LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Traveling to the war-torn Asian nation of East Timor for the first time on September 18, Prem Rawat received a warm welcome. He addressed an audience of 600 people at the Noble Palace of Lahane, including the country's President Taur Matan Ruak and First Lady Isabel da Costa Ferreira.
Still reeling from decades of war with Indonesia that left approximately 100,000 of the country's 1.2 million people dead, East Timor is Asia's newest nation, gaining independence in 2002. Unemployment is high, the literacy rate is low, and approximately 41 percent of citizens live below the poverty line.
Rawat was invited to the country by the first lady — a human rights lawyer and partner in the Timor Foundation, which supports humanitarian initiatives. She had seen videos of Rawat's international addresses and asked him to provide inspiration to the country as it tries to build a more peaceful and prosperous future.
In a national TV interview, Rawat said he "would like to give the citizens of East Timor my best wishes. I think they've already been through a lot, and the time has come for them to shine." He said that he would explore the possibility of mobilizing The Prem Rawat Foundation to provide humanitarian aid as well as advance its Peace Education Program.
In addition to healthy food, water and shelter, the path to long-term peace will require "a revolution in our thinking," said Rawat. He lamented a global society that too often wastes food and spends vast resources on weaponry.
"We have forgotten the preciousness of life," he said. "The day we do not respect each other, we become fanatics and go down a path of destruction."
Noting that 99 percent of every human body on earth is made up of the same six elements (oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus), Rawat emphasized that people have more in common than they often think.
Despite the challenges facing East Timor and the rest of the world, Rawat said he's hopeful about the future because ultimately making peace is easier than making war.
"To make war, you have to do things. To make peace, you don't have to do anything—because peace resides in the heart of every human being. It has to be explored. It has to be understood," he said. "If we take away the unconsciousness and the stupidity, the normal will be peace."
At the conclusion of his remarks, President Ruak embraced Rawat and invited him to a private lunch at his residence.
"Your speech was very healing for us as a new nation that was recently in conflict," said Ruak. "I hope that in the future we will have peace in our country."
About Prem Rawat:
Designated as an "Ambassador of Peace" by numerous leading organizations, Prem Rawat is an international humanitarian who addresses hundreds of thousands of people each year on the topic of personal peace.
SOURCE The Prem Rawat Foundation