From the Worldwide Faith News archives

World Council of Religious Leaders to Meet in Bangkok

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 07 Jun 2002 11:04:00 -0700

Peace the goal of World Council of Religious Leaders meeting in Bangkok

World Council to witness to the United Nations to reduce poverty, preserve 
the environment and build peace

BANGKOK, June 4, 2002--The World Council of Religious Leaders convenes in 
Bangkok June 12-14, 2002.  Its three-pronged mandate of achieving world 
peace, alleviating poverty and preserving the environment will be launched 
June 12 by more than 100 international religious leaders from at least 11 
religions. The opening will be presided over by Thai Crown Prince Maha 
Vajiralongkorn, It will also be blessed by His Holiness Somdet Phra 
Nyanasamvara, Buddhist Supreme Patriarch of the Kingdom.

Subsequent sessions at the United Nations Conference Centre on June 13 and 
14 are expected to provide an amicable platform for a friendly exchange of 
views, setting goals and achieving a plan for world peace. The United 
Nations regional representative, Mr Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of the 
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) will open 
the conference Wednesday June 13.

The gathered religious leaders are expected to establish a permanent 
council and an Asian regional secretariat.

Mahachulalongkornrajavidhyalaya University (MCU), Thailand's oldest and 
largest Buddhist institution of higher education is co-host of the World 
Council launching event, together with the World Millennium Peace Summit in 
New York. Established in 1887 by His Majesty King Chulalongkorn the Great 
(Rama V), MCU has more than 10,000 students in campuses throughout Thailand 
plus a satellite affiliate in Korea.

Following a Buddhist Council in the time of King Asoka the Great over two 
thousand years ago, nine 'lines' of Buddhist missions were sent to places 
as diverse as Kashmir and Gandhara (Afghanistan), Mysore, North Gannarat 
(Bombay), Maharashtra, Persia, the Himalayas, to Suvannabhumi (Indochina, 
or present day Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Siam or Thailand) and Lanka 
(today's Sri Lanka).

The Buddhamonthon event is near the site of the introduction of Lord 
Buddha's teaching into Siam at Phra Pathom Chedi.

The spiritual power of the new World Council  gathering a dozen living 
world and indigenous religions  is expected to send a strong message of 
peace and tolerance to all nations and peoples of all castes, creeds and 
faiths. According to World Council organizers, this summit will motivate 
and enable tolerance and healing among heretofore intolerant and fearful 
politically exploited peoples with little access to education and 
opportunities to better understand and appreciate the need for peace.

Among the peacemakers coming to Bangkok are Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chief 
Rabbi of Israel; His Holiness Dayananda Saraswati, representing the 
Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, India; Ayatollah Mahmoud Mohammadi Araghi, 
President of the Islamic Culture and Relationship Organization of the 
Islamic Republic of Iran; Mr Kamel Al-Shareif of the World Muslim League 
(Jordan and Egypt); Roman Catholic Archbishop Vincent Concessao of New 
Delhi; Gyani Singh Saheb Vadantiji, Jathedar of the Golden Temple Akal Takht.

The Bangkok meeting is a result of the Millennium World Peace Summit of 
Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nations in August 2000. 
Sparked by a suggestion UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and American media 
magnate Ted Turner. Mr. Bawa Jain, Millennium World Peace Summit 
Secretary-General, then made a plea to more than 1000 religious leaders 
from 110 countries to transform conflict into compassion.

The World Council of Religious Leaders is aimed at building support for 
peacemaking from followers of the spiritual leaders as they carry messages 
of love, compassion and tolerance to their communities. In the global 
village, every place on earth can be accessed. Understanding diversity is 
necessary for human survival.

The highlight of the meeting will be the formulation and adoption of a 
Charter. The event is co-hosted by the Millennium World Peace Summit of New 
York, and by Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University of Bangkok with the 
active assistance, support and cooperation of UN ESCAP of Bangkok.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This Thailand Religion News Service dispatch is based on a 
World Council of Religious Leaders news release by Julie Mehta, email:, mobile: 01 844 5657. Other contacts: Stephen Evans, 
email:, tel. 02 623-6330. Lance Woodruff,, tel: 02 623-6330, mobile: 09 792-8874.

Thailand Religion News Service
Lance Woodruff, Correspondent
28/38 Bua Luang Village, Ramintra Rd Soi 19
Bangkhen, Bangkok 10220 Thailand
Tel/Fax: (662) 970-8277 Mobile: 09-792-8874

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