9-10 2000


B. Jain
Greetings by the United Nations and the World Peace Summit

Bawa Jain, Secretary General, World Peace Summit, the United Nations

Your Holiness Patriarch Aleksiy!

Your Excellencies!

Members of the Academy of Sciences!

Ladies and gentlemen!

My dear brothers and sisters!

This day is a great honor for me to stand here and have an opportunity to share some of my thoughts. I bring to you greetings from the United Nations Secretary General with whose office I am working closely as we prepare to launch the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, opening at the United Nations, August 2831, 2000.

Let me first begin by congratulating you on the unique collaboration for this very important conference. I am told that the Academy of Sciences, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ministry of Culture and the Millennium Committee have cooperated to put this conference together Christianity on the Eve of the Third Millennium. I believe that a hundred years ago when we approached the year of 1900 at that time to the great leaders and thinkers must have thought how they can make the XX century a peaceful one. But if you look at the course of the last 100 years this has been the bloodiest century in the history of humanity. So, I believe that you have to pause and reflect on what we need to do differently, so that, perhaps, the XXI century can be more peaceful one in the history of humanity. This can be best reflected in the words of Mahatma Gandhi perhaps the greatest peace maker of the XX century Be the change you want to see. So, I ask you what change are you ready to make in order for you to see the change you wish to see.

I want to compliment you for the subject of this conference, especially the key themes, and more especially the role of Church in peace keeping. If you see the last decade the nature of conflicts all over the world has changed: more conflicts happen within countries, not among countries, and most of then are interpreted to be based on religious and ethnic differences. Christianity is the worlds largest religion. Today the world is commemorating and celebrating the third millennium and we know that this is the dawn of the third millennium of our common era. That means Christianity. In my tradition of Jainism and my culture of Hinduism the third millennium it is not the beginning of third millennium. For Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and many other traditions, you know, have existed for many thousands of years. When examining the nature of the conflicts I ask what role the Church wants to play in the peacekeeping, the peace making and when the conflicts are broken out, and seek non-violent resolution of conflicts. I believe it is a fundamental responsibility and basic mission of every religious confession to insure peace, love, respect, understanding and harmony, so we may coexist as one human family.

The next question I want to ask is what the Christianity wants to play in interconfessional dialogue. We know and I compliment the Russian Orthodox Church in engaging in dialogue with the major traditions of the world. The nature of the worlds, major cities has changed. Today, in any major city you have almost every religious confession to be present. It is not only imperative, but critical that in order to address the challenges and problems of our own communities. In this respect I congratulate you all in creating the Interreligious Council of Russia. I believe that we need to have such interreligious councils in every part of the world.

In order to adequately address the most pressing issues we need an active collaboration and cooperation between the Church, the State and the civil society. And I am very glad that you have a Round Table on this subject. I look forward to receiving the results of the deliberations.

The main goal of my Visit to Russia is to provide some information on the forthcoming Millennium World Peace Summit and meet with leaders of major religious confessions of Russia and the CIS countries. In cooperation with Foundation for Survival and Development of Humanity I had meetings with representatives of Russian Orthodox Church (Father Vsevolod, Metropolitan Kirill I am going to meet him this afternoon), Mr. Shaevitch, Chief Rabbi of Russia, leaders of the Buddhists, Rivvil Khazrat, President, Council of the Muftis of Russia, and all of them have expressed their support for this initiative.

This is the first time the worlds prominent religious leaders will come together to the United Nations. Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan will deliver the inaugural address. It is my sincere hope and I pray that Your Holiness Patriarch Aleksiy will join us as one of the distinguished religious leaders to present the views and initiatives of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Assembly Hall of the United Nations.

I look forward to receiving the results and deliberations of your conference because there is a great convergence between religion and science, and many religious leaders have expressed to me their desire to have a dialogue on the subject at the Summit in New York.

Lastly, Mr. Kortunov, I also want to congratulate you on your tremendous leadership in the Russian Millennium Committee to create awareness on the Russian Federation post the Soviet era. I hope, our Summit can be another opportunity for you to introduce the new image of the Russian Federation in the global context.

I thank you for this opportunity. This has been an honor and privilege to share my thoughts this day. I wish you the very best and hope that your conference will achieve the goals that you have set forth. Thank you all and God bless you.

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