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September 17, 2019

Interfaith Dialogue for Peace, Harmony and Security held

Dignitaries and diplomats attend the Interfaith Dialogue for Peace, Harmony and Security in Yangon .  Photo: MNA

An interfaith dialogue for peace, harmony and security was held at Sitagu International Buddhist Academy for two days from 5th to 6th July under the leadership of Sitagu International Buddhist Academy Chancellor Sitagu Sayadaw Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Dr Bhaddanta Nyaneikthara.
The two-day dialogue, held in Dagon Myothit (North), Yangon Region, was convened by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture with the concerted assistance of Japan foundation and the international foundation called Viveka Nanda from India.
Addressing the dialogue, the Sitagu Sayadawgyi emphasized that those in attendance have one thing in common despite with different religious faiths, cultures and social characters, that this common goal is nothing but peace, stability and security of the human world and that the contemporary world lacks peace, security and stability because of variegated political, racial and religious conflicts.
Additionally, Sitagu Sayadawgyi pointed out the growth rate of atheists around the world.
The atheists in England accounted for 35 per cent of its total population whereas those in Japan numbered 31 per cent and those in America totaled 33 per cent. In this age of science and technology, the younger generations tend to neglect the religious teachings, making the world vulnerable to terrorism. He concluded by urging those attending the dialogue to try to understand the very essence of different religious faiths, to commit themselves to promotion of peace and stability of the world and to tread on the common path to ensuring peace, security and stability of the world.
Next, Gen. N.C. Vij, Director, VIF, India greeted the attendees and presented a video tape covering the messages of felicitation sent by the Indian Prime Minister and the Japanese Prime Minister. Afterwards, Param Pujya Swami Avdeshanandaji read out the message of blessing. Then, Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko, Uttar Pradesh state governor HE Mr. Ramchandra Damodar Naik and State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan HE Mr Nobuo Kishi spoke words of greeting.
Next, U Thaung Tun, national security adviser, delivered the opening speech on behalf of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He pointed out that the United Nations General Assembly held in 2003 passed a resolution calling for seeking the common values through dialogues regarding different religious faiths, that the dialogue being held is a measure of abidance by that resolution, that the venue of the dialogue is Yangon, which literally suggests end of enmity and that the place of the dialogue is, therefore, quite likely to be blessed by the God.
Additionally, U Thaung Tun said that all religious faiths have an objective to keep the world peaceful and prosperous. All religious faiths teach their believers to exercise restraints, avoid committing terrorists activities and cultivate a noble mind.
He continued to say that the constitution of Myanmar has granted all citizens the freedom to profess the religious faith they believe in without any discrimination whatsoever. Moreover, he said that hate speech should not prevail in all strata of Myanmar, that when the world “security” is mentioned, the reference should go beyond the physical security and that peace is being built up through establishment of good relations between and among the religious faiths.
Afterwards, Japan Foundation Vice Chairman Ms Hiroko Tsuka spoke words of thanks. Next, the Buddhist monks from within and without the country, the religious leaders, the dignitaries from the governments concerned, the scholars and the researchers are presented with souvenirs before posing for a group photo.
Then, Union minister Thura U Aung Ko, HE Mr Ramchandra Damodar Naik and Indian Ambassador to Myanmar HE Mr Vikram Misri held a press conference.
The two-day dialogue was attended by 135 religious leaders and scholars from 32 countries inclusive of US, UK, Spain, Japan, China, Bhutan, France, India and Sri Lanka etc and 120 religious leaders and scholars from Myanmar.

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