burmese refugee community living in India. He is a peace researcher and an activist.

* Vijay Crishna is an industrialist, theatre personality and an avid mountaineer – a person of many facets has done many exploratory trips to the Chinese-occupied Tibet. He is the Managing Director of Godrej Upstream and has been active in theater since 1965, taking occasional bit role in films.

* CA Kallianpur is a researcher on Tibet issue and the National Coordinator of Friends of Tibet.

About Organisations:

The Dharma Rain Centre is contemplated as a resource centre that offers supportive environment to all those who are interested in exploring Buddhist thought and practice. Presenting all the major Buddhist schools and traditions, in a non-sectarian and non-denominational manner, its vision includes dialogue and understanding between different schools of Buddhism and interaction with other religious and scientific traditions. Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom (ICCF) was founded in 1951 as a non-party organisation of scholars, writers, artists and scientists to defend intellectual liberty, to cultivate a spirit of free enquiry and an appreciation of the arts. Among its founding members were Jayaprakash
Narayan, Minoo Masani, Khushwant Singh, Tarkateerth Laxmanshastri Joshi and Asoka Mehta.

Friends of Tibet,
PO Box: 16674,
Bombay 400050,

India of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).* Dr Ramu Manivannan is reader in political science at the ChennaiUniversity, Dr Ramu is also the founder of Buddha Smiles, a program oneducation, peace and development of children in India and the Burmeserefugee community living in India. He is a peace researcher and anactivist.*

Vijay Crishna is an industrialist, theatre personality and an avid mountaineer – a person of many facets has done many exploratory trips tothe Chinese-occupied Tibet. He is the Managing Director of Godrej Upstreamand has been active in theater since 1965, taking occasional bit role infilms.* CA Kallianpur is a researcher on Tibet issue and the NationalCoordinator of Friends of Tibet
.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About Organisations:* The Dharma Rain Centre is contemplated as a resource centre that offersa supportive environment to all those who are interested in exploringBuddhist thought and practice. Presenting all the major Buddhist schoolsand traditions, in a non-sectarian and non-denominational manner, itsvision includes dialogue and understanding between different schools ofBuddhism and interaction with other religious and scientific traditions.* Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom (ICCF) was founded in 1951 as anon-party organisation of scholars, writers, artists and scientists todefend intellectual liberty, to cultivate a spirit of free enquiry and anappreciation of the arts. Among its founding members were JayaprakashNarayan, Minoo Masani, Khushwant Singh, Tarkateerth Laxmanshastri Joshiand Asoka Mehta.. . . .Friends of Tibet, PO Box: 16674, Bombay 400050, India. . . . .

Friends of Tibet is a people\’s movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China’s occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for independence. To know more, visit: http://www.friendsoftibet.org/

Friends of Tibet is a people’s movement to keep alive the issue of Tibetthrough direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China’soccupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends ofTibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people forindependence.

To know more, visit: http://www.friendsoftibet.org/. . . .

From The wikipedia article on HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Listen to this article (info/dl)

This audio file was created from an article revision dated 200512-10, and may not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)
More spoken articles