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Mahidol University organized the International Conference Supporting Religious Leaders for peace building and resolving conflicts


          On 29th October 2009, Mahidol University organized the International Conference on "The Role of Religious Leaders in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding", by the cooperation between Mahidol University Research Center for Peace Building and Inter-religious Councils of Thailand. The participants were religious leaders about 120 persons from all over the world such as Sri Lankan, Japan, Australia, USA, etc.

         Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Assistant Secretary General, the World Conference of Religions for Peace, stated that in the country where people believed in various religions such as, Thailand, Sri Lankan, or other countries, it might cause the social conflicts. Therefore, religious leaders in communities should play an important role to create understanding among each group to contribute to the peace building. For example, some countries such as Bosnia and Mexico had achieved to implement the mentioned method in a practical way. In this international conference, the Inter-Religious Councils acted as a forum to build the network of cooperation in religious, social, and cultural issues in the future. Furthermore, this was a part of the connection among major international organizations around the world. In addition, the conclusion of the conference led to the reciprocal declaration, as follows:

         "About 120 senior religious leaders and others representing Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and other traditions from Sri Lanka and Thailand gathered in Bangkok on the 29 October 2009 to present their unique initiatives in building an inter-religious instrument for high-level advocacy and action to resolve conflict and advance peace.

         As majority Theravada Buddhist countries, both Sri Lanka and Thailand are endeavoring to overcome challenges arising from social political situations and other tensions. To address such challenges and to advance national unity, fostering mutual trust and cultivating a habit of common action among different ethnic and religious communities are urgent. Religious leaders and their communities have an important role to play in this process.

         The encounter between Sri Lankan and Thai religious leaders was organized by the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP/Religions for Peace), the world’s largest multi-religious organization accredited with the United Nations and headquartered in New York. Religions for Peace has facilitated the building of mechanisms for multi-religious cooperation for peace called "Inter-religious Councils (IRCs)" in many countries affected by conflict. Such an IRC led by senior representatives of religious communities serves as the multi-religious voice of the country, offering the possibility of mediation, rejecting extremist tendencies, and educating the public on the positive, socially transformative power of religions and their close collaboration.

         The Sri Lankan delegation represents the IRC Sri Lanka and the local host is the IRC-Thailand. So today meeting is in fact the first encounter of IRC-Sri Lanka and IRC-Thailand augures well for the cooperation of the two IRCs in their efforts bring peace through religions in their respective countries."

         This conference took place at Hotel Tawana Ramada Surawong Road, Bangkok.

Post Date : November 4, 2009

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Mahidol University -- Wisdom of the Land - Last updated: November 4, 2009
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